Commercial Finance for businesses

Offering finance products for businesses

97% of the Australian market is made up of small and medium businesses, many of these companies have growth aspirations. Platform Finance have commercial specialists that work closely with brokers when they have clients that require working capital.

Working with the Commercial Finance Hub at Platform Finance will help you connect your client to the most suitable finance product to grow their business.

 

We offer a range of finance products including:

  • Business Loans
  • Line of Credit
  • Debtor Finance
  • Trade Finance
  • Expansion and Acquisition Finance
  • Sale and Leaseback against vehicles and equipment

 

By working with industry experts that have access to a large panel of lenders, you can find new ways to add value and support your clients.

 

We offer our business partners:

  • Leverage on our key lender relationships
  • A Tick and Flick referral system
  • Quick turnaround times
  • Access to marketing material
  • Generous commission structure

 

We keep it simple, we offer transparency and communicate throughout the whole process, working in true partnership.

We love working with brokers! Talk to us today about how we can help or call our Commercial Finance Hub on 1300 554 558.

New Lenders on the Platform Finance Panel

We are very excited to announce that seven new lenders are joining Platform Finance’s already diverse panel, as part of our strategy to provide our broker network with a larger range of new finance solutions for your clients.

Partnering with such a great range of lenders and diversifying our product and service offering ensures you can cater to a wide variety of client needs and enables you to achieve your goals.

Asset finance obviously isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Businesses have different requirements depending on their industry and customers, and we understand these needs can change as businesses grow or change structure. It’s vital that we partner with lenders who offer a wide range of products and services to suit these ever-changing needs. This enables us to support you in providing many lending options and the highest level of customer service, and thus help you achieve better outcomes.

Whether it’s a consumer, SME or larger organisation needing car finance, equipment finance, fit-out finance, trade finance, lines of credit or flexible business loan offerings, we have specialist lenders on our panel that can provide a solution. For brokers, having this expanded offering enables you to further strengthen your relationship with your clients and to reach new clients.

We understand brokers are now playing a greater role in assisting businesses – small to large – in securing asset finance and working capital. And with asset finance also impacted by tighter lending standards, having a wider range of options is crucial. That’s why we welcome our new lenders to our panel:

  • Branded Financial Services (BFS): offers a range of tailored finance solutions for commercial customers and consumers purchasing motor vehicles
  • OnDeck: a small business loan specialist
  • Society One: offers personal loans for both business and private use
  • ScotPac: offers a range of finance solutions to SMEs
  • Bigstone: offers commercial asset finance loans
  • VWFS: offers a variety of fleet, finance and novated leasing products
  • Judo Capital: a new bank aimed at supporting Australian businesses with various products

Diversification isn’t just important for our broker network, it’s also integral for our lenders, as highlighted by Tony Farnell, Business Development Manager with BFS.

“BFS has a vision to grow and diversify its portfolio which has to date been exclusively servicing the franchise motor dealer market,” he told Platform Finance. “Whilst looking for a new partner and business channel to grow with, it was quickly evident Platform Finance was a good fit for our business model.

“We were very impressed by our discussions with the Platform executive team and their willingness to grow a new partnership at a sustainable rate geared for the long term, which worked for us. The partnership with Platform Finance gives our business access to a diverse market and reputable network, as well as the comfort of their commitment to and focus on regulatory compliance.  BFS looks forward to working with Platform Finance and its partners in forming long term mutually beneficial relationships.”

Building mutually beneficial relationships for the long term is at the core of what we do, and we are looking forward to working with our new lenders to achieve this.

Accelerating online car sales put mortgage brokers in the driver’s seat

The car-buying habits of Australians are rapidly changing gear, with more now buying their cars online. And it’s providing mortgage brokers with massive opportunities.

Platform Finance co-owns a virtual car-buying service, Fleet Avenue, and they have experienced 96 per cent growth in the past 12 months and forecasting to grow at the same rate again in 2020.

“Over the past three years, we’ve noticed a spike in people doing their entire car-buying research online – from reviewing specifications, pricing and delivery – and then ordering their cars online,” says Damian Mantini Platform Finance’s Director Aggregation and Strategic Partnerships. “Buying a car is a big decision and many people prefer to do it from the comfort of their own home. Convenience is king and Fleet Avenue’s statistics show that around 40 per cent of car buyers don’t even drive the car before they buy it.”

Brokers are now playing a greater role in the purchasing process, says Mantini. According to a KPMG Motor Industry Services white paper, more cars are financed by a broker/aggregator than a car dealership.

“The KPMG report also shows that 93 per cent of buyers need to borrow money to buy cars,” he says. “Dealerships are struggling to get loans approved through their prime lender because of tighter credit policies, and they are being encouraged to seek alternatives such as brokers and aggregators.”

