michelle, Author at Platform Finance

Platform Finance at the forefront to navigate 2021 with BID

Platform Finance is ready for the start of Best Interest Duty (BID) on January 1, 2021 (Phase 1) with the launch of its Platform Connect CRM – one of the first asset finance CRMs on the market that has BID requirements built into the workflow – and Platform Plus, a quoting and lodgement system designed specifically for mortgage brokers.

“We’re in a strong position to navigate the changing landscape and have been working closely with our aggregator and lender partners, not to mention our staff, ensuring we’re all well accustomed to the new system,” says Brad Crinion, Platform Finance’s CEO.

“Platform Finance has Australia’s largest broker Asset Finance lending panel, and we welcome BID to ensure we provide customers with the best products to suit their needs. We are also committed to providing extensive training and support to our broker network so they can fully understand the changes and how to best integrate them into their business.”

 

BID-Ready Platform Connect CRM

Platform Finance developed its Platform Connect CRM and application system for asset finance brokers in 2019, adding extra levels of compliance functionality to ensure it was conforming with the responsible lending obligations and NCCP laws.

“This has future-proofed us for the BID regulations,” explains Damian Mantini, Platform Finance’s Director Aggregation and Strategic Partnerships, who has worked intensively on the system’s development. “It’s efficient, effective and is designed to assist brokers meet their compliance obligations. We understand how brokers operate and already engage with customers by serving their best interests on a daily basis, and Platform Connect and Platform Plus support our audit process.”

 

Platform Plus Application System is also ready for BID

In October this year, Platform Finance undertook a soft launch of Platform Plus – a condensed version of the BID-compliant Platform Connect system, which is mainly used by mortgage brokers to submit asset finance applications. Since then, the team has been further finessing the system based on broker feedback and has been undertaking intensive training of its staff.

“We’ve had a number of lenders compliment our two systems and our readiness,” says Mantini. “We are in a good position for the two roll out tranches in 2021 – January 1 for mortgage brokers and potentially March 1 for asset finance brokers. Coupled with this year’s COVID challenges and the landscape changing so significantly, Platform Connect and Platform Plus are designed to address these changes. They help better position brokers for the future. And for mortgage brokers wanting to diversify into asset finance, Platform Connect ensures they are immediately BID compatible.”

 

Platform Connect features compliant for BID:

  • It features a simple, easy-to-navigate progress bar to guide brokers through the 5-step BID process
  • It has a real-time dashboard visually presenting key deal indicators and risks to the broker and licensee
  • It presents multiple loan options to the customer, and a single solution that covers both personal and consumer loans
  • It features the largest range of credit providers and detailed search criteria to pinpoint products that are in the applicants’ best interest
  • It presents products by the total cost of the loan rather than just by interest rate
  • It produces comprehensive compliance documents with eSignatures

 

For further information on BID-ready Platform Connect and Platform Plus:

https://broker.platform.com.au/platform-connect/

https://broker.platform.com.au/platform-plus/

Or contact our expert team for a free system demo today.

 

November 2020 – the first month of positive new car sales in over 2-years

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) have reported November sales figures for new vehicles in Australia – and for the first time in more than two and a half years, the figures were positive.
Sales for the month of November were recorded at 95,205, an increase of 10,497 sales or 12.4 per cent on November 2019 when 84,708 sales were recorded.

On a year-to-date basis, 821,316 sales were recorded, a 16.1 per cent decrease on the same period in 2019 when 978,628 new vehicles were reported as sold. The running tally obviously being affected by monthly sales declines of up to 48.5 per cent at the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, said the industry welcomed the first signs of recovery in the new vehicle market.

“This increase in consumer confidence is backed by government support programs during the pandemic (such as the extension of the Instant Asset Write-off scheme), the easing of lending restrictions, and the current competitive automotive market.”

Buying New Cars to Holiday at Home

With the borders opening up to interstate travel, people are looking to update their vehicles to “getaway cars” such as heavy-duty four-wheel-drives, utes and SUVs, all of which are in high demand.

“Given our inability to travel internationally, many Australians are choosing to purchase a new vehicle and holiday at home this year – and we fully expect to see a notable increase in family driving trips over the Christmas season,” said Mr Weber.

According to industry sources, about one-third of new cars reported as sold in November were orders placed in prior months, as dealers make up for lost sales earlier in the year.

