Leading non-bank and a founding sponsor of Stone & Chalk Melbourne, Liberty, has acquired marketplace lender MoneyPlace, an anchor tenant of the fintech hub. The deal demonstrates the growing health of the local fintech community and highlights the capability of fintech start-ups to establish consumer trust and gain rapid market traction.
MoneyPlace connects investors with creditworthy borrowers seeking unsecured personal loans between $5,000 and $45,000 for three to five year terms. Since launching in September 2016 business levels have continued to accelerate.
James Boyle, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty, said he was delighted to welcome MoneyPlace to the Liberty Group. “We have a common purpose to help people get financial and have a shared approach to good customer outcomes, product innovation and risk management.
“Liberty’s acquisition of MoneyPlace reflects our respect for the management team’s capability and achievements to date. We want to support the company’s mission of revolutionising the consumer finance market.
“I am confident MoneyPlace’s proprietary approach is the foundation to realise that mission,” he said.
Mr Boyle said Liberty is an independent finance business with twenty years of residential, commercial and consumer lending experience that would help propel MoneyPlace in the next phase of its growth.
“A critical element of MoneyPlace’s success is financial innovation, which is where Liberty, the only investment rated non-ADI, can impart expertise to help accelerate rapid growth,” Mr Boyle said.
Marketplace lending enables investors to access unsecured consumer lending, an asset class dominated by the major banks. It is characterised by product innovation, fast online assessment practices, no physical branch structure, and lower interest rates for borrowers than traditional lenders.
Stuart Stoyan, Chief Executive Officer of MoneyPlace, said he was very excited about the opportunities presented by the acquisition.
“With Liberty’s support, MoneyPlace is well positioned to scale up and obtain a meaningful share of Australia’s $100 billion consumer lending market. MoneyPlace will stay an independent brand and continue to be managed by an entrepreneurial executive leadership team.
“We are dedicated to being experts in personal lending and the relationship with Liberty lets us focus on helping more consumers. We’re also grateful for the support we’ve had from investors and partners, who have helped shape the business and made our operation possible,” Mr Stoyan said.
From the beginning, MoneyPlace took the approach of standing in the consumer’s shoes in order to design the best possible user experience.
The company deploys technology to harness unique and relevant information based on 10,000 data points, including the consumer’s transactional information, device information and social media, when assessing each loan application.
The proprietary platform can give consumers an estimate of their applicable interest rate within two minutes, subject to more detailed analysis. Once approved, the funds are available within 24 hours.
Mr Stoyan said MoneyPlace’s approach could save the consumer money because it meant the interest rate applied was not a one-size fits all price, which is the primary approach of traditional lenders.
“We save our borrowers around $5,400 versus a loan from a major bank. Using our borrowers’ average loan size of about $20,000, this represents a significant saving,” Mr Stoyan said.
“We have a clear growth strategy moving forward. We will continue to invest in innovation and will work with Liberty to strengthen and expand our distribution partnerships. Over the past six months we have had some tremendous success launching our broker channel with four broker aggregators.
“Liberty has exceptional relationships with nearly all the major broking businesses nationally, which will make it much easier for consumers to access and learn about the product and determine if it is appropriate for their needs.
James Boyle said Liberty’s existing personal loan product would be replaced by the MoneyPlace product, with no impact or change to existing Liberty customers.
“The success of MoneyPlace is another great example of the disruptive impact of fintechs that create benefit for consumers. This deal continues Liberty’s success with fintech partnerships following our investment in leading SME lender Moula in 2015,” Mr Boyle said.