New Zealand customers are becoming less reliant on support measures such as payment deferrals and interest-only payments according to Pepper Money New Zealand country head Aaron Milburn, who says Australian counterparts still have some way to go. However, he says certain industries are going to stay impacted for some time.
Commenting on its New Zealand customers, Milburn said the need for assistance has decreased significantly since March and the first lockdown. He said that for the Australian side of the business, it’s going to be a ‘longer burn’ – however, he believes that both countries will achieve a good recovery.
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“Australia is a different market in the sense that we still have states like Victoria, which is only just starting to come out of its COVID-19 lockdown,” Milburn said.
“We still have state border restrictions across many of our states, whereas in New Zealand, travel is free-flowing. My own team in Wellington was attending a conference recently, and business is really getting back to normal.”
“Aside from some of the industries like aviation, hospitality and tourism that remain affected, New Zealand is really starting to get back on its feet faster,” he explained. “But Australia will get there – it’s just going to be a longer burn.”
Milburn says Pepper Money has been growing its volume of business every week, and this success is mostly down to the support of its adviser channel.
“In New Zealand, the support we’ve had from advisers has been exceptional,” he said.
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“We continue to write new business week on week, and we’ve seen good growth in our volume.”
“During the COVID-19 period when New Zealand was at Alert Level 4, we naturally saw a reduction in line with the industry – but certainly since that time, we haven’t been busier,” he added.
“Every week we see an increase, and that’s down to the team that we have there as well as the tech platforms that we’ve put in. Those enhancements are really starting to assist advisers in helping more customers, which is great.”