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New CEO takes the reins at non-bank

Publication Date: Tuesday, 23 January 2024
This article originally appeared in The Adviser

A new chief executive has been appointed at the non-bank, with the new leader revealing that a broker portal will soon launch.

Brighten Home Loans (Brighten) has welcomed Jason Azzopardi – the former chief financial officer of Resimac – to the new role of CEO.

Mr Azzopardi – previously the chief financial officer at Resimac – officially started in his new position as Brighten CEO on Wednesday (17 January). He has nearly 30 years of industry experience, having worked at a range of financial institutions in Australia and London (including Macquarie Bank, Bankwest, and Uno Home Loans) in a range of senior positions.

Scott Kelly, who had previously led the lender as managing director, will continue to hold the position of Brighten MD alongside his obligations as CEO of the lender’s parent company, Real Asset Management Group (RAM).

Mr Kelly commented: “We are 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.”

Speaking of his new position, Mr Azzopardi stated: “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. This is supported by an engaged team of banking professionals focussed on servicing brokers and customers efficiently.”

He added that Brighten’s ability to leverage technology through its proprietary origination platform (utilising POLARIS and Simpology) was also key reasons for joining the non-bank.

“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,” he said.

Speaking to The Adviser, he revealed that the lender would also soon be launching a dedicated broker portal: “We’re going to go live in two to three months with that broker portal. It’s in a great space and it’s very user-friendly. It’s not something that a lot of non-banks have … but it’s so important to have. It just sets us up for scale.

“Rather than brokers having to ring us all the time, by giving them the ability to log into a portal (and not do all this stuff over email) is, I believe, going to give us a really good competitive advantage. It will see more brokers want to use us.”

According to the new CEO, the broker portal will be rolled out in stages, likely starting with higher-volume brokers before expanding out to the broader broker market.

“Brokers are the lifeblood of our industry. As we start to penetrate the wider broker market and see more brokers using us for the first time, the [broker portal] will really stand us apart from other lenders,” he said.

“I want us to be known as easy to deal with – right through from distribution to post-settlement. That’s the aim of the new origination platform and the portal.

“So, we believe we’ve got all the pillars ready for growth.”

The new Brighten CEO also revealed that his key priorities as CEO would include accelerating the lender’s growth and rolling out new products and services. This includes breaking into commercial lending, which Brighten has already begun piloting.