Banks now more lenient for SME loans, but still not as flexible as private lenders

Private lenders are more flexible for SME loansA recent article from Australian Broker stated that Australia’s major banks have introduced more lenient lending criteria to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners to purchase property.

Westpac announced it would increase its loan to value ratio (LVR) from 80% to 90% following similar changes from Commonwealth Bank earlier in the year. Westpac, CBA and St. George also all announced they would only require one year of financial records as income verification for self-employed borrowers. Previously they had required two years of financial records and tax returns.

SME loans need flexibility

While it’s great that SMEs now have more opportunities to access bank funding, they are still required to show serviceability which isn’t always possible. Similarly, for businesses that need quick turnarounds and short-term funding, a bank still isn’t going to be the right source for funds.

The difference between a bank and a private lender is that a bank focusses on serviceability while a private lender focusses solely on asset value and exit strategy. At Private Mortgages Australia all our loans come with a component or prepaid interest so we don’t need to worry about serviceability. This distinction is the main reason PMA is able to service so many SME loans for short-term finance.

If you have an SME client who can’t get funding from the banks, give PMA a call.

By Tony Barbone

Managing Director, Private Mortgages Australia

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Borrower Case Study: A super loan for a supermarket

PMA settled a loan with a borrower for the purchase of a supermarket Private Mortgages Australia settled a loan with a very happy borrower who needed a quick turnaround on finance for the purchase of a supermarket in country Victoria.

One of the key benefits of a private mortgage for this borrower was that PMA was able to lend based on the valuation price of the property rather than purchase price, which was ideal for the borrower’s situation. The supermarket had previously been bought three years ago for $950,000 however the borrower had managed to pick up the building and the business for a deep discount from a motivated seller for $680,000. This incredible discount was made possible because he agreed to buy the property very quickly and therefore didn’t have time for a traditional bank to take 6-8 weeks to approve a loan. While a bank would typically only lend on the lower of the valuation or purchase price, as a Private Money Lender, we are happy to lend based on valuation.

The valuation of the building came back at $950,000 and based on our due diligence we were happy to offer him a loan for 70% of the valuation of the supermarket being $665,000. The borrower needed the funds for four months to give enough time to refinance the property with another lender and cash us out.

Loan details

Loan Amount: $665,000

Mortgage Type: Registered 1st Mortgage

Loan to Value Ratio (LVR): 70%

Term: 4 Months

Managing the loan

We made sure we managed the deal as it came closer to the repayment date by sending the borrower a friendly reminder at 60 days, 30 days, and 14 days to expiry. This helped keep the lines of communication open and we knew exactly where the borrower was up to and had a clear view of his situation.

The borrower had a few unexpected delays from the incoming lender, but because we had constant communication with the borrower he was able to provide us with evidence of the new loan coming in and so we were comfortable giving him a small extension of two weeks to finalise his refinance.

Win-win

This deal was a great success for the borrower. He managed to complete the deal and make a huge profit. The borrower was so impressed with our service that he has subsequently came back and borrowed from us again  for a different project.

We are proud to say that we have many repeat borrowers just like the one in the above example, and this is because PMA provides a good customer experience with flexible criteria and our win/win approach to private lending.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you or your business clients with quick  access to finance then please give us a call on 1300 856 683.

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Q&A with Peter Cuskelly – National Credit Manager

Private Mortgages Australia National Credit Manager Peter Cuskelly.Peter Cuskelly is the National Credit Manager at Private Mortgages Australia. He joined in 2015 bringing with him his wealth of experience in credit across all types of lending including commercial, agribusiness, mortgage and personal clients.  We thought we’d take the opportunity to find out from Peter himself what’s involved in his role and what he’s looking for in a commercial finance application.

1. What made you decide to join PMA?

After a long career as a bank lender and a short time as a broker, I was attracted by the flexibility of PMA to do a deal that makes sense, rather than making the borrower/broker meet the rules and restrictions of bank lending policy. I also like PMA’s transparent approach making sure the broker and client stay informed along the whole process with no nasty surprises.

2. What’s some of the more common reasons why borrowers can’t get traditional bank finance and need a private mortgage?

Common reasons include poor credit record, inability to demonstrate servicing and speed to funding.

