Private Mortgages Australia Secures $100M Institutional Backing

The Private Mortgages Australia team

The PMA team: Shanta Lobo (Senior Relationship Manager), Tony Barbone (Managing Director), Tim Hart (Director), Julie Ciccone (Business Development Manager) and Peter Cuskelly (General Manager).

Funding enables larger loan amounts and more competitive interest rates

 30 May 2019: An independent wholesale funder has committed to investing up to $100 million with specialist commercial mortgage manager Private Mortgages Australia to fund its portfolio of registered first mortgage loans secured by Australian property.

The investment will enable PMA to grow the number of loans they are able to service and will see the maximum loan amount increase from $2 million to $10 million on registered first mortgages. It has also allowed PMA to offer more competitive interest rates with their base rate now at 9% per annum for applicable loans.

“We expect that the changes to loan amounts and interest rates will attract a wider pool of borrowers and will help grow the business exponentially in the next few years,” said Barbone. “More and more of our referrers are coming to us looking for a more flexible lending solutions after their clients haven’t been able to obtain funding from the banks, so it’s great that we will be able to help even more of them now.”

Private Mortgages Australia, which specialises in short-term loans for small-to-medium businesses, has recently seen a marked increase in the number of borrowers coming to them for finance after being turned down by the banks. This funding will help the national lender to accelerate the growth of its lending business to Australian SMEs and developers.

“Receiving this level of backing is a landmark achievement for Private Mortgages Australia, our borrowers and referrers,” said PMA Managing Director, Tony Barbone. “Our backers clearly believe we are a leader in this space and have confidence in our business model to provide fast and flexible finance to our SME and developer clients. We’re just about to celebrate our fifth year in operation and are excited to have the opportunity to further build the business and deliver even better products and service to our clients.”

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What does the election result mean for private lending?

Scott Morrison and the Coalition won the electionIn the lead up to the federal election there was a degree of stagnation across both the residential and commercial property markets with house prices dropping in the major cities and clearance rates at commercial auctions much lower. The looming possibility of changes to franking credits and capital gains taxes had people feeling nervous that their pockets could soon be feeling a lot lighter. Therefore, many Australians were waiting to see the outcome of the May 18 election before making any financial decisions.

However, with the election now done and dusted, and the Coalition remaining in power, a level of certainty and stability has come back to the market. The constancy of a familiar government will boost confidence in the property market and should see vendors and buyers reengage. Add to this the likelihood of interest rate reductions as early as this month and buyers, investors and developers are feeling a lot more confident about the future.

Property investors will be keeping an eye on where the billions promised in infrastructure spending is distributed, which may present growth opportunities in suburbs and regions which get a funding injection. The Coalition’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and APRA removing the 7% serviceability guidance may also have some effect on the housing market, however this remains to be seen.

For private lenders, a confident and stable market is always a good thing. It means borrowers are feeling better about the value of the properties they are purchasing and lower interest rates on current investments are helping to keep dollars in their pockets. At Private Mortgages Australia we are confident that now the results of the election have been finalised we will see an increase in loan applications from borrowers and also an increase in the amount being borrowed.

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How property development finance works

Every homeowner understands the difference between their mortgage and the equity they have in their home but when it comes to commercial real estate transactions like property development finance, the difference between equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt can confuse even the savviest financial minds.

Let’s take a look at what’s called The Capital Stack to better understand where the different types of finance sit in a commercial property development.

The Capital Stack for property development finance

Senior Debt

Senior Debt is secured by a First Mortgage on the property itself, so if the borrower fails to pay the lender can sell the security property. This greatly reduces risk on the principal invested because, at worst, the lender can recoup its principal by selling the property.

Mezzanine Debt

Mezzanine Debt sits behind the senior debt in order of payment priority. Once the developer pays operating expenses and the senior debt payment all income must go to pay the mezzanine debt. If the developer is unable to pay (assuming they aren’t also in default under the senior debt), the lender typically has the ability to quickly take control of the property. The senior debt and mezzanine lenders will usually enter into an agreement, called a Priority Deed, where they spell out how their rights interact (i.e. what happens if a developer stops paying both of them).

