Back in 2005 through 2007, the REA Group had a business unit called realestate.com.au Home Loans which was a joint venture with Ray White's Financial Services arm. Now, according to rebonline.com.au, the REA Group has hired Andrew Russell, a mortgage industry veteran, to run the newly launched REA Financial Services.
Mr Russell’s new role will be to work on the opportunity that REA Group sees in mortgages, particularly around how the group can leverage realestate.com.au.
“A big part of looking at housing is finding out how much you can borrow,” Mr Russell said.
“There is a lot of work being done in the background and I'm looking at ways we can build capability to increase our presence in the mortgage leads space."
REA Group made a smaller push into home loans in June when itformed a partnership with Australia’s largest mortgage broking aggregation group, AFG.
“What is very exciting for me is leveraging off the work that has already been done and exploring opportunities to work out what will be the best for REA Group and best for our consumers. And then bringing it to market quickly,” he said.
Mr Russell said REA Group’s research suggests that visitors to realestate.com.au aren’t just interested in property but also want help regarding mortgages.
“It is a really exciting time as we explore our options and look closely at how people research and access finance now and how this might change in the future,” he said.
One of the most powerful aspects of REA Group’s venture into financial services is the potential to leverage its data insights, so long as they are used in a way that respects personal privacy and maintains consumer trust, according to Mr Russell.
“The house is the epicentre of the finance transaction and, as a national business, REA Group has a good understanding of what is going on in the market,” he said.
“Using that as an advantage will be useful in terms of being able to serve consumers with products that will meet their needs.”
Mr Russell said that REA Group is also investigating commercial lending opportunities and is meeting with potential partners.