Harmoney Earmarks new CEO for growth in Australia and NZ
15 August 2019
Australasia’s largest marketplace lender is meeting a rapid pace of growth by ushering financial services leader David Stevens into the business from 1 September 2019. Mr Stevens steps into the CEO role in early 2020, a transition which will free Harmoney’s founder and current CEO Neil Roberts to focus on strategy and product as the platform continues to innovate and lead across both markets.
Brad Hagstrom, who has served as joint CEO alongside Mr Roberts for several years will focus on supporting the growth of the platform in his new role of COO.
Harmoney has achieved more than $1.2 billion in loan volume via its platform ($100 million in the Australian market), and is leading a financial empowerment push focusing on Kiwis’ credit scores and better customer outcomes. The New Zealand-owned company has been the leading Australasian lending marketplace since being the first to be granted a license by the FMA, in 2014.
Mr Stevens enters the business in a high-growth phase; it recently moved into profitability and continues to innovate in and disrupt the traditional financial services industry in Australasia. A highly experienced CEO and CFO, he most recently led a start-up, MiFund, a leading provider of medical payment options for patients in Australia. He was also instrumental in securing a 35 percent equity stake in MiFund by the Bank of Queensland.
Before that, Mr Stevens served as CFO and then MD of FlexiGroup, a diversified financial services company focusing on commercial and consumer finance in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. In his near-decade with FlexiGroup, Mr Stevens directed numerous M&A transactions and led large teams in the strategic growth of what was a small company to an $1 billion ASX200-listed business. He managed the acquisition of Fisher & Paykel Finance and spent considerable time in New Zealand in the course of his work in the local side of the business.
Mr Stevens says he can use his experience to add value to the business, particularly on the Australian side. “The senior leadership has done a fantastic job driving Harmoney to this point, it is now a mature business and I can be useful as we take the business to the next level. The performance of Harmoney to date has been miles ahead of the Australian competition – what Neil and his team have developed is world-class.
“One impressive feature which sets Harmoney apart is the risk-based model of loan pricing, which works very effectively in providing affordable loans for multiple types of customers through an efficient, real-time platform which is also highly efficient in converting customers to the business by way of its straight through processing without the need to increase spend.”
Mr Roberts endorses this view of the business: “I worked with David at FlexiGroup and have always admired his ability to home-in on market opportunity. There are few people in Australasia who can match him for consumer finance and capital markets experience, which is invaluable as we move into the next phase of growth for Harmoney. David recognises that there is a tremendous opportunity to equal and surpass the New Zealand growth rate in Australia relative to the size of the market, and he is the right person to lead this given his intimate knowledge of both countries’ financial services sectors.”
Mr Stevens was also a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is a qualified chartered accountant with a degree in commerce from the University of Wollongong and a graduate diploma in applied finance from the Financial Services Institute of Australia.
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Harmoney is an online direct personal lender that operates across New Zealand and Australia providing customers with unsecured personal loans that are easy to access, competitively priced (using risk-adjusted interest rates) and accessed 100% online.
Harmoney’s purpose is to help people achieve their goals through financial products that are fair, friendly, and simple to use.
Harmoney’s proprietary digital lending platform, Stellare™, facilitates its personalised loan product with applications processed and loans typically funded within 24 hours of acceptance by the customer. Stellare™ applies a customer’s individual circumstance to its data-driven, machine learning credit scorecard to deliver automated credit decisioning and accurate risk-based pricing.
- Harmoney provides unsecured personal loans of up to $70,000 for three or five year periods to customers across New Zealand and Australia
- Its direct-to-consumer and automated loan approval system is underpinned by Harmoney’s scalable Stellare™ proprietary technology platform
- A significant percentage of Harmoney’s originations are “3R” (repeat) customers, with losses on repeat loans approximately 40% lower than first time loans
- Harmoney is comprised of a team of 69 full-time employees across Australia and New Zealand, over half of whom comprise engineering, data science and product professionals
- Harmoney is funded by a number of sources including two “Big-4” bank warehouse programs across Australia and New Zealand and a facility from M&G Investments