Friday 24 February 2017

New entrant to the mortgage market to begin selling directly to Irish consumers

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Pepper is to begin selling mortgages directly to Irish customers (Stock photo)
Pepper is to begin selling mortgages directly to Irish customers (Stock photo)

New entrant to the mortgage market Pepper will begin offering home loans directly to consumers from today.

The Australian owned non-bank lender entered the market earlier this year, initially offering mortgages through brokers.

From today, Pepper is to begin selling mortgages directly to Irish customers. Its new retail consumer brand, Pepper Money also plans to begin offering additional consumer finance products within months.

Pepper doesn’t have a national branch network, but borrowers will be able to apply through the Pepper Money website or by phone.

In the second phase of the direct-to-consumer rollout, Pepper said customers wishing to complete their entire application process online, including uploading documentation via a secure portal and having an ability to track the application through its various stages.

Pepper is targeting first-time buyers, switchers and those taking out buy-to-let mortgages, but its particular focus is on borrowers who are underserved by the main banks.

That includes some categories of self employed people and contract workers, who don’t tick the permanent employment box favoured by other lenders. Pepper also offers mortgages to those who have previously gotten  into repayment arrears but have since returned to full payments.

“Our products are intended to target a broader and more diverse range of customers so we tailor our loans based on people’s needs; for example, our Advantage mortgage is really unique and fit-for-purpose in this market because it gives people with a legacy credit event an option they probably won’t find elsewhere,” said Paul Doddrell, chief executive officer at Pepper Ireland.

Pepper initially entered the Irish market Pepper when it bought loans originally made by GE Money here and it also manages loans on behalf of Danske Bank and the funds like Goldman Sachs and Lone Star that bought loans here from traditional banks but don’t have the people here to manage them directly. All told Pepper manages around 50,000 loans here. It also operates in the British, Spanish and Australian markets.

Barry Delaney, head of sales and marketing for Pepper Money said customers will not be kept waiting longer than 24 hours for approval in principle.

In July Pepper Money reduced rates across its existing three mortgage products for residential and buy to let customers – Pepper Essential, Pepper Essential Plus and Pepper Advantage - with rates starting from 3.1pc.

But it charges a premium based on the credit profile of different categories of borrower and loan to value ratios.

The company employs more than 400 people in Shannon and Dublin and has over €16bn of Irish assets under management.

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