Disruptive Uno hits the market gap

There is much to learn - and more to gain - from sharing life in a digitally disrupted mortgage market, according to Uno founder Vincent Turner (pictured).

Uno’s May 2016 launch attracted high profile investors, including Westpac, seeing potential in a service that aims to redistribute control of the mortgage process toward the consumer through digitization.

Founder and CEO, Turner was speaking at the Australian Mortgage Innovation Summit on Friday, explaining the challenges and opportunities that are unrolling in almost real time in the disrupted mortgage space.

According to Turner, the first challenge facing digital conversion is that consumers “still perceive that if its digital it must mean that its self-serve".

“And when it’s a mortgage, no-one ultimately wants to self-serve.”

More ideological

Uno, as a fintech that bridges end users and incumbents, has been spending the last 12 months crossing a divide that is less digital and more ideological.

“Most of the retail banks we show our tech to, they are not leveraging what they already know about the customer. Or not leveraging the fact that they have an established brand with existing trust.”

According to Turner, there is a big opportunity for the retail side of the bank “to get closer to” third-party channels and to co-habit a space that could benefit all parties across data, shared experience and regulation.

“If you can get closer to the third-party side of your business, I think there’s a real opportunity to learn-by-proxy and to create that wonderful precedent that makes a conversation with the risk and compliance department a lot easier," he said.

Some of Turner’s learnings reveal the nuances and contradictions between users and consumers.

“The first is the difference between user and customer: for us the user is someone remarkably different than the customer who ultimately goes onto transact," he said.

“The people who are using the platform tend to be younger. They use it quite a bit and they come back quite a lot. They’re lower in terms of their journey, income, they’ve higher LVR’s, qualities typical of a younger audience.

"But the people who go on to become customers of this digital experience are older. They’re busy professionals. They work a lot of hours, their LVR’s are lower, their loan amounts are higher."

Mine the gap

Turner added that Uno therefore needed to be mindful of “who exactly we are ultimately trying to service here".

“As a fintech company your role is to come to market and identify a gap that is being poorly serviced - and for us this is the busy professional. It’s a group of people who aren’t quite at private-level banking but certainly feel like they’ve progressed enough that they should be getting a degree of service that they’re not getting today," he said.

“And that gap is something we are identifying and honing in on."

According to Turner, its a demographic that is digitally and financially savvy and “they have very high expectations of the level of service and the quality of the people they’re getting it from".

And of course, he said, design and user interface is critical.

"We’ve talked internally about shifting our design from a Jetstar to a Qantas over the last months - I want to feel like I’m booking a business class flight not a holiday to the sunshine coast," he quipped.

“Those small choices have had a huge impact on identity and for the type of people who say this looks like the service for me."

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