Kym Dalton, the 264th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is a giant of the mortgage world.

Back in 1989, Kym founded Australian Mortgage Securities, which pioneered securitisation in Australasia and wound up becoming the region’s biggest non-bank lender.

Five years ago, he co-founded Australian Mortgage Marketplace, a digital neobank whose innovative technology drastically quickened and simplified the home loan application process.

Ironically, Kym failed high school maths.

The fact Kym was willing to share that detail reveals a lot about his personality. He’s definitely not a stuffy banker. On the contrary, he’s very down to earth and seems to have a permanent twinkle in his eye.

The other great thing about Kym is that he’s a raconteur with an impressive collection of entertaining stories.

Kym and I live very close to each other – we had lunch at a local pub. But now that we’ve become friends, he’s about to move far away.

While Kym grew up in Australia, his daughters live in New Zealand, so he’s planning to relocate to Auckland in a few weeks.

Kym not only has a deep knowledge of the Kiwi finance scene (he jokes that he’s “bi-Tasman”), he also knows everyone worth knowing. He’s currently in talks with a few Australian companies that want his help to crack New Zealand.