The CEO of a fintech platform that sparked controversy in the broker channel has said that the company never intended to disrupt the mortgage broking industry, but instead “bring innovation” to it.
Speaking at a fintech event in Sydney earlier this week, Vince Turner, the founder and CEO of the digital mortgage service uno., clarified the platform’s intentions and thoughts regarding the third-party channel.
Mr Turner said: “As far as the distribution of mortgages and mortgage broking, it’s an industry that I wasn’t trying to disrupt, but to bring innovation to.
“We’ve already brought a wealth of innovation to the industry, and this is how [we] feel like it should work, for the customer,” he elaborated.
Mr Turner’s comments come after a recent advertisement by uno. was met with some disgruntled responses from the industry.
The advertisement, which was released last month, suggested that consumers wouldn’t buy a house without seeing all the rooms, and as such shouldn’t take out a home loan without seeing all the rates on offer.
It stated: “At uno. home loans, we’ll show you rates you may not be seeing”.
Speaking to The Adviser at the time, the FBAA’s Peter White labelled the advertisement as “inappropriate”, adding: “I want to strongly express my position on this, as they are questioning brokers’ morality. But it is legislation that is relative on this and not brokers being secretive at all.”
Mr Turner emphasised to The Adviser last month that the advertisement doesn’t intend to criticise brokers but rather show that the platform intends to boost “transparency”.
“We think that when markets tend to move towards transparency — and this is not just mortgages, it's any kind of markets, where you have price transparency and discovery and you put the information in the hands of the consumer — then markets tend to operate more efficiently,” he said.
“So, our strategy has always been to build technology… to get someone a mortgage from any of the banks we deal with (much like a broker but in a digital fashion), but also to give those tools to the consumer directly, so they see what we see.”
Bringing forward risk-based mortgages
At the fintech event in Sydney earlier this week, Mr Turner highlighted that the platform was seeking to further innovate the industry.
Noting that Westpac’s $16.5 million strategic investment in the platform was enough to fund the business’ launch and construction of a consumer-facing platform, Mr Turner said that the partnership had “absolutely worked” in driving innovation in the mortgage broking industry.
Mr Turner said: “I think it’s absolutely possible to drive innovation within a business, especially on the distribution side, by partnering with a highly-motivated bank who is thinking strategically about where they want the market to end up,” he said. “[It has] absolutely worked for us.”
According to the fintech CEO, uno.’s vision for the next 18 months is to concentrate on building “an amazing consumer front-end, with a view to bringing about long-term innovation in the market”.
He explained: “Longer-term innovation starts to happen when you actually change the dynamics of the market. In the case of mortgages [for example], there really isn’t risk-based pricing in the mortgage market.
“We actually need to firstly create distribution where people are getting these [risk-based] mortgages and then turn to the lenders to start operating differently in this environment, and that’s actually where the long-term innovation starts to come,” he said.
Mr Turner concluded that the platform’s focus for the next couple of years will be on “bringing different models of lending to the market”.
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