--Macquarie in banking, mortgage deal with Yellow Brick
--Yellow Brick aims to undercut major banks on home loans
By Caroline Henshaw
(Adds Yellow Brick statement from first paragraph)
SYDNEY--Macquarie Group Ltd. (>> Macquarie Group Limited) will help challenge the dominance of Australia's biggest lenders in the retail-banking sector through a distribution agreement with Yellow Brick Road Holdings Ltd. (YBR.AU).
A tie-up in the retail space potentially marks a shift in Macquarie's strategy as the downturn in global financial markets hurts earnings at the country's only investment bank.
In a statement Wednesday, Yellow Brick's Chief Executive Matt Lawler confirmed earlier reports that the lender was planning to boost its presence in Australia's home-loan market by offering customers a 5.5% interest rate--1.15% off the base rate of 6.65%--for the first year of their mortgages.
That's more-than 1 percentage point below the 6.58% rate currently offered by National Australia Bank Ltd. (>> National Australia Bank Ltd.) on the type of variable-rate home loan used by the majority of Australian customers.
NAB's rate is currently the cheapest of the big four banks, which together account for about 85% of the country's more-than-1 trillion Australian dollar (US$1.05 billion) mortgage market.
Yellow Brick's Mr. Lawler said a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company had signed an agreement with Macquarie Bank to offer jointly-branded banking and wealth management products, in addition to a new mortgage funding and distribution agreement. None of the companies were immediately available to provide more details about the deal.
"There's plainly a degree of structural change in the industry," Macquarie's Chief Executive Nicholas Moore told reporters after the bank's half-year results last month.
"The underlying need in terms of what [investment banks] provide to the world will continue, but it will be in a different form in the future," he added at the time.
Write to Caroline Henshaw at [email protected]
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires