The Home Loan Shop completes rebrand to Squirrel

Company founder outlines his vision for the business

The Home Loan Shop completes rebrand to Squirrel

Iconic Wellington-based mortgage company, The Home Loan Shop, has marked the beginning of an exciting new era this week, officially unveiling its rebrand to Squirrel.

Founded in 1999, The Home Loan Shop was one of New Zealand’s first ever mortgage advisory businesses – and in the 25 years since, with the help of its prominent central-Wellington offices, it’s become one of the capital’s most well-known brands.

The rebrand is the final stage in The Home Loan Shop’s merger with the leading Auckland-based mortgage brokerage, which was first announced in July 2022.

Early beginnings and new horizons

Even in the early 2000s, Greg Scott (pictured above), The Home Loan Shop founder and now Squirrel general manager Wellington had the vision for the firm.

“There weren’t many of us around back then and most of us were working from home like a cottage industry,” Scott said. “My business partner and I had just done MBAs and we thought banks had been successful having high-profile sites, so we did the same. It was the way of the future.”

While it may be rebranded, Scott was adamant that The Home Loan Shop vision will continue.

“Nothing changes,” Scott said. “Our people are exactly the same. The advisers that we’ve got, 10 mortgage advisers and one insurance adviser, are exactly the same people.” In terms of why the merger occurred, Scott said it was the similarities between the two businesses that made a partnership feel like the right next step in The Home Loan Shop journey.

“What’s made this work so well is that the guys at Squirrel are just like us,” he said. “The merger and rebrand is about bringing together two like-minded businesses to create something bigger, better and that lets us tap into all the advantages that come with scale.

“Our new and existing clients will get the same quality of service, the same team and the same expertise that The Home Loan Shop has built its reputation on over the last 20 or so years.”

Squirrel founder John Bolton said he’s admired The Home Loan Shop business since long before partnership talks got underway.

“I’m based in Auckland now, but grew up and lived in Wellington for years. So, I remember seeing these guys in action back in the early days, and I loved what Greg and his team were up to, even then,” he said. “They’re a phenomenal group of advisers.

“When we started to look at opportunities to expand Squirrel outside of Auckland, and take the business nationwide, The Home Loan Shop team felt like the obvious people to do it with really. We’ve got such similar values, it feels a bit like kindred spirits. It’s taken several years of talks to get to this point, so it’s really cool to finally be making this official.”

Squirrel rebranding: What's it going to look like?

While the core of the business will remain the same, one area that will be enhanced with Squirrel is the software it uses.

“Squirrel has their own software, and we had our own too,” said Scott.  “The reason it’s taken 16 months from the time we signed the agreement was because we wanted to take the good things of our software and add them to the Squirrel software.”

“The whole reason for getting together was taking the best of we do, and the best of what Squirrel do and putting them together.”

While Squirrel is set for a technical facelift, the rebranding will stay true to The Home Loan Shop’s roots, maintaining a high-profile shop presence in Wellington and Lower Hutt where people can still walk in.

“They can also contact us through Calendry to book a chat or they can call and email us, but you’d be amazed how many people still want to come into the branch.”

As a result of the merger, Squirrel has grown to a team of more than 100, originating upwards of $2.5 billion in mortgages per year, and representing over 6% of the New Zealand mortgage broker market.

There will be an outdoor campaign consisting of billboards, buses and posters across the Wellington stations during February and March, highlighting the merger.