Brighten to land at home

Adam Moore, director and head of funding and securitisation at Brighten in Sydney, discuses the lender’s debut capital-market deal, the funding model for its nonresident programme and expanding its presence in the Australian prime lending space.

Brighten issued its first securitisation deal in April this year – a nonresident residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) transaction, Solaris 2021-1. What is the significance of this deal for Brighten as a business?

The Solaris 2021-1 deal was significant because it validates the strength of our business and funding strategy as well as the overall infrastructure we have put in place. Since we launched, in 2017, we have gone from effectively funding the loans ourselves to forming senior warehouse relationships and now having completed our first public RMBS deal.

As part of the process, we sought validation from investors, rating agencies, and our arrangers and joint lead managers. Having completed our inaugural deal, we are now well placed to continue our funding strategy and set up the business for further growth.

We remain committed to the non-resident sector and, during the execution process for the Solaris 2021-1 transaction, we made it very clear to investors that we want to continue to write nonresident loans and be a regular issuer in the public securitisation market. To this end, we hope to become an annual issuer.

Our first public RMBS deal was significantly oversubscribed. We had assets available to upsize further but chose to keep these in the warehouse to make sure we will have an attractive book from a seasoning and size perspective when we come back to market next year.

After starting in the nonresident market, Brighten has launched a domestic-resident mortgage product. What is the strategy here?

We are taking a similar approach with our prime resident portfolio as we did in the nonresident space. We did a soft launch of our domestic product in January, building a diversified pilot portfolio we funded ourselves while we developed further warehouse relationships.

Through a focused distribution strategy, we have managed to grow our resident home-loan book quite consistently over the last six months and have extended our offering to the wider market. We expect growth will ramp up significantly in the coming months as we expand our distribution platform.

What timing does Brighten have in mind for bringing the resident mortgage product to the public securitisation market?

As part of the roadshow and investor engagement we did for the Solaris 2021-1 deal, our message to investors was that our strategy is to expand into the domestic resident space and that this will be the more significant part of our mortgage portfolio moving forward.

This was well received because it was clear that we will be setting up a separate programme for domestic residents but that we will also continue to support the nonresident space with regular issuance. Initial engagement has been positive, and I think investors are keen to see what the resident book looks like as it grows.

We are conscious that we need to build up some track record in the resident part of the market first. We do not want to rush to market, but at the same time we want to be there as soon as it is feasible.

The Australian mortgage market is hypercompetitive as the banks are offering very low-cost loans, especially in fixed-rate product. How will Brighten compete and what does it believe its unique selling point to be?

The mortgage market in Australia is very competitive but at the same time the nonbank space is growing. This opens up opportunities for new entrants that already have a foot in the market, such as Brighten.

We have built Brighten with a vision to be a significant player in the nonbank lending space and, with this goal in mind, developed a strong platform with a lot of experience and capability in the resident area already – operationally and in the credit and underwriting team.

Our distribution strategy is focused on building key partnerships and targeting specific market segments. We have established an expansive broker and aggregator network with access to more than 11,000 brokers Australia-wide.

We have a full product offering that includes loans for prime borrowers, the self-employed, those who need alternative-documentation loans, temporary residents and expats, as well as construction loans. Our aim is to have a complete offering so when a broker looks at us it is likely we will have a product for any type of borrower.

The strength and diversity of our funding is one of the key points of difference for Brighten. We have well-established warehouse-funding arrangements, a public RMBS programme and a wholesale credit fund to provide further funding diversification. This is a huge advantage for our broker partners and customers, as our reliable and stable funding platform provides us flexibility in the types of loans we write.