Self-employed Damien refinanced his loan

Self-employed Damien refinanced his loan

Sydney-born Damien has taken his lifelong passion for music and technology and found professional success internationally as the founder and CEO of New York-based Blue Pie Records. But as anyone growing a business knows, things can be tricky financially – and Damien decided it was time to face the music on his home loan.
 Peter Gearin
Peter Gearin

Damien Reilly is not your average UNO Home Loans customer. He’s not your average real-estate refinancer, either.

Sydney-born Damien has taken his lifelong passion for music and technology and found professional success internationally – he is founder and CEO of New York-based Blue Pie Productions, which publishes music and protects artists’ copyright. He also runs DJ Central, a global dance music television show. Both his production company and TV program help independent labels and artists from across the world achieve wider exposure for their music.

But back in Sydney earlier this year, Damien faced the music over his pressing property issues. As anyone building a company knows, things can often be tricky financially – especially in a cyclical business such as music publishing. It often means spending part of the year living on scraps – and having the odd scrap as well. Damien admits he found himself with money issues following the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. They were difficult times for his business, with some of his customers not able to pay their bills, and he says this put his credit rating at risk.

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Having a poor credit record in business can make it difficult when you’re looking for finance, let alone a home mortgage. “It’s a challenge to find someone that will listen to you,” he says.

Damien’s difficulties left him with an unfavourable deal on his mortgage. At one stage he was paying 9 per cent on his loan, then he refinanced and the interest charges dropped ­– but only slightly – to “8-point something”. So when he was looking to relocate his Australian business headquarters, moving from the city to Moss Vale in the NSW Southern Highlands, it seemed like a good time to refinance the loan on his place in nearby Bundanoon.

“My house is old and needs a bit of work, but we’ve got an acre of developed grounds,” he says. “It’s in a really nice area.”

How UNO helped

Given his history with the banks, Damien looked further afield for refinancing options and came across UNO. “Phillip at UNO was amazing,” Damien says. “I’ve never had an experience like that with a lender ever. He rings me up. He tells me what’s going on. He manages everything.

“I’ve never in 30 years of business experienced someone like that who genuinely cares.”

Given his experience, Damien believes UNO fills a void in the marketplace. “I’ve been blown away by the caring of the company because it’s an emotional journey buying a house,” he says. “The average person out there, they shit themselves at this process. They do. Because I’ve seen it. We’ve all got friends that go, “Oh no, I don’t understand it”. And their brains shut down.”

Phillip took great care managing his refinancing journey, Damien says. He describes one encounter while they were both working out the best approach to take …

Phillip: Damien, hi, how are you?

Damien: Oh, Phillip, it’s so good to hear from you.

Phillip: You know, I was drinking my wine last night, and I thought we could do a better deal.

Damien: Really?

Phillip: Yeah, I think what we’re going to do is this. And I was thinking of you.

“Now, after the first call, I told my wife [about UNO] and she goes, “Oh, they’re all full of sh*t”. I said, “No, this guy’s really different.” And then when she spoke to him, all right, from God to my lips, she said, “That guy really cares”. And I went, “I know. Imagine if the banks cared.” Here are other UNO customers who have the benefit of working with Phillip.

With Phillip’s help, Damien ended up getting a loan from non-bank specialist lender RedZed. He’s happy with the deal, and he’s pleased to spread the word about UNO. “UNO is a unique business,” he says. “It’s very rare – that very caring approach. “UNO’s going to be a force to reckoned with.”

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 Peter Gearin
Peter Gearin