Aussie has bucked the trend in the finance industry, recording very strong growth, diversifying its product offering and employing more staff in a period marked by the effects of the Global Financial Crisis.
While competitors have suffered from falling market share, Aussie has emerged from the GFC bigger, stronger and poised to assume its mantle of filling the void of the smaller lenders, particularly with the smaller banks being swallowed by the majors.
With Aussie celebrating its 18th birthday last month, the company’s founder and executive chairman Mr John Symond said Aussie has a national mortgage broking service, car and personal loans, the low-rate Aussie MasterCard, life, funeral and mortgage protection insurance and will introduce financial planning for the mass consumer market during the year.
“With less competition in the marketplace, there has been a massive push towards the Big Four (or the Big two) banks,” Mr Symond said. “Never has been more important to have competition and Aussie is well placed to keep the big banks honest.”
Mr Symond said: “Instead of battening down the hatches, we have invested heavily in IT improvements, new staff, training, new products and have emerged stronger, larger and ready to continue to give average Australians choice when it comes to their financial needs.”
He said the planned attack on the wealth market and an expansion of Aussie’s insurance offering was an important step for the company.
“Additionally, we will re-launch the Aussie Home Loan product to further drive competition into the marketplace,” he said.
Aussie’s chief executive officer Stephen Porges said 2009 had been a spectacular one for the business, with the number of brokers doubling to more than 850 and the number of Aussie stores climbing from 20 to more than 150.
In the six months to December 2009, Aussie recorded a 90 per cent jump in home loan settlements versus June to December 2008. While our competitors reported declines in their settlement numbers for January this year, Aussie has seen a 57 per cent jump on settlement numbers compared to January 2009.
Over the six months from July to December, Aussie’s home loan portfolio has increased by 44 per cent over the last year, with more than $1 billion in average monthly settlements. The average loan size has also increased 12 per cent year on year.
Mr Porges said “We have now bedded in the Wizard acquisition and are out-performing every other non bank financial services group, including mortgage brokers,” he said. “Our mortgage brokers are now undertaking close to 10,000 appointments every month with customers and our team is performing strongly, despite the generally subdued conditions in the housing market and the economy”.
He said Aussie’s non-mortgage products are now contributing more than 10 per cent to company profit.
“We have seen the opportunity to re-ignite our Aussie product offering as there is a gap in the market for keenly priced, competitive mortgage rates and services. We are also upping the ante with our Aussie MasterCard™, with a new campaign now underway to expand the credit card book, which has $500 million in receivables.”