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General Finance founders target funding gap with EMortgage

William Cairns, the co-founder of General Finance, has outlined plans to take a bigger slice of the non-bank lending market with Emortgage, another business founded with partner James Lockie.

Cairns said Emortgage, backed by his and Lockie’s Cardrona Capital vehicle, planned to become a “established private lender” to tap into rising demand for non-bank lending.

Emortgage has been part of Cairns and Lockie’s portfolio of business interests for several years, but the duo is set to ramp up the lender following the sale of main business interest General Finance in December.

Cairns and Lockie sold General Finance shortly after Christmas to financier Brent King and a consortium of investors including Malaysia-based Rewi Bugo, investment banker Marvin Lee, and Grant Baker, of the Business Bakery.

Emortgage is currently fully-lent but plans to secure more funding before going back out into the market, Cairns said. The company focuses on short term loans, and will not look for external funding, he added.

Cairns told TMM Online he saw significant gap in the market as banks retained a conservative lending profile. “I see an opportunity for non-bank lender and a continuing market for those wanting short-term finance. A home-grown lender is just easier to deal with."

Emortgage operates in the same space as General Finance, offering residential loans to property investors almost exclusively through advisers. Prior to the sale of General Finance, the company had a business relationship with Emortgage, occasionally passing on customers.

Cairns said he would follow the blueprint set at his former business: “At General Finance we thought we had good lending criteria, and we were one of the dozen out of about 70 to survive the financial crisis. We are going to continue around the same strategy,” Cairns added.