Non-bank Pepper teams up with Astute

Mortgage Rates

Astute has launched a new platform and home loan product range with the non-bank lender, one of Australia's biggest alternative home loan providers.

TMM Online can reveal the Astute-Pepper product range is called Ascenteon, and was rolled out to market today. Astute says the products will bring a "new level of borrower choice and flexibility to New Zealand’s mortgage lending market".

It comes after TMM Online reported Pepper was preparing to grow its NZ business. Pepper will offer Ascenteon products exclusively through Astute's network of advisers.

A wider Pepper launch in New Zealand is expected at some point later this year, sources said. Pepper is likely to become a significant player in NZ, with backing from US private equity giant KKR.

Pepper becomes the latest non-bank lender to move into the New Zealand market, buoyed by the lack of lending from major banks, and growing customer opportunities. Others, including Resimac and Bluestone, have built up their New Zealand presence over the past 18 months.

The deal is a significant partnership for Astute, the Australian-headquartered adviser group which counts Mortgage Express and Mortgage Supply Company as part of its New Zealand operations.

Astute NZ CEO Sarah Johnston said Pepper launched the product line after talking to "stakeholders in the mortgage market". She added: "They are aligned closely to borrowers’ best interests and we believe they will appeal to borrowers in a lending market that is not uniformly well serviced. Certainly, the feedback received in the short time the loans have been available has been very positive."

Pepper Money’s Director of Sales & Distribution in New Zealand, Aaron Milburn, said the Ascenteon platform will combine "fully-integrated online submission and new-to-market

tools" for advisers, and allow borrowers an indicative offer in under five minutes.

Milburn added: “Pepper is about choice, flexibility and a genuine willingness to cater to a borrower’s unique circumstances. We look forward to supporting the Astute NZ adviser network in introducing a fresh mortgage alternative in the NZ market,” he said.