3. You charge higher rates of interest than traditional bank lenders. Why is the market prepared to pay private mortgage rates?

We provide a niche service to provide loans where the loan structure gives the borrower what they need and has a sound exit, but just doesn’t meet the strict criteria of the bank. Often our customers are entering deals that are very profitable, so they don’t mind paying a bit extra for the ability to get the deal over the line quickly.

4. Tell us about the type of credit PMA provides?

PMA lend for any legitimate business purpose. Our core business is short term funding from two to 12 months up to $2 million, however we are now also managing larger loans from $2 million to $50 million with our wholesale funding pool which has really opened up some great opportunities.

5. Do you have postcode restrictions?

No – PMA will lend against property anywhere in Australia however we do reduce the Loan / Value Ratio (LVR) based on the property type and use the Genworth Security Location postcodes.

6. What’s the maximum LVR you will go to?

Our maximum LVR is 75%.

7. What evidence of serviceability do you require from a borrower?

This is the key differentiator for PMA – we capitalise interest over an agreed prepaid term so the client doesn’t need to make regular payments during that period. Repayment is based on the borrowers’ ability to execute their “Exit Strategy” to repay the loan, rather than service the debt over a long term.

8. Tell me more about what you look for in an exit strategy?

The key things that I look for in an exit strategy are that it is realistic and can be achieved in the timeframe. For instance, if the exit strategy is to receive funds from a contract then we need to ensure the contract can be fulfilled and is large enough to repay the debt. A secondary exit strategy such as refinance or sale of security property is also usually sought as a back up.

9. How and when do you pay your referrers?

Referrers are paid 24 hours after settlement, with no “claw backs” for arrears or early repayment.

10. How quickly can you settle?

We can usually provide an Indicative Approval within a few hours. Caveat loans can be settled within 48 hours with a straight forward security and co-operative borrower. Registered first and second mortgage loans generally require valuations (and bank consent for 2nd mortgage) so will take longer.

11. How do you value the security properties?

PMA have a very flexible valuation policy which allows us to use a range of sources including existing valuations, desktop valuations and agent appraisals as well as full valuations depending on the lending scenario.

12. Do you do development finance? If so how does it work?

We get involved in development finance both as a construction financier and also on a second mortgage basis to assist completion when the banks won’t help fund cost overruns.

As with all PMA loans we are flexible and make sure our deal structure suits the requirements of the borrower.

13. What loan sizes do you do?

We are the exclusive Mortgage Manager for PMA Capital Ltd, which is our own Fund that specialises in loans up to $2 million. We can now also manage larger loans from $2 million to $50 million with our new funding pool.

14. What tips would you give referrers to give them the best chance of getting their application approved?

If you have a scenario you would like considered, please use our one page Quick App which provides us all the information we need to quickly assess the proposal and a basis to provide an indicative quote or discuss the deal further.

15. What was the most exciting deal you’ve worked on?

Exciting is not usually a word you use a lot in finance. I think the most satisfying deal was one where we worked with the client and broker to pay out the ATO and stop administrators being appointed to a sound business. The exit strategy of selling a property was finalised within the loan term. It was the perfect loan from start to finish.

16. What makes an ideal PMA borrower?

I think it is a borrower that is keen to work with us to get the funding finalised as soon as possible and then make every effort to carry out the exit strategy and repay the loan.

17. What do you think makes PMA the best at what they do?

Taking the time to listen to the broker and client and making sure the deal meet their needs.

18. What’s next for PMA? Any milestones you’re looking to achieve?

There is so much going on at all different levels. I think the rate of growth of PMA has been great and I am looking forward to doubling our loan book again over the next 12 months. From an operational perspective, we are building a custom software program to automate the assessment process and will shortly start looking for a new credit support staff member, to help manage the growth (and take up some of my workload).

 

Peter has a Bachelor of Business, Graduate Certificate in Corporate Finance and is a qualified CPA. He has over 30 years experience in finance and also holds a Diploma of Finance and Mortgage Broking Management, and has completed the Agile Project Management Foundation & Practitioner course.