Preferred Equity

Preferred Equity is perhaps the hardest portion of the capital stack to speak about generally because, for better and worse, it’s very flexible. Preferred equity holders have a preferred right to payments over regular (common) equity holders. “Pref” equity positions range from “hard” preferred equity, which function similarly to mezzanine debt and include a fixed coupon and maturity date to “soft” preferred equity, which is more likely to include some of the financial upside if the project performs well. While hard preferred equity holders may have the ability to make some decisions or kick out the developer if they fail to make payments, soft preferred equity holders typically have more limited rights.

Common Equity

Common Equity is the riskiest and most profitable portion of the real estate capital stack. Typically the developer (or sponsor) will be required – by the lender and/or by other equity investors – to invest their own money as some portion of the equity to have skin in the game. Equity investments carry the greatest risk, because investment agreements entitle every other tranche of capital to be repaid before common equity holders. However, if the property development does well equity investors usually receive an exceptional rate of return. This is because they receive a portion of profit which can easily outstrip the return paid to debt holders usually expressed as an interest rate.

For example, a sponsor may have sourced senior finance at 6% per annum, mezzanine finance at 22% per annum but the sponsor and common equity holders return on investment is 50% per annum. Another way to think about it is that common equity is very expensive when compared to debt within the capital stack.

Understanding the stack is incredibly important as certain lenders will only become involved in particular types of property development finance and interest rates will vary depending on the risk. Currently, Private Mortgages Australia provides Senior Debt and Mezzanine Debt, and have aspirations to offer Preferred Equity in the future.

If you’d like to discuss finance for your next property development project then please get in touch.

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Will 2019 be the year of private lending?

Private lending in 2019With the release of Commissioner Hayne’s report  it’s clear that 2019 is going to bring about a number of changes to the private lending industry for lenders, brokers and borrowers alike. We take a look at how we see 2019 panning out for the private lending market.

A move towards transparency

The royal commission has destroyed borrowers’ trust in the big four banks, and now they’re looking for alternatives that offer honesty and transparency. This is an opportunity for those lenders with straight-forward and open lending processes to put their best foot forward and show borrowers that there is a genuine alternative to the mainstream banks.

Continued tightening of the purse strings

2018 saw the banks reducing their risk appetite and placing a number of restrictions on what they will lend and who to. This meant that obtaining finance became increasingly difficult for borrowers, particularly commercial borrowers. This restricted lending environment looks to continue throughout 2019, with the findings of the Hayne report recommending further regulations for the banks’ lending systems.

However, this has created a real opportunity for non-bank lenders who look at lending situations in a different light to the banks. Private lenders are able to be more flexible in who they will lend to. Rather than just look at the serviceability of the loan, they will look at the bigger picture when making a lending decision. This means that while the purse strings are tightening at the banks, more opportunities to access funding will become available through the non-bank sector.

Rise of commercial brokers

Borrowers seeking alternative lenders with transparent and flexible lending processes are going to need help. In these uncertain times, borrowers will increasingly look to brokers for guidance and advice. This is particularly the case for business borrowers who are most likely to be turned away by the banks. For this reason, it makes sense that a number of residential brokers will consider diversifying into the commercial space in order to assist this growing group of borrowers.

The year of private lending?

Overall, the changes in the lending landscape will shine a spotlight on the advantages of working with a private lender. Whether a borrower has become disillusioned with their big four bank or has had their loan application rejected, 2019 will see more and more people looking for an alternative solution for their finance needs. Private lenders have always been able to offer something different to the banks, however this year looks to be the time when the benefits of a non-bank lender really become known throughout the industry.

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How to obtain development finance

Development FinanceIt is well known that to secure development finance from a major bank is getting much more difficult, and changes to stamp duty concessions, like those in Victoria, aren’t helping. Like the GFC days when it was virtually impossible to obtain finance, tighter controls continue to be implemented. Banks generally require 100% of debt coverage from pre-sales and they have pulled back on the percentage of hard costs that they will fund.

However, there are non-bank lenders and private lenders that will look at a project from a different angle to the major banks. Developer finance lenders will work off the gross realisation value (GRV) of the project rather than the traditional hard cost or total development cost (TDC) method when working out how much they will lend.

