The perks and challenges of working for a non-bank

by Ksenia Stepanova29 May 2019

Non-bank lending has grown in popularity over the last several years, and advisers are growing more and more comfortable turning to specialist lenders as mainstream bank criteria remains tough.

Being able to provide a solution to a client who has been rejected by the main banks is hugely rewarding for those who work in this space – however, it also means more responsibility to ensure the client is making the best financial choice under their circumstances.

Ashleigh Houltham, underwriter at specialist lender Bluestone and NZ Adviser Young Gun 2019 started off by working as a finance company receptionist before climbing the ranks, and says the job’s rewarding nature is why she chose to remain in the industry.

“I took a gap year after leaving school and moved to Melbourne, and it was there that I landed a job as a receptionist,” Houltham told NZ Adviser. “After expressing interest I was able to move through to a settlements role there, and when I was ready to come home, a lender I’d worked closely with in Melbourne offered me a position in their New Zealand office.”

“I really enjoy having the ability to help people out, especially in the non-bank lending space as the main banks have often turned people away,” Houltham explained.

“I especially enjoy helping clients into their first homes, it can definitely be a feel-good moment to approve someone’s mortgage when they’ve been turned down everywhere else! But a big challenge is making sure I don’t get emotionally invested in the applications I work on. I have to make sure that I am making the right decision for the client as well as ensuring it meets criteria and responsible lending even if this means I can’t help the customer.”

Houltham says that hard work is undoubtedly the key to being successful in a non-bank, as well as keeping the client’s best interests front and centre – even if it ultimately doesn’t mean business for the company.

“Millennials often get dumped into a broad category of people who “aren’t willing to work,” but if you put the effort in and show your capability, then recognition and results will come through,” Houltham said. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and feed off senior colleagues.”

“The tightening credit restrictions within banks have meant great business for Bluestone, but ultimately we want what is best for the client,” she concluded. “We don’t want clients to be put off obtaining a mortgage by these restrictions.”

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