Realestate.com.au recently announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in mortgage broking franchise business, Smartline and has also entered into a strategic mortgage broking partnership with NAB.
Smartline is one Australia’s premier mortgage broking franchise groups with over 300 advisers nationally, settling more than $6 billion in loans annually with a total loan book of approximately $25 billion.
Realestate.com.au will acquire an 80.3% stake in Smartline, with the remaining 19.7% shareholding to be retained by the existing management team. This team will continue to be led by Executive Director and co-founder Chris Acret and will operate under its current structure and brand.
The portal has also agreed to build a mortgage broking solution with NAB, which adds to the strategic partnership announced in December 2016 to create an Australian-first end-to-end digital property search and financing experience. To help achieve this, NAB will provide an opportunity for its Choice Home Loans brokers to join this new broking solution.
The strategic partnership with NAB enables REA to offer a realestate.com.au broking service at the launch of realestate.com.au Home Loans later this year. The acquisition of Smartline will give the REA Financial Services segment greater scale and capability for the long term.
This investment and partnership further strengthens realestate.com.au’s move into financing, an integral part of buying a property.
REA Group CEO Tracey Fellows commented: “Building a strong presence in the broker market channel is an important part of our financial services strategy. These investments allow us to enter a new market with two of the industry’s most trusted and successful mortgage broking operations.
“Providing a broker solution will complement the digital search and finance experience we are building in partnership with NAB on realestate.com.au. It’s about giving people greater choice when selecting the right home loan for them,” said Ms Fellows.