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Brighten welcomes new CEO

Publication Date: Monday, 22 January 2024
This article originally appeared in Mortgage Business

A new chief executive has been appointed at the non-bank, with the new leader set to spearhead an expansion into commercial lending.

Brighten Home Loans (Brighten) has welcomed Jason Azzopardi – the former chief financial officer of Resimac – to the new role of CEO.

The non-bank – part of the Real Asset Management Group (RAM) – had previously been led by Brighten managing director Scott Kelly, who is also the Australia CEO for RAM.

However, as Brighten has continued to grow as a non-bank lender, the group has created a designated CEO position to steer the ongoing growth and “ambitious” expansion of its full doc, alt doc, near prime, and construction loan products available to resident, expat, and non-resident borrowers.

Mr Azzopardi officially started in his new position as Brighten CEO on Wednesday (17 January), with Mr Kelly continuing in his role as Brighten MD and CEO for RAM.

Welcoming the new leader, Brighten highlighted the new CEO’s 30-year career in financial services, including his most recent CFO role at Resimac (where he oversaw finances as well as the company’s NZ and Manila operations, marketing, and investor relations) and his senior leadership roles at Macquarie Bank, Bankwest, and Uno Home Loans.

Mr Kelly commented: “We are delighted to welcome Jason, a highly respected and endorsed industry executive, to our team at Brighten.

“His track record and expertise will contribute to sustaining and accelerating our growth trajectory, driving success in key areas, and leading the business to new heights.”

Speaking of his new position, Mr Azzopardi stated: “I am excited to be joining Brighten at this time. Brighten’s diversified funding platform, including the wholesale credit fund, allows Brighten to provide residential and commercial lending solutions not readily available from most lenders in the market. This is supported by an engaged team of banking professionals focussed on servicing brokers and customers efficiently.”

Speaking to Mortgage Business, the new Brighten CEO said he was attracted to the lender for its “impressive” leadership team, the fact it has its own underwriting capabilities, and its commitments to invest in new technology (such as its recently implemented proprietary origination platform and a soon-to-be-launched new core banking platform).

He revealed that his key priorities as CEO would include accelerating the lender’s growth and rolling out new products and services. This includes breaking into commercial lending, which Brighten has already begun piloting.

He said: “I want us to have the most flexible residential and commercial products out there… We’ve already got products out there that no one else can match. For example, we’ve got a full doc and alt doc self-employed construction loan … to my knowledge, there isn’t another lender out there that offers that.

“And, as we have a flexible funding platform, that’s allowed us to get into commercial. One of our key strategic pillars is to grow that commercial offering. We see great opportunity there.

“We’ve just started a pilot with about 10 brokers on commercial loans – whether secured by commercial property or residential property – with a few loans already settled and we’ll slowly start increasing the number of brokers in the pilot to and getting more deals.”