 

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PMA launches Referrer Rewards program

Private Mortgages Australia has launched a Referrer Rewards program

At Private Mortgages Australia we pride ourselves on the great working relationships we have with our referrers. We work closely with our trusted referrers to understand their client’s needs and develop a tailored solution that will deliver the best results for all involved.

We appreciate the great work our referrers do and reward this work accordingly, with all referrer fees paid within 24 hours of settlement with No Clawbacks!.

As part of the celebrations for our 2nd birthday we are giving the presents to our referrers with the launch of the Private Mortgages Australia Referrer Rewards Program. This program is a way for Private Mortgages Australia to thank our referrers for their on-going support. 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.

Call us to find out more about the milestones and rewards – 1300 856 683.

 

Referrer relationships are very important to Private Mortgages Australia

Hear what one of our Referrers has to say about PMA:

“I have recently settled a loan for one of my clients with Private Mortgages Australia being the lender. I congratulate them on a seamless process conducted in a very professional manner.  The quality of service coupled with a mindset based upon how can we make this loan work to the mutual satisfaction of both parties is a refreshing experience.”

Warren B – Mortgage Borker, Adelaide

Read more testimonials here.

Visit our Resources page here to download all the Referrer documents and listen to our latest podcast.

 

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Foreign borrowers: Private lenders only option

PMA offers loans to foreign borrowersIn the last month all four major banks have made changes to foreign lending policies, making it difficult for overseas borrowers to access finance in Australia.

The Commonwealth Bank will no longer give mortgages to self-employed applicants using foreign income to service their loans and will no longer approve loans for temporary residents receiving foreign currency income. The maximum loan-to-value ratio for temporary citizens living and working in Australia and being paid in Australian dollars has been lowered from 80% to 70%.

ANZ tightened its rules around lending to foreigners, after the bank discovered that loans written in their network of offices throughout Asia were sometimes missing crucial documentation.

National Australia Bank lowered its loan-to-valuation ratios for foreign mortgage applications, and Westpac introduced tighter lending rules for foreign property buyers.

While the banks are making it virtually impossible for foreign borrowers to obtain finance for the purchase of property, there are still options available to overseas buyers in Australia.

Private lenders approach the lending process differently to the major banks. Usually the loan is secured by property equity so private lenders aren’t concerned with overseas income sources and serviceability. This means that as long as a foreign borrower has property assets to use as collateral the lending process should go smoothly.

Despite the changes to the lending practices of many of the major banks in Australia, it should come as a relief to foreign borrowers that there are still options available to access finance through private lenders.

 

By Tim Hart

Director, Private Mortgages Australia

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Refinancing ATO Debt

Private Mortgages Australia can help refinance ATO debtThe end of the financial year can be a stressful time for lots of people as they try to manage their expenses and get their finances in order before the tax man pays a visit. If a borrower has an outstanding ATO bill and the ATO doesn’t grant an extension then they can be in a bit of strife. While having an ATO debt is not ideal, this doesn’t disqualify them from borrowing money. A traditional bank won’t lend to a borrower with an outstanding ATO debt, however, there are several steps that can be taken to consolidate tax debt in order to get the finance needed.

One way of doing this is to pay out the tax debt with a short-term mortgage. This enables the borrower to pay off the ATO debt and build up a few months of good payment history. The borrower can then try to refinance to a long-term debt and pay off the loan.

One of the major benefits of this option is that the loan comes with pre-paid payments so the business borrower doesn’t need to make payments during the term of the loan and can reinvest profits back into the business to ramp things up or focus additional cash-flow on building that good payment history with their current lender.

Having an ATO debt can be a tricky situation however, with some strategic management of the debt it is possible to get back on track and make it possible to access finance.

 

By Tony Barbone

Managing Director, Private Mortgages Australia

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10 Questions For A Private Lender

Private Mortgages Australia explores what to ask a private lender.The strict lending requirements imposed by traditional bank lenders can mean that many borrowers have trouble qualifying for a conventional mortgage. However, a private lender provides a smart alternative for a business borrower who can’t get finance from a bank.

