Aussie Home Loans is set to retire the Wizard brand it acquired late last year, with the franchisees that survive the restructure expected to join Aussie’s network.
According to a report in the Australian Financial Review, Aussie Home Loan’s chief John Symond told Wizard staff of the decision in a series of briefings yesterday.
Wizard is believed to have about 160 franchisees.
It is also believed about 50 of Wizard’s back-office and support staff will lose their jobs as a result of the decision to kill off the brand.
Aussie snapped up Wizard’s brand and distribution network in December 2008, paying about $26 million. Commonwealth Bank, which bought a 33% stake in Aussie Home Loans in August last year, assumed about $4 billion of debt held by Wizard’s former owner, GE Money.
GE Money is believed to have paid Wizard founder Mark Bouris about $400 million for Wizard in 2004.
But Wizard has been plagued by problems in the last few years, with many franchisees angry with GE Money’s strategy and particularly its imposition of more restrictive lending policies.