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Harcourts Announces Full Ownership of Mortgage Co

6 September 2006

Harcourts Announces Full Ownership of Mortgage Company

Harcourts International Limited announced today that it is now the full owner of the mortgage broking company it was instrumental in setting up eight years ago, Mortgage Express Limited.

Launched in 1997 with AXA as a joint venture partner, Mortgage Express was most recently owned as a joint venture between Harcourts and Perpetual Trust, before becoming a wholly owned Harcourts subsidiary on Friday last week.

While Harcourts has long focused on meeting the public demand for a "one-stop-shop" service when purchasing property, launching Mortgage Express was considered to be a radical move with no other real estate organisation in the country owning such a subsidiary at the time.

Currently averaging around $60 million a month in settled loans, Mortgage Express is now the largest non-franchise mortgage broker in New Zealand with all 35 of its brokers qualified NZMBA members through an in-house training programme.

Harcourts International Executive Director, Paul Wright said, “This is a great opportunity for Harcourts to further develop Mortgage Express. Our market place continues to change and offer opportunities for growth, with Mortgage Express an important part of our group of ‘value added services’.”

Chief Executive Officer of Mortgage Express, Andrew L'Almont, said while it would be ‘business as usual’ for its clients, the focus was on growing both the number of brokers and the locations they were based in throughout the country. “Over 60 percent of our business is repeat and referral providing our clients with the security of working with a recognised qualified broker. While around half of our clients come from outside of Harcourts, we have maintained a strong synergy with Harcourts since day one.”

Mortgage Express brokers work with a panel of 12 lenders with Mr L’Almont adding that around 30 percent of most banks’ business now came through brokers. “They provide a valuable service for both the public and the banking industry. People look for unbiased advice and choice to compare not just interest rates, but home loan packages that will suit their own lifestyles which is what we can assist with.”

Harcourts Announces Full Ownership of Mortgage Company cont…

Mr L’Almont has 28 years experience in the finance industry and was instrumental in establishing Ray White Financial Services in Australia. He joined Harcourts in 1998 after it launched in Australia to set up Harcourts Financial Services which now has 20 brokers throughout its Australian operation. Mr L’Almont moved to Auckland in 2000 to take up the role of CEO of Mortgage Express.

ENDS

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