Private mortgage finance usually comes from private investors or institutional funders who are willing to loan borrowers money for a business purpose using a property as security. The process can be quite complicated but choosing the right lender and knowing the right questions to ask can make a private mortgage a great option. These are some of the questions to ask your private mortgage lender.

1. What types of products do you offer?

A private lender may offer a range of mortgages, such as caveat loans, car finance, invoice factoring, first-ranking mortgages or second-ranking mortgages. If you are looking for a specific type of loan product, check with the lender about the types of products they offer so that you can find the right type of business loan that meets your needs.

2. How quickly can you assess my application?

Private lenders are usually able to process applications much more quickly than traditional bank lenders. Generally, as long as the borrower has sufficient equity in the underlying security, a private lender may be able to approve a loan much more quickly than a traditional lender, sometimes offering pre-loan approval within a few hours.  However, be wary of lenders who advertise 24-hour loans as this is often a trap to get unsuspecting borrowers committed. These 24 hour loans are commonly also called “Caveat Loans”. Many say they ‘can’ offer loans within 24 hours, but with the amount of work that goes into a loan offer it is very unlikely that this will actually happen. Some exceptions do exist, for instance where a valuation has already been conducted by a reputable valuation firm thus reducing the need to order a new valuation and speeding up the application.

3. What interest will I pay on my mortgage?

The interest rate will vary depending on a number of factors including the type of security, location, and the length of time taken to pay it back. After an initial assessment of an application a lender should be able to quote a firm rate based on the information provided. Be wary of Indicative Offers that still quote a rate range or that sound too good to be true, as quite often the interest rate is much higher when the actual loan offer comes back.

4. Where does the money come from?

This is a very interesting concept that very few people consider, where does a private lender actually get their money from? A lot of private lenders use a sophisticated investor networks to underwrite their loan advances. Other private lenders raise funds from wholesale or retail sources with the use of an Australian Financial Services License (‘AFSL’).

5. Who makes the lending decision?

In some cases it is the individual investor that makes the final decision to lend the funds required and will essentially “write the cheque”. This isn’t an ideal situation. Imagine that you are a borrower and you submit a loan to a private lender. Everything seems to be going well, you pay the upfront fees, order the loan documents from the solicitor, but then are taken by complete surprise when your loan application is rejected despite being formally approved. What has occurred is that the loan was approved by the ‘middle man’ but then turned down by the person writing the cheque. Unfortunately this occurs all the time.

The smarter alternative is to make sure that the private lender is the one who is making the decisions. This is a safer and more effective situation for the borrower.

6. Are there any hidden costs?

Sometimes there are additional fees that you may not be aware of upfront. Check with the private lender about any additional costs that may be conditional upon specific conditions or circumstances. Make sure you work with a well-respected lender that has a transparent lending process so you don’t get hit with any unexpected fees.

7. What are the optional features?

If you are looking for specific features, ask the lender about whether these will be offered with the mortgage. Popular features that provide convenience for borrowers include prepaid loan terms. A pre-paid loan term is where a borrower doesn’t need to service the loan payments for a specified period of time. Some lenders only offer this feature for one month. Could you imagine the strain of having to service a private loan with a higher than bank interest rates every month? This would be very difficult especially if the reason for approaching the private lender in the first place was to assist with cash-flow issues. It is very important to work with a private lender that understands this and can offer a loan term that is capitalised with reliance on an exit strategy.

8. How much can I borrow?

Generally, private mortgages can be approved for any amount range from $20,000 to $4,000,000 or more, and up to 75% of the value of the underlying security. However, a good lender will treat every loan application as a unique case and can therefore lend based on the individual circumstances.

9. Do I need security for a loan?

In most cases the lender will require real estate as security. You should have some equity built up in the property to be able to borrow against it.

10. Can I make extra repayments?

If you would like the option to make extra repayments, ask the private lender about the possibility of making extra repayments and whether a fee will be charged if you do choose to make them.

 

By Tony Barbone

Managing Director, Private Mortgages Australia

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Borrower Beware: Lender Tactics

Learn how to avoid unscrupulous lender tacticsA private mortgage is a great option if a borrower is having issues borrowing from a bank or if they are looking to have their mortgage application approved quickly. A private lender provides the loan with less red tape and processes the application in a timely manner, so you can access the funding you need sooner. Unfortunately though, there are some bad lending practices out there which can bring a borrower unstuck.  However, as with all industries, it’s a case of just a few bad operators making a bad name for the industry. If you know what to look out for and the right questions to ask your lender then a private mortgage can be a great option and deliver the best results for the borrower.

