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A new fintech start-up is allowing Australians to broker their own home loans online

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A new online mortgage finance platform, uno home loans (uno), empowers Australian consumers for the first time to broker their own home loan, with real-time support and advice, triggering the onset of a new era in property finance.

Launched recently, uno redefines the way consumers secure a mortgage, establishing the third major wave in the property finance industry: consumer-brokered home loans.

The uno online service gives the consumer access to the tools and information that traditional brokers use to find a home loan, across a wide range of lenders, providing them with the power to decide what is best for them.

Creator and CEO of uno, Vincent Turner, said, “The Australian property industry is ripe for disruption and we are excited to be at the helm of a new era.”

“For the first time in Australian history, uno puts the consumer in the driver’s seat to broker their own mortgage.

“Secondly, uno’s home loan experts that provide advice do not personally receive sales commissions. This is a big break from the way that traditional mortgage brokers operate.

“uno takes out all of the filters and pre-decisions that traditional brokers apply before making a recommendation to a home buyer and instead offers full transparency, putting decision making power in the hands of the consumer,” he said.

What is the story behind uno?

Prior to creating uno, Turner spent more than 15 years developing and running fintech companies focused on leveraging software in the real estate and financial services space. He started by founding a software outfit at age 17 which created the first map-based real estate site in Australia.

In 2000, Turner founded software provider Pisces Communication where he designed and patented messaging technology, raised venture capital, and attracted Westpac, American Express and National Australia Bank as clients.

In 2002, Turner shifted his focus at Pisces to an enterprise mortgage platform which was subsequently adopted by 90 per cent of the banks in Australia, processing close to $50 billion a year in applications. He helped author mortgage industry standards and created the first direct-to-consumer mortgage application via investment bank Macquarie.

In 2011, Turner moved to Silicon Valley where he set up Planwise, a consumer-facing fintech company designed to help people make better financial decisions about property investment.

“After 15 years of building advisor software for the mortgage industry, it was clear to me that consumers’ interests were not front and centre.

“Brokers would apply their own filters to the rich information that we could make available, so buyers weren’t able to see all of their options. I decided to change that,” he said.

After returning from Silicon Valley, he set out to design a consumer-facing, digitally-led product that would reshape how Australians get a home a loan.

Turner highlighted how empowering consumers to broker their own home loan marks the third major wave of change in how Australians buy and finance property.

“Firstly, the deregulation of the banking system in the early 1980s allowed non-banks to enter the mortgage market,” he said.

“Following this, mortgage brokers emerged in the 1990s and their market share dramatically increased. In 1994, mortgage brokers represented two per cent of mortgage transactions; in 2016 they represent more than half.”

“Uno is now leading the third major wave of change for the industry, consumer-brokered mortgages.”

Vincent Turner
Vincent Turner

Power to the consumer

Most financial transactions and research is now conducted online and the power has shifted to the consumer across virtually every industry. Home loans are one of the last financial services to make the move, due to the enormity of the purchase and the perceived complexity of the process.

uno allows consumers to access real-time home loan rates based on their personal situation – not just advertised rates. These next generation tools – that in the past only a traditional mortgage broker would have access to – allow them to calculate their borrowing power across lenders, save and share their data with someone else getting the home loan, and select the option that best suits their needs. The entire system is built on the premise that if people had the right knowledge and access to information, they could do better for themselves.

The entire uno loan application process can be done from a desktop, tablet and smartphone, and is supported by a team of experts who can help with real-time advice, when a consumer wants it.

Furthermore, mortgage brokers have historically been incentivised and rewarded by the size of the loan they sell and the lender they recommend.

uno home loan experts are not paid any sales commissions; they are salaried employees incentivised on consumer satisfaction. The commission that uno as a business receives from lenders in no way affects the likelihood of a home loan being recommended to a consumer. This commission is reinvested into the technology, platform and content provided to the consumer.

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