The main things non-traditional development finance lenders will look at are:

  • The project – does it make sense?
  • The profit – is there a big enough profit in the project?
  • The people – are the people behind the development experienced?

GRV development finance method explained

Gross realisation value (GRV) based first mortgage facilities look at the projected end value of the project and will extend funding to a percentage of that. In general, the maximum GRV is 65%, or 70% in some cases.

Advantages of GRV development finance

  • No pre-sale requirements can mean a higher realisation price especially in a rising market.
  • No pre-sale requirements can mean the project holding costs are less and the development can commence more quickly.
  • Less developer equity required.
  • Taxable income figures for the borrowers are not generally required.
  • All fees and interest can be capitalised

GRV development finance general guidelines

With non-bank lenders and private funders, each project is looked at on an individual basis. However, below are some guidelines that, if met, will help you secure developer finance.

  • Projects should be in desirable locations with high demand for the product being built.
  • Profit margins should be between 15% and 25% depending on the type of project.
  • The borrower should be an experienced developer.
  • The borrower, while not generally required to prove serviceability, will need to have some tangible assets behind them and not be credit impaired.
  • While the funding may typically be available up to 65% of the GRV or end value, this ratio cannot be exceeded at the land stage or any stage of the development. If the land has increased significantly from when it was purchased there is no restriction on using the increased value. This means that 100% of hard costs can be funded in some circumstances.

Have a read of a case study for a development finance deal we recently undertook and you can also hear more about how PMA can help developers with finance in this video.

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A word from our referrers – Lee Spyda

Lee SpydaLee Spyda from Investor Loans Network Gold Coast is a valued PMA referrer. He is committed to empowering clients through education, supporting them to reach their goals and providing exceptional service. We decided to have a chat with him and find a bit more about why he loves being a commercial finance broker.

  1. Tell us about your career history? I’m celebrating 10 years as a mortgage broker this year which is an important milestone for me as I really enjoy this work. I’ve also worked in sales and prior to moving to Australia in 2000 I undertook an apprenticeship in Pattern Making with Rolls Royce Industrial Power Group which was incredibly interesting.
  2. What do you find interesting about commercial finance? The most interesting thing about commercial finance is that every deal is different, there’s never a one-size fits all. For me, it’s really straight-forward. It’s about applying common sense and assessing each deal on the individual merits and circumstances and getting the best result for your client.
  3. What’s the most interesting commercial finance deal you’ve worked on? I’m currently involved in a property development consisting of over 140 townhouses which is really interesting. Over-purchasing blocks of units or other property with no deposit is a favourite scenario – solving the problems and making it work.
  4. What’s one piece of advice you always give to commercial clients? I always tell my clients that it’s not just about the interest rate, it’s the cost of the money in the long-run. We look at all the costs and make sure that the deal has the best chance of making a profit. In the end a percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing!
  5. What are the benefits of working with a non-bank lender like PMA? Non-bank lenders like PMA have extremely quick approval times, a straight-forward loan process and, best of all, common sense is applied to each deal.
  6. What do you like about working with PMA? I’ve always enjoyed working with PMA because they have a great team, a simple approach and they look at things for what they are when making decisions.

 

Lee Spyda talks about commercial lending Lee Spyda is the Director & Finance Strategist at Investor Loans Network Gold Coast where he helps his clients to build their passive income property portfolio through asset protected structures to secure their financial future.

Lee has a Diploma in Finance and Mortgage Broker Management.

To get in touch with Lee contact [email protected]

 

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Q&A with Shanta Lobo – Senior Relationship Manager

Shanta is Senior Relationship Manager LendingShanta Lobo recently joined Private Mortgages Australia in the role of Senior Relationship Manager. We thought we’d take the opportunity to find out from Shanta herself what’s involved in her role and how she can help clients with short-term business finance.

1. What made you decide to join PMA?

Having been a career banker, with a history of 20 years in commercial business banking, I wanted to try something different that also complemented my experience and expertise. The role with PMA was able to offer me just that. The Senior Relationship Manager role is challenging because it’s a new environment but maintains the basic functions of a commercial lender.

