Mark Bouris' Yellow Brick Road hints at intentions to become a bank

Freshly fired celebrity apprentice Warwick Capper is unlikely to ever get a job as a bank manager at Yellow Brick Road following reports that the wealth management business set up by Mark Bouris will apply for a banking licence.

However, the likelihood of Yellow Brick Road actually challenging the major banks as a deposit-taking institution may be some time off.

Rather Celebrity Apprentice host Bouris appears to be milking the media exposure his wealth management business is receiving from the prime-time show on Channel 9 – which owns almost a fifth of Yellow Brick Road – by suggesting it could become a bank some time in the future.

Celebrity Apprentice attracted more than 1.3 million viewers for the first two episodes of the latest series.

Former NAB banking executive Matt Lawler, hired by Bouris as CEO of Yellow Brick Road in July, hinted at the possibility of applying for a banking licence in an interview with The Australian Financial Review.

Lawler says the company is aiming for 150 branches by the end of December 2012. The Yellow Brick Road website list 70 branches, with the majority of these located in NSW.

Lawler, who led NAB’s mortgage broking division before joining Yellow Brick Road, says as the business grows it would become big enough to make decisions about whether to write its own mortgages or become an authorised deposit-taking institution.

He claims Yellow Brick Road managers are better placed to sell mortgage credit than the major banks because its branches do not have targets and are more client focused.

Yellow Brick Road currently distributes mortgages via a partnership with Gateway Credit Union.

Bouris made his money from his Wizard mortgage broking business, which he eventually sold to GE Money for about $500 million in 2004.

He founded Yellow Brick in 2007 to sell investment services in former Wizard Branches.

Aussie Home Loans bought the Wizard brand and franchise network from GE Money in December 2008, changing the stores to the John Symond brand.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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