It’s said that buying a property is one of the most stressful life events. Further, mortgage lender incompetence, bank and finance problems are in the top 20 most stressful aspects of selling a property. For two people, those frustrations spawned the next big idea to hit the FinTech industry.
Mandeep Sodhi, a loyal customer to his bank, thought he had secured the best rate on his home loan. Atul Narang on the other hand secured a better rate on his loan through a broker – but it wasn’t that easy, having already experienced two bad brokers. With this experience, the pair joined forces to bring clarity and simplicity to the market with HashChing, Australia’s first online marketplace for home loans.
HashChing founders, Mandeep and Atul believed that most Australians go through the same frustrating experiences when buying property with no recourse for help. Of course, there’s a plethora of comparison sites with choice aplenty, but according to Mandeep, they merely promote advertised rates and direct consumers back to the lenders’ website. Then comes the negotiation with lenders which becomes time consuming and hard when restricted to office hours. The market needed a shakeup.
Mandeep said “we noticed that 52% of home loans are now written by mortgage brokers in Australia who do all the legwork and negotiation on behalf of consumers but there was no platform out there that connects consumers to rated mortgage brokers.”
A survey by Yellow Brick Road in June 2015 found that 83% of Australians said they hadn’t refinanced in years. An alarming statistic when interest rates are at historic lows, according to Mandeep. He believes that this statistic could be largely apportioned to the lack of transparency of information and the pain of dealing with lenders.
“Home loans are a huge financial decision and consumers need an independent unbiased opinion from financial experts like mortgage brokers. But access to good mortgage brokers is not readily available,” Mandeep said.
Through the HashChing platform, consumers are able to access negotiated home loan deals from multiple banks through local verified mortgage brokers who are rated by HashChing users only. What’s more, arduously chasing up banks and brokers between 9 and 5 can now be a thing of the past with HashChing’s intuitive dashboard that allows brokers to manage appointments and update the consumers at each stage of the application, around the clock.
“In this on-demand economy, services like taxis and food are available in minutes whereas it still takes days to find out the right home loan product for yourself. We are helping consumers save time and money by connecting them to verified brokers at no cost.
“We’re also helping mortgage brokers save time and better manage their leads by providing a dashboard that records all the interactions and follow ups with clients.”
Anyone looking for a mortgage and experiencing the same frustrations as Mandeep and Atul would surely be sold on this innovative offering – fortunately, so were investors. Having pitched their idea to H2 Ventures in November 2015, Australia’s only FinTech accelerator program, HashChing secured $100,000 seed fund which they used to build the product and launch in the market. HashChing later secured further funding of $150,000 from SG Capital in June 2015.
Providing an efficient infrastructure for shrewd, tech savvy home buyers and brokers, it all sounds perfect – but one question remains. How exactly do their mortgage brokers secure those better rates?
Mandeep said “due to the significant volume of deals mortgage brokers make with lenders and low operating cost to banks since the consumer is not visiting a branch, mortgage brokers are able to secure a discounted interest rate or product with no fees from the lenders.
“Mortgage brokers use HashChing as a platform to deliver these negotiated home loan deals to consumers in their servicing area.”
And so far they seem to be taking the market by storm having received 283 home loan applications worth $161.29 million of total loan value since its launch in August this year. Devoted to the cause and deservedly confident, Mandeep and Atul have a roadmap of additional features planned for the next 12 months to help consumers secure a better home loan deal from banks.
Whether they are digital pioneers, disruptors or both, it’s perhaps too early to tell – but by injecting some transparency into the market, HashChing will certainly be giving the once original and celebrated comparison sites a good run for their money.