The consumer finance company Avantcard has declared that it will enter the Irish mortgage market with a range of products later this year. Avantcard is based in Carrick on Shannon, with a second office in the capital Dublin and has been providing consumer finance products to customers in Ireland for over twenty years.
At the moment, Avantcard specialises in credit cards and personal loans but Bankinter, the owner of Avantcard, already has considerable mortgage business in Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg and will therefore be bringing its expertise to the Irish market.
The Avantcard name will be replaced by a more fitting title: Avant Money. This is to reflect the diversification of products offered and its ambition to delve further into Irish markets, and it will begin with mortgages.
Back in June 2019, there seemed to be the possibility of Avantcard moving into the mortgage market with the postal distributor An Post, but at the time, Avantcard chief executive Chris Paul dismissed these rumours, stating that a move into the mortgage market was not on the cards.
When asked about why a move into the mortgage market was now happening, Paul said this: “Over the years, we have seen how Irish consumers have been under-served in comparison to their European counterparts and it’s time for that to change”.
He went on to say: “Supported by our parent, Bankinter, and building on our strong consumer finance legacy, we are confident that we will be able to provide markedly better value for customers and deliver genuine, long-lasting change”.
Not much further information has been giving about the products themselves and it seems that Avantcard are keeping their cards relatively close to their chest. They have clearly stated that applications will be processed on a case by case basis, which is a good way to avoid giving further information.
Irish consumers should be excited about this information as increased competition almost always advantages the consumers. Rival companies are incentivised to bring their prices down to avoid losing customers and generally, all companies will have to try harder to attract and maintain customers.
The chairman of the Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors, Trevor Grant, is excited as well, and seems impressed with Avantcard and their ambitions. He had this to say about the move into the mortgage market: “We have worked closely with Avant Money over the past number of months, to support them with knowledge and insight into the Irish mortgage market. We have been hugely impressed with their determination to deliver a suite of excellent mortgage products.”
He also gave more on information on how the mortgage products will be offered, which is likely to be through specialist mortgage intermediaries: “As new mortgage lenders such as Dilosk, Finance Ireland, ICS and now Avant Money, come to the Irish market, they have invariably chosen specialist mortgage intermediaries as their primary distribution channel”.
He explained why this should positively impact Irish customers like this “This is mainly due to the fact that these intermediaries can provide greater product choice across the board, as well as often being able to offer better rates that are exclusively available through this channel.”
Generally speaking, this is very positive news for Irish consumers to receive, especially in the current climate. Coronavirus has been difficult on the country as a whole and it has become more and more challenging to get a mortgage for a house.
This move is no guarantee that all of a sudden mortgages will be easy to obtain, however it is a very good sign that companies are willing to make the plunge into the Irish market as it means they see some value there.
With more companies and more competitivity, consumers will have more choice and more freedom, and will not be constrained to one company or one price. If Bankinter and Avantcard, soon to become Avant Money, can deliver on their promises of “genuine, long lasting change” and “markedly better value for customers”, then it will be excellent news indeed for the average Irish person looking for a mortgage.