Car dealers, too, are struggling to source and deliver the sheer volume of new cars, as COVID-19 interrupted production and shipping – and many dealerships scaled back staff numbers in the peak of the pandemic.

The sharp increase in new-car sales in November 2020 was driven largely by market leader Toyota, which posted its fourth-best monthly result of all time.

 

Top 10 Selling Cars in November 2020, compared to November 2019:

1. Toyota HiLux – 5038 (up from 4444)

2. Ford Ranger – 4260 (up from 4217)

3. Toyota RAV4 – 3800 (down from 4084)

4. Toyota Corolla – 2774 (up from 1943)

5. Toyota Prado – 2602 (up from 2207)

6. Mazda CX-5 – 2412 (up from 1912)

7. Isuzu D-Max – 2095 (up from 1932)

8. Hyundai i30 – 2047 (up from 1431)

9. Hyundai Tucson – 1995 (up from 1678)

10. Toyota LandCruiser wagon – 1981 (up from 1640)

 

October 2020 new car sales results show strong signs of recovery!

Australians are buying new cars at almost the same rate as this time last year – to pre-coronavirus levels – as the industry remains hopeful the worst is behind it and there is a clear road ahead.

 

Welcome news after a challenging year

Official sales figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show new-car sales in October 2020 were down by just 1.5 per cent compared with the same month the previous year, with 81,220 vehicles reported as sold versus 82,456 in October 2019.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, said the results were welcome news for the automotive industry.

“After a very challenging year, we are seeing ‘green shoots’ in the Australian new vehicle market. Every state and territory except Victoria and Tasmania have seen significant growth and, given the circumstances, Victoria’s result is seen as encouraging,” Mr Weber said.

“Nationally, the state of industry operations is returning to normal as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Additionally, Government initiatives such as a constructive budget that included the instant asset write-off, along with more accessible finance for consumers, is also acting as a welcome stimulus for the industry.

“Electrified vehicles also experienced a surge during the month, more than doubling in their total sales compared to October 2019. This shows that Australian consumers are willing to explore new drive train technologies,” Mr Weber said.

 

The Top Makes & Models

Four of the Top 10 manufacturers posted sales increases, as the industry grows optimistic about a market recovery.

After leading the first six months of this year, the Toyota HiLux ute returned to the top of the monthly sales charts after being beaten by the Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV and Ford Ranger ute for the past three months in a row.

SUVs and four-wheel-drives accounted for more than half of new vehicle sales for the month while passenger cars dropped to 21.9 per cent of the total market.

 

Top 10 Cars in October 2020, compared to October 2019:

Toyota HiLux: 4444, up 26.4 per cent

Ford Ranger: 4217, up 33.4 per cent

Toyota RAV4: 4084, up 91.6 per cent

Toyota Prado: 2207, up 45.9 per cent

Toyota Corolla: 1943, down 8.2 per cent

Isuzu D-Max: 1932, up 51.5 per cent

Mazda CX-5: 1912, up 11.9 per cent

Hyundai Tucson: 1678, down 0.9 per cent

Toyota LandCruiser Wagon: 1640, up 23.8 per cent

Kia Cerato: 1619, down 11.4 per cent

 

New Car Sales per State, October 2020 changes compared to October 2019:

VIC – down by 28.3 per cent

TAS – down by 16.1 per cent

NSW – up by 6.2 per cent

QLD – up by 11.7 per cent

SA – up by 14.5 per cent

WA – up by 17 per cent

NT – up by 27.7 per cent

ACT – up by 28.1 per cent

 

The Turbo-Charged Instant Asset Write-Off Scheme

The 2020-21 Federal Budget delivered great news for business owners’ and sole traders on 6 October 2020.

The Instant Asset Write-Off (IAWO) scheme has been turbo-charged to include new eligibilty criteria to assist and encourage SMEs and large businesses to invest in plant and equipment.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the initiative will unlock investment opportunities for businesses by freeing up their cash flow.

“A trucking company will be able to upgrade its fleet, a farmer will be able to purchase a new harvester and a good manufacturing business will be able to expand its production line,” Mr Frydenberg says.

 

Key New IAWO Features

  • The $150,000 claim limit has been removed for new assets
  • The end date has been extended to 30 June 2022
  • Increased eligibilty from up to $500 million in aggregated turnover to $5 billion

 

The recent changes to IAWO means that instead of depreciating an asset over a number of years, businesses can effectively include the FULL COST of eligible asset as an expense in the current financial year.

