ANZ tips cash into Catalano’s View Media as it eyes digital mortgages

ANZ Bank is shelling out $50 million for a minority stake in Antony Catalano-led real estate listings business View Media Group (VMG), as the lender eyes off the potential to sell more home loans digitally.

In the latest sign banks are betting more borrowers will take out more loans through digital channels, ANZ on Monday announced the investment, saying it would take a seat on the board of VMG and planned to establish an exclusive financial services partnership.

ANZ flagged a potential financial services partnership with View Media Group.
ANZ flagged a potential financial services partnership with View Media Group.Credit:Will Willitts

VMG, which launched last year, is backed by former Domain chief executive Catalano and Thorney Investment Group executive chairman Alex Waislitz. The business says it’s aiming to disrupt the real estate transaction market by building “the digital real estate superstore of the future.”

VMG, which also counts Seven West Media as an investor, has a real estate listing business, a property technology business for real estate agents and an online utilities service.

The $50 million investment, which was previously reported in the Australian Financial Review, comes as ANZ has set its sights on expanding its footprint in mortgages as a key strategic goal, and it is also responding to the strong growth in online banking, including in the home loan sector.

ANZ said the investment supported its strategy of establishing services that make it easier to buy, own or rent property, and it was open to working with businesses such as real estate agents or utility operators.

Home loans – a crucial market for the nation’s banks – are the most obvious banking product that can be sold or promoted via a property listings platform. Domain, which is 60 per cent owned by this masthead’s owner Nine, has a partnership with mortgage broker Lendi, allowing the broker to target potential borrowers via the property portal.

News Corporation-backed REA Group, meanwhile, has also been bulking up in financial services, buying mortgage broker Mortgage Choice in 2021.

Catalano, executive chairman of VMG, said ANZ’s backing was an endorsement of the company’s strategy and the funds would be used to scale up the business, develop products, and pursue growth opportunities.


“ANZ has demonstrated that it is a forward-thinking bank and has a clear plan to invest in emerging and disruptive businesses: I’m personally very excited to have their backing and can’t wait to deliver on our plans, not only to generate shareholder value for them but operationally, a steady stream of financial services customers from across the VMG property ecosystem,” Catalano said in a statement.

Waislitz, the billionaire business partner of Catalano in regional publisher Australian Community Media, said he was grateful for the confidence ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott had shown in the venture. “With ANZ’s involvement adding to the already active participation of Seven West Media, we are now well on
the way to creating Australia’s most exciting real estate prop-tech business,” Waislitz said.

ANZ, which did not disclose the size of the stake it was taking in VMG, has also been investing heavily in its digital banking offshoot ANZ Plus, with plans to start offering mortgages through the platform later this year.

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