The announcement comes after the new business received final regulatory approval to operate in New Zealand.
While it will operate as a stand-alone New Zealand lender, Pepper will draw on the expertise and capability of both the Australian business and the international Pepper Group, with lending operations also in Ireland, the UK Spain and Asia.
Pepper will be headed by New Zealand-born Aaron Milburn, who has served for the past three years as the director of sales and distribution for Pepper Money in Australia after almost two decades working with Australian banks.
Milburn said Pepper would offer a fresh alternative to borrowers who were currently not well serviced in New Zealand.
“Today’s launch is the culmination of more than a year of close consultation with advisers and intermediaries, lending partners, regulators and borrowers,” Milburn said.
It’s clear there is a gap in the New Zealand market that Pepper Money’s flexible lending products can fill.
“Pepper succeeds because of our technology platform, our focus on customer value and service, and our genuine willingness to tailor mortgages to each borrower’s unique circumstances. We are the lender for real-life situations - we look for reasons to lend to, not decline borrowers. We’ll be doing the same here and we’re very confident Kiwis will embrace our proposition,” Mr Milburn said.
Pepper is based in Auckland, and currently offers prime, near-prime and specialist loans on a white-label basis through Ascenteon. As in other markets, Pepper will lend primarily through mortgage advisers in New Zealand.
Pepper has secured a warehouse funding facility with one of its existing banking partners.
Pepper Group Australian chief executive, Mario Rehayem, said: “Our expansion into New Zealand is a mark of confidence in Pepper’s business model and our ability to execute on strategic growth initiatives.
“The New Zealand arm of Pepper will embrace the local culture, whilst staying true to the DNA of Pepper’s renowned global credit proposition - putting the borrower first. That focus has underpinned our success in every market we have entered, and we look forward to having a significant impact on New Zealand’s mortgage lending market.”