This can reduce the company tax bill, provided they have purchased the asset after 6 October 2020, and installed the asset, ready for use by 30 June 2022. Multiple eligible assets can still be claimed in the same year.

 

What about second-hand assets?

  • Full expensing also applies to second-hand assets for SMEs (with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million).
  • Businesses with aggregated annual turnover between $50 million and $500 million can still deduct the full cost of eligible second-hand assets costing less than $150,000 that are purchased by 31 December 2020 under the existing instant asset write-off scheme.
  • SMEs that acquire eligible new or second-hand assets under the $150,000 instant asset write-off by 31 December 2020 will also have an extra six months, until 30 June 2021, to first use or install those assets.

 

Temporary Full Expensing

The government is calling the new 15-month initiative “temporary full expensing”. Full expensing in the year of first use will apply to new depreciable assets and the cost of improvements to existing eligible assets.

 

Help your business clients to maximise this government business stimulus by speaking to the asset finance aggregation experts at Platform Finance. We will work with you to find the best lender and finance product for your clients.

Get in touch with us today on 1300 88 77 54 to discuss your scenarios, or contact us online.

 

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about the content. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek your own independent professional advice.

Equipment Finance Explained

Equipment finance is the funding of all types of equipment used predominantly for business use. By funding the equipment over terms up to 5 years, it allows businesses to finance capital purchases without effecting their working capital.

 

Why should Brokers offer Equipment Finance?

  • Deal size range from $5,000 to multimillion-dollar transactions
  • Can be used for all business structures
  • Applicable to all industries
  • Can be used for start-up businesses
  • Efficient approval and settlement
  • Funding for 100% of the purchase price, including GST
  • Terms up to 5 years (7 years in certain circumstances)
  • No additional property security or registered mortgage debentures required (in nearly all cases)
  • Fixed repayments for the term
  • Tailored monthly payments

 

Types of equipment that can be financed

  • Yellow Goods – Earthmoving, Construction, Mining and Machinery
  • Agricultural Equipment – Tractors, Headers, Sprayers, Air Seeders and Hay Balers
  • Medical Equipment – Diagnostic Instruments, Endoscope technology and Imaging Systems
  • Haulage Equipment – Prime Movers, Tray Trucks, Refrigerated Pantechs and Tipper Trailers
  • Marine – Yachts, Pleasure Craft, Commercial Fishing Boats, Charter Boats
  • Specialised Equipment – Gym Equipment, Solar Systems
  • Office Equipment – Computers, Software, Furniture, Printers and Phone Systems
  • Automotive – Cars, Utes, Trucks and Trailers

 

What products are available?

Equipment Lease

With an asset lease agreement, the customer can lease the equipment from the lender and pay a fixed amount each month for its use. At the conclusion of the contract, they can take ownership of the equipment by paying off the residual on the lease, refinance and extend the lease term, or sell the equipment. A major advantage to the asset lease method is that it does not appear on accounting books as an asset, potentially saving the business some extra cash in tax.

 

Chattel Mortgage

The lender will give your customer the entire amount for the equipment, allowing them to purchase it outright. However, they will have to pay the loan back in instalments, much like a mortgage on a house. The purchased piece of machinery is security on the loan. Once the loan has been paid off, they retain ownership of the equipment.

 

Equipment Rental

With an equipment rental, the lender purchases the equipment and rents it back to the customer. At the end of the agreement they may renew the lease agreement, purchase the equipment or hand the equipment back to the lender.

The advantage of renting the equipment is particularly useful when businesses are renting equipment that only has a short lifespan eg. laptops. In addition, all payments are tax deductible.

Always encourage your customers to consult their Financial Advisor or Accountant prior to making any decisions on the most suitable product.

 

Benefits of Equipment Finance

  • Improves cash flow as the business is making regular, fixed repayments rather than buying outright
  • Improves working capital
  • Avoids the need to invest capital/cash in equipment but still allows the business to operate effectively
  • Maximises business efficiency

 

There are several different ways to finance equipment purchases. At Platform Finance, our expert team can help untangle the web of different products, terms and structures to provide you with clear options that are suitable for your customer’s needs. Contact our helpful Broker Support Team today.

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 and asset finance 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 brokers with massive opportunities.

Platform Finance owns a virtual car-buying service, Fleet Avenue, and they have experienced 96 per cent growth in the past 12 months.

“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.”

 

Visit our Car Buying page for more information.

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/