Pepper 'will eventually lend up to €400m a year'
New player Pepper Money says its confident it will eventually lend up to €400m a year into the Irish mortgage markets, as it started offering home loans directly to consumers.
The Australian-owned non-bank lender entered the market earlier this year, initially offering mortgages through brokers. It has now begun marketing mortgages directly to Irish customers and has launched retail consumer brand, Pepper Money.
Pepper doesn't have a national branch network, but borrowers will be able to apply through the Pepper Money website or by phone. It will fund the expansion into the Irish market by using home loans made here to borrow on the financial markets. Chief executive officer at Pepper Ireland, Paul Doddrell, said he is confident Pepper Money will eventually be lending €300m to €400m a year here.
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 previously got into repayment arrears but have since returned to full payments.
Like other lenders, Pepper is regulated by the Central Bank, and subject to the same rules as the banks, including the caps on mortgage lending that restrict most borrowers to a loan of 20pc of the value of their property.
Pepper initially entered the Irish market when it bought loans made by GE Money here.
It also manages loans on behalf of Danske Bank and the funds like Goldman Sachs and Lone Star.