Origin ends Pioneer relationship

Origin, the mortgage wholesaling business of ANZ has ended its relationship in New Zealand with Pioneer Mortgage Services.

Sunday, March 30th 2008, 11:34AM

by Maria Scott

Pioneer, which includes the Pacific Home Loans and Asset Lend brands, is one of the more popular non-bank lenders in the New Zealand market. The company announced that agreement had been reached for termination of Pioneer's management rights, including those of the Pacific Home Loans and Asset Lend brands.

A spokesperson for ANZ confirmed that the bank had ended its contractual arrangement with Pioneer after a recent review of business.

"The relationship with Pioneer has been very productive. However, a recent review of business approach sees Origin now taking over the management of the customer relationships, as well as managing the lending.

The securities for all Origin lending will continue to sit on the ANZ National Bank balance sheet as has been the case under the Pioneer agreement."

Pioneer said it was Origin's principal mortgage manager lending intermediary but ANZ said that Origin was not pulling out of the New Zealand market.

The announcements come at a time of turmoil for banks and non-bank lenders as they grapple with high funding costs and a slowdown in the housing market. Earlier this week Pioneer raised some of its mortgage rates following price increases by one of its other funders, AMS, part of the GE Money group. There have since been rate increases from other non-bank lenders.

The end of the relationship between Pioneer and Origin also looks set to be further blow to mortgage brokers, already battered by falling upfront commissions and reduced levels of business. Pioneer said that the end of the agreement with Origin would result in the end of trail payments from Pacific Home Loans to brokers.

However, Pioneer said that it remained strongly committed to continuing its origination and management operations in New Zealand and looked to extend its ten-year business development relationships with a large number of New Zealand brokers.

Pioneer said it had been responsible for setting more than $3.6 billion of broker-introduced residential loans since it was established in New Zealand in late 1997. A large number of loans originated from other funders remained under Pioneer's management.

The company said that it had this month launched its own funding programme in Australia with investment by one of Europe's largest banks and was well advanced in introducing a similar programme in New Zealand. Pioneer had been accredited to further funding facilities under which competitive new products were being launched.

ANZ said that customers who had Origin loans from Pioneer would see very little change, except that any communications relating to their lending would now come from Origin, not Pioneer.

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