Mantini adds, because of this and consumers’ changing habits, mortgage brokers now have new opportunities to diversify and grow their businesses. “We have noticed a rise in the number of people using brokers to source their cars and arrange finance,” he says. “And that’s why we established Fleet Avenue. It’s like a virtual dealership – a ‘one-stop shop’ that makes it easy for brokers to provide value-added services for their clients to further build relationships.

Fleet Avenue makes it easy for brokers to chat with their clients about the new car and allow the broker to seamlessly arrange finance. It lets brokers market finance in a very different way.”

The Fleet Avenue service provides brokers with a range of benefits to help build stronger client relationships including:

  • Providing buyers with more flexible finance terms (than those offered by the dealers)
  • Tools to manage the sales process
  • Discounted fleet prices
  • Competitive trade-in prices
  • Concierge buying service with updates throughout the buying process

Fleet Avenue is a car-buying service that uses a unique tendering system across 1,300 fleet dealers around Australia. “We research, tender, locate and receive discounted pricing from various dealers for the new vehicle,” explains Mantini. “Our experienced consultants then negotiate with the selected dealer and offer a concierge service for the client.”

 

More information at www.fleetavenue.com.au/brokers

Competing with dealerships during EOFY

Buying a car is a big investment and car dealers often make the promise of “low interest” car finance to get customers in the door. But there’s always a catch…or two! Here are a few things to look out for when it comes to dealership finance offers and why it’s usually best to steer your customers clear of them. We don’t want to see them get taken for a ride by a dealership.

  • There are many factors that contribute to dealership finance rates and each finance deal will be different
  • There may be hidden fees and charges attached to the loan (always make sure you always read the small print in the contract)
  • A 0% loan or low interest loan is usually limited to certain makes and models of cars eg. last year’s model or excess stock
  • There may be a strict, shorter loan term – say three years, which will make your monthly repayments higher than if the term was five years
  • Negotiation on the purchase price may be limited
  • Sometimes the offer is only available to ABN holders
  • You may not be able to structure the loan to suit your needs

Kia Sportage 1.7% Finance Offer:

To demonstrate how the low interest offers sometimes work, we found this 1.7% p.a. ABN holder offer for a new Kia Sportage AO Edition Petrol Automatic. Sounds good, but in reality the monthly repayments are higher than they need to be. You will also notice a large deposit is required to enable the customer to qualify for this deal. The small print on their website states these conditions:

  • Purchase price $30,990
  • Maximum finance term of 3 years
  • Minimum deposit of 20% is required = $6,198
  • Nil balloon payment
  • ABN holders only
  • This equates to a monthly repayment of $705.86 per month

 

Platform Asset Finance Offer:

  • We can offer up to a 5 year term (which most people take)
  • We can offer a balloon of your choice
  • No deposit required
  • Rate available to ABN holders AND consumers
  • Purchase price $30,990
  • Commission to the broker $770 (inc GST)
  • $30,990 over 5 years with a 20% balloon ($6,198)
  • This equates to a monthly repayment of $496.25, or $588.96 with 0% balloon

That’s a difference of $209.61 per month when compared with Kia’s 1.7% finance offer. With our finance product, there is no need to come up with a cash contribution upfront. We can match the balloon to the value of the car at the end of the loan term OR the customer can pay the loan to NIL and retain the vehicle with outright ownership at the end of the loan term. The broker has the flexibility to structure the deal to best suit the customers’ needs.

Contact our Asset Finance Team on 1300 730 856 about how your brokerage can best compete against dealerships offers.

Energy Finance – Ride the Wave

Enormous opportunities for brokers to diversify and expand their offering

Australian businesses, small to large, are increasingly riding the “energy wave” in a bid to reduce their costs. And with lenders beginning to recognise the massive potential of this sector, mortgage brokers can also be the big winners, says leading asset finance provider, Platform Finance.

“Energy is the fastest growing sector in the finance space and there are enormous opportunities for brokers that want to expand their footprint,” explains Damian Mantini, Platform Finance’s Director Aggregation and Strategic Partnerships.

“We’re still in the early stages of the growth curve. For example, at present there’s only a 4-5 per cent penetration for commercial solar but we anticipate that in the next five years we’ll see that increase to 10-15 per cent, particularly with more and more businesses adopting a green vision for the future and seeking to become more independent of market power prices.”

Lenders are now also starting to realise the potential of the energy sector, although a number of the major banks will not lend for solar solutions.

“That’s where Platform Finance comes in,” says Mantini. “We currently have seven lenders on our panel who do offer energy finance, and we’re in discussion with considerably more. And being agile, we can provide lending solutions – from prime to lo-doc to specialty – to suit a wide range of requirements and borrower profiles.

“We’ve established solid alliances with these lenders to offer competitive finance solutions to up to 98 per cent of borrowers.”

Relationships are also what will help mortgage brokers diversify into the energy sector, Mantini says. “Mortgage brokers already have a rapport with their customers, so this is an easy next step. It’s all about incremental revenue. They can leverage their existing relationship and add value in a different way.”

