The history of Firstmac is a business story but it is also a very personal
story about a young couple –Kim and Sia Cannon – who registered their
business in Brisbane on 19th of October, 1979.
Kim came from working-class Blacktown in Sydney’s western suburbs and Sia
grew up in the small town of Biloela, inland from Gladstone in Central
When they started their business, the cinemas were playing Grease, Animal
House and Apocalypse Now, and Pink Floyd was playing on the radio. Malcolm
Fraser was the Prime Minister.
They launched their business as a leasing broker, Lease Nationale Finance,
that specialised in financing equipment for mines and other enterprises in
Like many start-up founders today, these two young people in their twenties started their business with no money but a big dream. They had just one physical asset – a blue IBM golf ball typewriter!
In the early days of Firstmac, Kim would travel to remote areas of Queensland every Monday, to see earthmovers and drillers and take finance applications. He’d come home to his family on Thursday night and Sia would spend the weekend typing up the documents to send out to the various banks on Monday morning.
As their business grew, they hired their first employees to help with running it. They also bought their first computer called a ‘Sirius’ and Kim started learning everything he could about it.
After a number of years, Firstmac entered what was known as the Queensland Secondary Mortgage Market, which was a program developed by Queensland Treasury Corporation. We became a mortgage originator and began commercial lending.
We also moved into the Riverside Centre in Brisbane, which is still our headquarters today.
A major landmark came when we negotiated our own home loan program and Kim Cannon started the first ever non-bank 30 year mortgage
By 1991, we were trading as Nationale Home Loans and Queensland State Home Loans. We traded via a number of different brands during this time.
By 1995, we were making a real difference. The big banks had to suddenly drop their interest rates to stop the migration of their customers to us and other non-banks.
In 2001 the business we know today appeared, because it was in that year that we bought a business called First Mortgage Acceptance Corporation and merged it into all our existing businesses to have the one brand – Firstmac!
In 2006, the business was doing really well and Firstmac bought the HSBC broker book which settled in December 2006 for $2.2 billion.
In 2007, the Global Financial Crisis hit. A lot of our competitors fell over during this time or were bought out by bigger players but Firstmac, through perseverance, prudent management, and a Federal government funding program, kept the doors open..
In 2011, Firstmac started its High Livez investment fund which gives ordinary investors access to Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities.!
We also signed on as a Premier Sponsor of the Brisbane Broncos NRL team, which has gone on to be one of the longest sponsorship in NRL history.
We started offering car loans for the first time, and introduced our groundbreaking Green Car Loan with support from the Federal Government Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
We completed the biggest-ever issue of Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) by an Australian non-bank, at $1.7 billion.
We also celebrated 40 years in business!
Firstmac has never been one to rest on our laurels and this decade has already been action packed
We acquired the Georgie/OnlineAuto Car Buying Service.
Issued Australia’s first Green Bond for funding energy-efficient homes.
Launched our Solar home loans and Residential SMSF home loans.
Successfully completed a $2 billion RMBS issue, smashing our own Australian record.
Grew to become the 3rd largest home lender in Queensland and the 12th largest in Australia!
- 2030's and beyond
Marie Mortimer (Kim and Sia's daughter) now works in the family business, having held various Executive positions since 2010. Together Kim and Marie are continuing to grow our business and two things will remain the same: we will remain a family business and we will continue to compete with the big guys to make things better for all Australians!
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