Mortgage Fintech Athena Home Loans sets new Australian record

When Nathan Walsh and Michael Starkey left NAB in 2017, between them they had amassed 14 years at the big four bank. Walsh is credited with having founded Nabtrade, and Starkey has a CV rich with mortgage and fintech experience.

Now as co-founders of Athena Home Loans, they have set a new record for the largest capital raise completed entirely from local backers - $90 million.

The sum brings the amount Athena has raised to a total of $200 million.

The $90 million record breaking deal follows the announcement of the home lender’s new $2 billion funding agreement with Bluestone acting as financier.

Even though Covid knocked many expansion plans off the rails in 2020, Athena managed to increase loans by 100%. Since its 2019 launch, it has grown its loan book by a factor of five.

“We’ve settled almost $2.5 billion of loans ... and with our existing partners and arrangements, we can see that growing to $8 billion, giving us a runway to 2023,” Mr Walsh told The Australian Financial Review. “There’s a lot of interest in our debt papers, so it’s not something that in any way constrains us.”

Athena markets itself as having Australia’s lowest fee free variable rate home loan – offering a headline 1.99% to borrowers who can afford a deposit of 40% or more. And given the fact it has no fees, the 1.99% is also the comparison rate.

For borrowers who have less of a deposit – the rates are higher – an LVR of 80% means an interest rate of 2.19% but Athena’s USP is that as a borrrower’s equity percentage rises, so the rate drops.