Macquarie Group set to fund Yellow Brick Road home loan assault on major banks

The aspirations of Mark Bouris to take on the major banks once again appear to be gathering steam with Macquarie Group tipped to provide wholesale mortgage funding to his Yellow Brick Road wealth management franchise business.

Yellow Brick Road has placed its shares in a trading halt today ahead of an announcement on Friday (November 9) in relation to speculation about "potential distribution deal with a major Australian Financial Institution".

Bouris has hinted at his desire to not only take on the major banks – as he did during the late 1990s and early 2000s through Wizard Home Loans – but also to obtain a banking license for Yellow Brick Road.

He hired former NAB home loans executive Matt Lawler as Yellow Brick Road CEO last year.

A report in The Age, quoting “sources close to the deal” said Macquarie-funded home loans sold via Yellow Brick Road would seek to undercut the major banks by a full percentage point.

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 and now has more than 140 branches across the country.

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

Macquarie provides home loans through its banking and financial services group with APRA September banking figures showing that Macquarie has a mortgage book of around $4.5 billion, ranking it as the 14th biggest bank lender and a long way behind the smallest of the big four banks, ANZ, which has a mortgage book of $170 billion.

It also offers a portfolio of mortgage products aimed at both investors and first-home buyers.

Prior to the GFC Macquarie provided wholesale mortgage funding through its PUMA securitisation program but stopped originating new mortgages in March 2008 when the GFC made it significantly harder to access wholesale funding at competitive rates. It has since returned to the securitisation market.

Macquarie also has a play in the mortgage distribution space, facilitating the creation of aggregator Vow Financial through the merger of a number mid-tier mortgage broking businesses and maintains a minority holding in this venture.

In its most recent half-year results Macquarie notes that its “mortgages business continued to grow through targeted distribution and quality products”.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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