Liberty bolsters BDM support on South Island

Former mortgage adviser gets BDM role

Liberty bolsters BDM support on South Island

Liberty Financial has welcomed Christchurch-based Michelle Kinilau (pictured above left) as the new business development manager for the South Island, bolstering the non-bank’s support for advisers in the area.

After a decade in banking and financial services, Kinilau joins Liberty with a proven track record of building and nurturing successful professional relationships, according to the nonbank lender.

Who is Michelle Kinilau?

Kinilau was previously a highly successful mortgage adviser in Christchurch, working for Opes Mortgages and Insure.

This led to Kinilau receiving industry recognition upon being named an NZ Adviser 2024 Elite Woman, alongside her new peer, Virginia Ballantyne, who was recently appointed Liberty’s general manager – operations, compliance, and finance.

Virginia Ballantyne was also named as Women Leaders in Mortgage in NZ. See the Elite Woman special report here.

Before that, Kinilau had an extensive career at ASB Bank.

“I’m passionate about helping people and forming meaningful connections, and finance has been my vehicle for achieving this purpose. I’m committed to continuing in this endeavour as I step into this new role with Liberty,” Kinilau said.

"Liberty's commitment to inclusion resonated with my own values. I was drawn to Liberty through their ability to find a solution for those customers who feel stuck or may have been turned away by traditional lenders."

Liberty CEO (NZ) Aaron Skilton (pictured above centre) welcomed the appointment.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michelle and see her extensive experience put to work to help more advisers find the solutions they need to support a wider range of customers,” Skilton said.

“Liberty’s investment in its people signifies our unwavering commitment to the mortgage adviser industry, and to helping more Kiwis find the lending solutions they need to realise their dreams.”

This comes after Liberty was event partner at the 2024 New Zealand Mortgage Awards, which were recently declared “a blast”.

“The number of attendees was significantly higher than in previous years and the calibre of people nominated for awards, and in the room on the evening, was impressive,” Skilton said. “It was a positive and inspiring evening that truly showcased the hard work and accomplishments of the best of our industry.”

Addressing the needs of the NZ mortgage market

Liberty general manager Igor Stychinsky (pictured above right) said the addition of Kinilau to the team further ensured Liberty is equipped with the skills, experience, and knowledge to best serve valued advisers and partners.

“We are now better positioned to deliver exceptional service and innovative solutions for customers’ changing needs,” Stychinsky said.

With the time being right for nonbanks to expand, Stychinsky said the move aligns with Liberty's overarching objectives in New Zealand's financial market.

“The growth of our team reflects our ongoing commitment to supporting advisers to offer greater choice and greater service,” he said.

Liberty Group, which comprises Liberty Financial Limited and Mike Pero Mortgages, has already settled more than $2 billion in home loans.

“We aim to be the leading non-bank in New Zealand,” said Stychinsky.

“To do this, it’s important that we have a strong local presence. This helps us to remain relevant, present and with our finger on the pulse as we strive to continuously improve our service and product offering.”