2. What are you looking forward to most in this role?

I’m looking forward to learning more about the private mortgage space and working out ways to help small-to-medium businesses with their borrowing needs. I’m also excited about establishing relationships with brokers and helping to educate them about the various ways we can help their clients.

3. What do you think the key benefits of working with a private lender are?

This is lending at a grass roots level. We’re helping clients based on their individual needs and providing realistic lending solutions. The best thing is that we’re able to think outside the square and structure deals very differently to banks in order to provide more practical options for businesses.

4. What do you bring specifically to the PMA team?

With my background in business banking I bring a thorough understanding of business requirements. I have extensive knowledge relating to interpreting financials, financial projections and security structure. I also have a great network of brokers and referrers that I’m looking forward to working with in the future.

5. What makes PMA different to other lenders?

PMA recently made the decision to increase our maximum LVR to 80%. Most private lenders will generally only lend 65% to 70% LVR, and a lot of the time this is based on a forced-sale valuation rather than the true value of the security property. We always take the true value of the security property without any tricks in order to give our borrowers a better solution.

We’ve also introduced a ‘subsequent referral fee’ in order to eliminate channel conflict. This means we still pay a referrer should a borrower come back to PMA directly after taking a previous loan with us via a referrer.

At PMA we’re all about having a transparent lending process that offers greater flexibility and quicker turnarounds than traditional lenders so that a business can get the best solution.

6. What do you think is most important when maintaining good relationships with brokers/referrers?

Listening to client or referrer and understanding their requirements is absolutely paramount. Taking the time to ask questions and fully understand their individual circumstances makes the rest of the process so much simpler. It’s also important to provide prompt responses and to make quick lending decisions. Overall, by providing solutions that work for the client ensures a smooth process that everyone is happy with.

7. PMA doubled its new loan volume last financial year, why do you think this is?

I think it comes down to great service and delivering great results. We receive a lot of return business which is pretty rare in private lending but it’s something we’re extremely proud of. We’ve found that the great relationship we have with brokers means that they spread the word to other brokers in their network.

8. What are you aiming to achieve at PMA?

I’m hoping to get in touch with as many brokers as possible to find out more about their clients’ needs and educate them about what PMA is able to provide. I also think it’s important to establish a good relationship with the client directly and make them comfortable whilst maintaining a good relationship with the broker.

I’m aiming to always provide prompt and efficient lending solutions and keep on top of the entire lending process through to settlement.

 

To speak to Shanta about your business finance needs get in touch with her on 03 8488 9926 or 

[email protected]

 

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PMA’s 2017 In Review

What a year it’s been for Private Mortgages Australia! We’ve had some standout moments in 2017 including:Private Mortgages Australia celebrates some stellar moments in 2017

  • Doubling our new loan volume in the 12 months leading up to our third birthday in July
  • Raising our maximum LVR to 80%
  • Taking a stand to put an end to channel conflict.

We’ve also continued to grow our team with new hires, hosted well-attended webinars and increased our Referrer Remuneration and Referrer Rewards. Here’s a bit more information about the highlights of 2017:

Doubling our Loan Book

In 2017 we saw our new loans grow by 115%, doubling our volume.  We’re so impressed that we’ve been able to maintain this growth (in our second year we increased our loan volume by 151%) – we definitely have our database of 3,000 brokers and referrers to thank for this.

We’ve put this success down the ever-increasing number of small-to-medium businesses needing access to commercial funding who can’t get it from the banks. It’s also been great to see so many brokers diversifying into the commercial space to work with these businesses.

We’re expecting a further 50% increase in the number of settled loans in the current financial year and are already well on track to achieve this.

LVR Increase

In the second half of this year we decided to raise our maximum LVR to 80%. The decision comes after we partnered with Property Predictions Pty Ltd, the creator of patented methodologies which measure demand trends and predict expected changes in prices across the Australian property market.

Most private lenders will generally only lend 65% to 70% LVR, and a lot of the time this is based on a forced-sale valuation rather than the true value of the security property. We always take the true value of the security property without any tricks in order to give our borrowers a better solution. The Traffic Light Reports from Property Predictions employ predictive and patented algorithms developed by leading property market analyst, John Lindeman, to provide highly accurate short term rent and price change predictions for houses and units in any suburb in Australia.

