In news that will reassure nervous RMBS investors, non-bank lender Firstmac has revealed that the number of new applications for COVID-19-related hardship arrangements fell faster than expected in May.

Managing Director Kim Cannon said a full analysis of the trusts in Firstmac’s $12.8 billion loan book showed that, as of May 31, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis was not accelerating as investors had feared at the outset of the pandemic.

“Covid-19 Hardship requests peaked in late March, coinciding with the Federal Government’s announcement of the JobKeeper package,” Mr Cannon said.

“From that time, daily new Covid-19 Hardship requests have only continued on very low daily increments. The balance as at 31 May was 5.65%, up only slightly from 5.32% last month.”

“Our Trusts can withstand stress levels many times higher than the current levels experienced,” Mr Cannon said.

Firstmac Portfolio Summary




Total Balance

$12.797 bln

$12.806 bln

Gross Arrears ((incl'd COVID) 30+



less COVID Arrears 30+



Net Reported Arrears 30+



COVID Arrangement



COVID Hardship



Total COVID impacted borrowers




Mr Cannon said Firstmac was well positioned to minimise the impact of COVID-19 hardship arrangements on its loan book going forward because it had started with a different approach to many lenders.

“From the outset we worked with each customer individually to help them tailor the best arrangement for their unique circumstances, instead of just ushering them through onto a a default six-month hardship arrangement,” Mr Cannon said.

“We will continue that tailored approach next month when our three-month hardship arrangements come up for review, working with each person to ensure that they are making whatever level of repayments they are comfortable with, leaving them better off in the long run.”

Of the total 5.65% of customers currently on hardship arrangements, only 1.88% were in 30+ days in arrears. This is because many of these accounts were in advance and/or are making partial payments. Of the total 5.65%, 44% are making partial payments.

The positive information on arrears is that latest good news for Firstmac, which in March completed a $1 billion RMBS raising, becoming the first Australian company to successfully tap the funding market after the COVID-19 crisis hit. In April, it decisively expanded its car loan business through the acquisition of car loan broker and car-buying service Georgie from ASX-listed Eclipx Group (ASX: ECX).

Media contact: Duncan Macfarlane 0434 184 264 

Firstmac Limited is an independently-owned, Australian financial services provider with almost 40 years’ experience in home and investment loans. Firstmac has written in excess of 100,000 home loans and manages approximately $12 billion in mortgages and $300 million in cash investments. Firstmac is a premier sponsor of the Brisbane Broncos.