Promoting financial inclusion via the non-bank sector

Barry Saoud of Pepper Money reveals the company’s innovative strategy in the alternative lending market

Promoting financial inclusion via the non-bank sector

The thriving gig economy, which is most evident in the growing number of people with non-traditional forms of employment, has boosted the market potential of non-bank lenders such as Pepper Money. Due to its recent achievements, the company was named Non-Bank of the Year at the Australian Mortgage Awards 2021. In this interview with MPA’s Antony Field, Pepper Money’s general manager of mortgages and commercial lending, Barry Saoud, talks about the company’s innovations and goals.

Saoud describes Pepper Money as a leading non-bank lender whose purpose is financial inclusion.

“We’re focused on ensuring and challenging the ways in which loans are designed but also distributed,” he said. “So, from today, we have definitely focused on product innovation, supporting our brokers with quality products, but also [providing] that consistency around credit decisioning and market-leading turnaround times.”

A crucial element of Pepper Money’s growth is its strong relationship with the broker channel, which Saoud calls the “lifeblood” of their business. To nurture this long-term relationship, Pepper Money continues innovating and delivering exceptional experiences for brokers while also taking care of customers’ needs. Specifically, the company is automating its processes and providing high-quality service through its BDM network.

“It’s really important for me and the team to ensure we continue to strengthen the partnership that we have with our brokers. And by that it’s all about how we make it easier, simpler and faster for our brokers to provide that great quality service to the customers and […] also supporting them through a great post-settlement service, ensuring they’ve got the right tools, the right training and education to understand our products [and] the various borrower profiles,” he said.

Pepper Money supports brokers in understanding the non-conforming space, that is, the market segment composed of self-employed individuals, contractors, or casual employees – a growing customer segment outside of the traditional banking space.

Another strength and differentiator for Pepper Money is technology. “We have the tools such as our Pepper Product Selector and Resolve – these are tools that brokers have that really support them in providing that certainty of credit decisioning, providing them a fast indicative offer, but also [ensuring that they] understand what products are available and at what interest rate,” Saoud said.

As the needs of brokers and customers change, Pepper Money continues to evolve its technology, using it in a personalised manner while leveraging tools such as automated valuation model, digital ID and digital signatures.

The company’s plan in the next 12 months, Saoud said, is to broaden its innovative product suite for the benefit of non-traditional borrowers such as self-employed persons, Uber drivers, and Airtasker workers. Investing in process automation will continue, as well as using data to strengthen partnerships and provide better-quality service to brokers and customers, which are essential to Pepper Money’s success. 

Watch the full interview here