Combatting Channel Conflict

A recent survey conducted by The Adviser found that 78 per cent of brokers had lost a client as a result of channel conflict. It appears to be a growing concern with 88 per cent more worried about channel conflict than they were 12 months ago.

We receive over 90 per cent of our business from broker referrals and we want to keep it that way. That’s why we decided to make changes to our referral fee structure to alleviate any concerns from our broker partners about channel conflict.

We’ve now introduced a ‘subsequent referral fee’ which is paid to the referrer should a borrower come back to PMA directly after taking a previous loan with us via a referrer. We get a lot of repeat clients (which is uncommon in private lending) so we believe we’ve got to be doing something right. We want to reward referrers for providing us with a good lead and will continue to do so no matter how many times that client comes back to us directly. It’s basically free money for our referrers but we believe they deserve it. All referrer fees are paid within 24 hours of settlement with no clawbacks.

Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of our supporters a very merry Christmas! It’s an extremely busy time for us and we’ll be working right up until Christmas Day in order to help any borrowers who need finance before the end of the year. If you have any commercial finance needs please get in touch.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Private Mortgages Australia raises maximum LVR to 80%

Specialist commercial lender, Private Mortgages Australia, today announced that it has raised its maximum LVR to 80%. The decision comes after the private lender partnered with Property Predictions Pty Ltd, the creator of patented methodologies which measure demand trends and predict expected changes in prices across the Australian property market.

“Having access to these Traffic Light Reports from Property Predictions gives us confidence to offer a higher LVR to borrowers who are looking to secure finance against properties in those suburbs,” said Tony Barbone, Managing Director of Private Mortgages Australia.

“Most private lenders will generally only lend 65% to 70% LVR, and a lot of the time this is based on a forced-sale valuation rather than the true value of the security property. We always take the true value of the security property without any tricks in order to give our borrowers a better solution.”

The Traffic Light Reports from Property Predictions employ predictive and patented algorithms developed by leading property market analyst, John Lindeman to provide highly accurate short term rent and price change predictions for houses and units in any suburb in Australia.

“It’s great that PMA is able to use the insights from our Traffic Light Reports to offer better solutions to their borrowers,” Lindeman said. “The predictive software we use gives them the confidence to back the borrower and increase the maximum LVR to 80% in selected suburbs. It creates a win-win situation for both PMA and the borrower.”

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PMA puts a stop to channel conflict

Channel conflict: PMA moves to stop channel conflictA recent survey conducted by The Adviser found that 78 per cent of brokers had lost a client as a result of channel conflict. It appears to be a growing concern with 88 per cent more worried about channel conflict than they were 12 months ago. Over 93 per cent of brokers cited the major banks as their biggest concern and 74 per cent of brokers said channel conflict would influence which lenders they recommend to clients over the coming 12 months.

Private Mortgages Australia receives over 90 per cent of our business from broker referrals and we want to keep it that way. That is why we’ve decided to make changes to our referral fee structure to alleviate any concerns from our broker partners about channel conflict.

We’ve now introduced a ‘subsequent referral fee’ which is paid to the referrer should a borrower comes back to PMA directly after taking a previous loan with us via a referrer. We get a lot of repeat clients (which is uncommon in private lending) so we believe we’ve got to be doing something right. We want to reward referrers for providing us with a good lead and will continue to do so no matter how many times that client comes back to us directly. It’s basically free money for our referrers but we believe they deserve it. All referrer fees are paid within 24 hours of settlement with no clawbacks.

Of course, we do have some conditions around this. For instance, if a client comes back for a subsequent loan via a new referrer with an updated client mandate, PMA will always pay the new referrer based on the client’s updated direction to pay.

To find out more about the referral fees, interest rates and LVRs you can view a copy of our Referrer pack here.

PMA has also introduced a Referrer Reward program to show our appreciation for the great work our referrers do. As part of the program, the value of all transactions settled with PMA will count towards your referrer rewards total and each time you reach a referrer milestone you will receive a reward from PMA – think a nice bottle of Grange, flights, shopping vouchers and much more. Each time you reach a new milestone we’ll have a bigger and better reward for you.

To find out more about the rewards milestones, visit the Referrer page on our website here.

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