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Better Choice appoints ex-Westpac exec

The non-bank lender has recruited a former Westpac banking executive to fill its newly created role of national manager, sales and strategic partnerships.

Better Choice Home Loans has announced that it has appointed Paul Bakker as its national manager, sales and strategic partnerships, to facilitate growth.

Better Choice executive director, Allan Savins, said Mr Bakker will oversee the lender’s national business development management team to help drive further growth.

“We are delighted to have Paul join Better Choice as he brings a wealth of experience to the business and an enviable track record of delivering results,” Mr Savins said.

“We are looking forward to Paul facilitating continued growth through our broker network and working with aggregation partners to drive deeper relationships in the third-party lending space. Given Paul’s previous achievements and Better Choice’s growth trajectory, he seems an ideal fit for our business.”

In the new role, Mr Bakker will be in charge of sales, while also working with Better Choice’s aggregation partners to strengthen the relationships, Mr Savins told Mortgage Business.

Mr Savins said that Better Choice is seeking to use more of its own funding through its relationship with BNK Banking Corp (under which it operates as a wholesale lending business) and move towards becoming a “pure non-bank lending model rather than just being a mortgage manager”.

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Commenting further on this strategy, Mr Savins told Mortgage Business that the lender is looking to take advantage of its bank-owned structure.

“With best interests duty laws coming into force from January 1, 2021, the traditional mortgage management model will come under threat as many wholesale funders also have retail products,” Mr Savins said.

“Our own funding allows Better Choice to compete on a level playing field and break the shackles in both the prime and specialist lending space.”

In regards to whether Better Choice would continue to act as a mortgage manager, Mr Savins said: “While Better Choice is pursuing several options for its own funding lines, including BNK, we will still respect and utilise existing funding lines from our wholesale funders.”

Mr Savins added that Mr Bakker’s experience in the industry would be valuable for the lender to execute this transition.

Prior to joining Better Choice, Mr Bakker spent 22 years at Westpac, where he was most recently national manager, strategic partnerships. In that role, he developed and maintained Westpac’s relationships with aggregators and key mortgage brokers across the country.

He was also state general manager NSW/ACT, third-party distribution at the major bank for six years.

Speaking about his new role at Better Choice, Mr Bakker said: “I am confident my experience in the industry will be vital to helping Better Choice achieve its ambitions and deliver even more value to its broker network.”

[Related: Non-bank launches loan product for self-employed]

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