Here are five things to keep an eye out for when looking at a private mortgage:

1. Upfront Fees

The practice of lenders charging huge upfront fees is one of the biggest problems with the private mortgage industry. Some lenders can charge tens of thousands of dollars in upfront fees without the borrower even knowing whether or not they will be accepted for a loan. To ensure a borrower isn’t out of pocket and without a loan make sure you look carefully at the upfront fees charged by a lender and go for a company that charges minimal fees upfront. $550 – $1,100 is typical depending upon the size and complexity of the loan. You want a lender who makes their money by actually lending money not just charging upfront fees and rejecting the loan.

2. 24-Hour Loans

One of the major benefits of a private mortgage is the speed.  A private mortgage can be settled within a fraction of the time in which a traditional lender would require. This is because a private lender tends to focus on the security – the property to be used as collateral for the loan – rather than on ‘red tape’ processes and the applicant’s credit history, which a traditional lender might be more focused on.

A quick turnaround on a loan application is something that most private lenders will be able to offer, however, many lenders are now taking this one step further by saying they can have the loan settled within 24 hours. While in some cases this may be possible, there is still a phenomenal amount of work that needs to go into any lending decision and it would be very unlikely that every loan could be settled within this time frame. If you a working with a lender that claims 24-hour turnarounds then it may be wise to ask them exactly how many loans they have completed within a day. You may find it’s not something that happens very often. The lender knows that once the borrower is committed to them it will take too long to start again with another lender so they stay with them even if they take another week to do the loan.

3. Expensive ‘Forced Sale’ Valuation

Many lenders don’t offer loans based on market value but rather will do a ‘forced sale’ valuation which typically comes in well under market value. This means that when the Loan to Value Ratio doesn’t stack up they will come back to the borrower and make them pay the upfront fees and charges. Make sure you check with the lender what type of valuations they do.

4. Cancellation Fees

Lenders can also include a clause in their offer that if a borrower doesn’t proceed with the loan then they can be charged a cancellation fee. Usually this can be around two percent of the loan value. In some scenarios the lender can put a caveat over the property and hold the borrower to ransom until the fees are paid. To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure you read all the fine print and ask about cancellation fees up front.

5. ‘Too Good to be True’ Rates

A sneaky trap that some lenders use is advertising a low interest rate, in order to attract a borrower, however when it comes to the actual loan offer the rate is much higher than this. The way they trap the borrower is by including a ‘from’ rate in the Indicative Letter of Offer. When the final loan documentation is received the rate is completely different to what they signed up for. If they withdraw at that point and don’t sign the loan documents the lender then caveats the properties in the offer and demands their cancellation fee. Obviously, this can cause a lot of disappointment and frustration so make sure to ask the lender up front for an estimate of the rate which will be applied to the loan. A good lender should be able to give you a pretty accurate interest rate based on the upfront information you provide.

 

While most private lenders have a transparent lending process and are genuinely trying to find the best loan option for the borrower, there are other lenders out there that can make the process a lot trickier.  Hopefully these five pointers have given you an idea of what to look out for and will help you to navigate your way through to a successful private mortgage deal.

 

By Tim Hart

Director, Private Mortgages Australia

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New Website Launches

Private Mortgages Australia has launched a new websitePrivate Mortgages Australia is very excited to announce the launch of our new website. We’re hoping the new site will be the place to go for all the information you could ever need relating to private lending. On the site we will regularly share industry news, give our opinion on relevant topics and provide updates on our products and the work we’re doing for our clients.

We’d be very happy to receive suggestions from our brokers and referrers about the kind of information you’d like to see on the site. We also hope to feature some of your articles and case studies so feel free to send over anything you think would be of interest.

Keep an eye on the website for details on our next webinar and we also hope to be launching a new ‘Referrer Rewards’ program in the not too distant future.

You can also follow us on our various social media pages including:

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