October 18, 2022
Mortgage Choice and REA Group today announced plans to form a strategic partnership with Athena Home Loans that will bring together Athena’s industry-shifting home loan products with the scale and distribution network of the Mortgage Choice brand.
“Customers are increasingly demanding real choice, and we’re delighted to offer Australian borrowers a product that rewards their loyalty, and gives them confidence that they will never miss out,” said Anthony Waldron, CEO of Mortgage Choice and Financial Services at REA Group.
“No matter how long they hold the loan, they will always receive the same low interest rate as a new customer on the same loan product, and their rate will reduce over the life of the loan as the size of their mortgage reduces.”
The Mortgage Choice Freedom and Mortgage Choice Flex white label products will offer a competitive rate structure that ensures existing customers will always receive the same rates as new customers on like-for-like loans. The dynamic pricing structure behind these products rewards customers for paying down their home loan, automatically lowering the interest rate as the size of the mortgage reduces relative to the initial purchase price of their property.
The scale of Mortgage Choice’s network and the reach of REA Group, with realestate.com.au’s unrivalled audience of more than 12 million visitors each month,[i] will enable Australian borrowers to easily access these unique products.
“For some time now, Mortgage Choice has admired Athena’s ethos that ‘it’s not about having a home loan, it’s about getting rid of your home loan’,” said Mr Waldron.
“We are focused on delivering a better experience and greater value for our customers and this means constantly driving innovation in the lending marketplace.
“As an Australian household name, and with more than 1,000 brokers across Australia, Mortgage Choice is uniquely positioned to provide Australian borrowers with access to Athena’s alternative to traditional mortgage structures – no-nonsense products that acknowledge customer loyalty and reward people for paying down their mortgage.”
Recent research conducted by Athena and CoreData into lender behaviour revealed fair value is a hot topic for borrowers. The research showed that while 82% of Australian home loan customers say they’re loyal to their lender, 86% feel they are being penalised for their loyalty when a lender gives a better rate to new customers – and 98% feel they should be rewarded for their loyalty.[ii]
Nathan Walsh, CEO and Co-Founder of Athena Home Loans said, “According to the latest RBA data, customers loyal to their lender are paying an average of 48 basis points more on their mortgage than new customers.[iii] This ‘loyalty tax’ is costing Aussie borrowers billions. So we are thrilled to be partnering with REA Group and Mortgage Choice to offer Athena’s game-changing products to help even more Australians pay off their mortgages faster.”
Mortgage Choice Freedom and Mortgage Choice Flex are expected to hit the market in mid-2023 and will be available through the Mortgage Choice broking network, complementing the 35 lenders already available on its panel. Customers will be able to manage their mortgage through a simple mobile app.
The product will be integrated with the Simpology platform (part-owned by REA Group), a digital loan origination platform that powers end-to-end smart loan application journeys. This will provide customers with a streamlined application process through their Mortgage Choice broker.
Athena was founded in June 2017 by Nathan Walsh and Michael Starkey with a mission to help Australians pay down their home loan faster – to give them a great home loan, and help them get rid of it. Athena built an innovative digital home loan platform to deliver savings to borrowers, backed by local home loan experts, seven days a week. Athena is proud to have been certified as a B-Corp, recognizing the importance of changing Australia’s $2 trillion home loan industry for good. Since launch in early 2019, Athena has settled billions in home loans, making it one of Australia’s fastest growing fintechs. Athena Mortgage Pty Ltd | ABN 24 619 536 506 | Australian Credit Licence 502611
Athena has been recognised by multiple innovation awards, including Australia’s Most Innovative Company 2021 and Australia’s Fintech of the Year 2021.
About Mortgage Choice:
Established in 1992, Mortgage Choice helps Australians improve their financial situation by offering a choice of home loan providers from a panel of 30 lenders, coupled with expert advice from a mortgage professional. Today, Mortgage Choice also helps customers source car loans, personal loans, credit cards, commercial loans, asset finance, deposit bonds and general insurance. In 2021, Mortgage Choice was acquired by global digital property business REA Group.
Mortgage Choice Pty Ltd (ABN 57 009 161 979, Australian Credit Licence 382869) and Smartline Operations Pty Ltd (ABN 86 086 467 727, Australian Credit Licence 385325) are owned by REA Group Ltd.
About REA Group Ltd:
(www.rea-group.com): (www.rea-group.com): REA Group Ltd ACN 068 349 066 (ASX:REA) (“REA Group”) is a multinational digital advertising business specialising in property. REA Group operates Australia’s leading residential and commercial property websites – realestate.com.au and realcommercial.com.au – as well as the leading website dedicated to share property, Flatmates.com.au and property research website, property.com.au. REA Group owns Smartline Home Loans Pty Ltd and Mortgage Choice Pty Ltd, Australian mortgage broking franchise groups, and PropTrack Pty Ltd, a leading provider of property data services. In Australia, REA Group holds strategic investments in Simpology Pty Ltd, a leading provider of mortgage application and e-lodgement solutions for the broking and lending industries; Realtair Pty Ltd, a digital platform providing end-to-end technology solutions for the real estate transaction process, Campaign Agent Pty Ltd, Australia’s leading provider of Buy Now Pay Later solutions for the Australian real estate market and Managed Platforms Pty Ltd, an emerging Property Management software platform. Internationally, REA Group holds a controlling interest in REA India Pte. Ltd. operator of established brands Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com. REA Group also holds a significant minority shareholding in Move, Inc., operator of realtor.com in the US, and the PropertyGuru Group, operator of leading property sites in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
[i] Nielsen Digital Media Ratings (Monthly Tagged), Jul 21 – Jun 22 (average), P2+, Digital (C/M), text, realestate.com.au, Unique Audience.
[ii] Core data, Loyalty tax survey, Oct 2022
[iii] RBA August 2022, Variable rates, Owner Occupied, all institutions, outstanding vs new loans