There are four main sectors that businesses are looking to finance in the energy space:

  • Solar (photovoltaic) panels
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Batteries
  • Newer, more efficient HVAC systems

 

The commercial solar wave

“We’ve already seen the domestic solar wave gather speed and now it’s the turn of businesses.  Australia is a sun-drenched country, so it makes sense that business owners take advantage of this natural resource and the various government rebates that are available,” explains Christopher Murray, Platform Finance’s Head of Vendor and Energy Finance.

“Germany, which is among the countries with the least sunshine hours in the world, is a great example of what can be achieved, now receiving a record-breaking 85% of electricity from renewables**. Solar power there has now become the cheapest mode of power generation*. It provides great return on investment, which is another huge incentive – for business owners, vendors and brokers.”

Platform Finance set up its specialist energy division to address the growing need for energy-related finance and is working closely with mortgage brokers to help them upskill in this sector. It’s providing education and training, webinars and collateral such as eDMs.

“We have tailored our energy division and taken a number of components from our wider lending model to apply to this burgeoning space,” adds Murray.

 

*The Fraunhofer ISE research institute 

**https://cleantechnica.com/2017/05/08/germany-breaks-solar-record-gets-85-electricity-renewables/

The wheels keep turning despite 2018 car sales slow down

The wheels keep turning despite 2018 car sales slow down

It’s no secret that key economic drivers put the brakes on Australian new car sales in 2018.

Factors such as the tightening of bank lending controls, a slowing property market, and extensive drought conditions all contributed to a three per cent drop-off in new vehicle sales. Significantly, it marked the first decline in new cars sales across the country for four years.

But despite the less than ideal performance, the news wasn’t all bad. Indeed, the heavy commercial segment actually recorded a record year, with the sector reporting sales of 41,426 units – up 12.4 per cent on the 2017 tally. Leading the charge was the Toyota Hilux, which ended 2018 as Australia’s most popular car for the third consecutive year. Once again, it edged out the Ford Ranger for the top spot.

 

SUV success story

There were also other interesting highlights from 2018. Key among these was that fact that SUVs accounted for 43 per cent of all sales. In contrast, passenger vehicles dropped five points, accounting for just 32.8 per cent of the market share. This marks the first time that passenger vehicles have made up less than one-third of the market. At the same time, light commercial vehicles managed to chalk up just 20.6 per cent market share, despite the fact that two of the category’s major players — the Toyota HiLux and the Ford Ranger — were the top-two selling vehicles in the market.

 

All hail the champion

Of course, there are still those that can claim to be big winners. For the 16th year in a row, Toyota took the crown as undisputed market leader with a final sales haul of 217,061 units. Impressively, the company successfully negotiated the market decline and even achieved a small degree of growth in its first year as a full-line importer of all its vehicles. Moreover, 2018 marked the 22nd time that the Japanese giant has grasped the coveted mantle of market leadership. Even more impressive was the fact it led the market in eight segments.

Toyota’s sales figures were almost double those of Mazda – the market’s number two performer. The company managed 111,280 units, recording a decline just above the market average. Third spot in the rankings, meantime, went to Hyundai, which chalked up 94,187 units – down 2.9 per cent.

 

Emerging from the pack

Other brands also emerged as standouts in 2018. Kia grew 7.5 per cent to record 57,699 sales, edging out Volkswagen (56,620 – down 2.4 per cent) in the process. Honda, meantime, ended the year 10.1 per cent up with 51,525 sales. Other brands that grew their sales volumes included Alfa Romeo, Isuzu Ute, Jaguar, MG, Skoda, and Volvo Car, which improved its results by 43 per cent.

Importantly, customer access to these market-leading cars needn’t be a challenge, with Platform Finance providing brokers with the opportunity to finance the market’s most popular vehicles. Tightening lending standards also doesn’t have to mean that a great new car is out of the question. Platform Finance has over 30 lenders to choose from, ensuring many solutions to suit a wide range of budgets and individual situations.

 

A tough crowd

Of course, there’s no denying that the car sales industry and certain major manufacturers faced significant challenges in 2018. Overall, the year ended with 1,153,111 vehicle sales. This is in contrast to the all-time record figure of 1,189,116 achieved the previous year. Every state and territory (except Tasmania) saw declines. New South Wales accounted for the biggest reduction in sales volumes — its recorded 6.6 per cent drop equating to 26,306 vehicles.

It was also impossible to miss one unmitigated disaster story, with once powerful Australian industry heavyweights Ford and Holden recording their lowest sales figures since the 1960s. Of the two, Holden fared by far the worst, dropping a staggering 32.7 per cent to end the year with just 60,751 unit sales. Ford, meantime, recorded sales of 69,081 units for an 11.6 per cent drop.