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Brighten announces new CEO

Publication Date: Monday, 22 January 2024
This article originally appeared in Australian Broker

In a pivotal move to meet Australia’s rising demand for alternative lending solutions, non-bank lender Brighten Home Loans has appointed mortgage industry veteran Jason Azzopardi as its new chief executive officer (CEO).

Azzopardi brings nearly 30 years of industry experience, having worked for financial institutions in Australia and London.

Previously, he served as the CFO at ASX-listed non-bank Resimac, overseeing several functions, including the company’s New Zealand and Manila operations, marketing, and investor relations.

His experience also includes senior leadership roles at Macquarie Bank, Bankwest, and Uno Home Loans, where he implemented strategic initiatives across various domains such as finance, distribution, operations, business intelligence, brand, and customer experience.

New CEO’s plan for Brighten

Under Azzopardi’s leadership, Brighten said it aims to strategically accelerate its growth and further solidify its position in the non-bank lending sector.

The company has continued to expand its presence in the industry, as evidenced by its recent $600 million public RMBS transaction in October 2023 — the fourth and largest to date.

Additionally, Brighten has expanded its distribution by forming key partnerships with leading national aggregators, including AFG Home Loans, LMG, Finsure, and Outsource Financial.

Scott Kelly, Brighten’s managing director and Australia CEO of its parent company RAM, said the lender was “delighted to welcome Jason, a highly respected and endorsed industry executive, to our team at Brighten”.

“His track record and expertise will contribute to sustaining and accelerating our growth trajectory, driving success in key areas, and leading the business to new heights,” Kelly said.

What will Brighten bring to brokers in 2024?

Another thing that sets Brighten apart in the increasingly competitive non-bank space, is its commitment to brokers. 

With a variety of new initiatives on the horizon, Azzopardi said the dynamic and evolving market landscape is a prime opportunity for Brighten.

“I am excited to be joining Brighten at this time. Brighten’s diversified funding platform, including the wholesale credit fund, allows Brighten to provide residential and commercial lending solutions not readily available from most lenders in the market,” Azzopardi said.

Azzopardi said the non-bank lender has also heavily invested in technology to make the business more “efficient and scalable” citing its origination platform as one of the “key reasons” for joining the team.

“Our experienced in-house tech team constantly look for system upgrades and improvements to deliver better experiences for brokers and customers,” he said.

“Our proprietary origination platform is designed to enhance market responsiveness and increase business efficiencies, meaning we can write more loans in much less time. For brokers, this means faster turnaround times and happier clients.”

Brighten also confirmed it is finalising its broker portal, which will be rolled out this year.

“This will facilitate better communication with brokers and give them easy access to tools to increase the efficiency of their practices,” Azzopardi said.

“Brighten’s growth will be driven in part by our outstanding, recently implemented proprietary origination platform and our new core banking platform soon to be launched. These platforms will continue to drive market-leading customer and broker experiences as we build the Brighten brand in the Australian home loan market.”

A new inclusive chapter

While Brighten remains dedicated to its mission of serving under-served segments of the lending market, it’s also is equally committed to its diversity and inclusion initiatives.

With a culture that promotes both gender equity and cultural and lingual diversity, Brighten has ensured its values remain even while scaling up. This led to the no bank being named an Inclusive Employer by Diversity Council Australia.

Azzopardi said he was excited to be joining a company with a diversity and inclusion track record like Brighten’s.

“Not only is this kind of corporate culture the right thing morally, but research has shown that diverse and inclusive firms perform better commercially.”