Adelaide start-up and fintech company Joust to launch in New South Wales under NOVA Entertainment Group funding deal

The Advertiser

February 20, 2017 10:45am

A MAJOR entertainment company has thrown its financial support behind Adelaide-based technology start-up Joust, allowing the company to expand its home loan auction service into New South Wales.

The Wakefield Street business today announced it had successfully raised another $400,000 and secured NOVA Entertainment Group as a strategic investor.

The company, which operates in SA and Victoria, says the funding takes to almost $2 million it has raised since its inception in early 2015.

Co-Founder and managing director Mark Bevan said 650 customers have used Joust to seek a better home loan interest rate and that the value of home loans “jousted” was already more than $250m.

“We now have eleven Banks on the Joust platform and the continued support from existing

investors and now NOVA Entertainment, gives us the confidence to expand in to the Sydney market next month,” he said.

Scaling the business and increasing consumer awareness in the important markets of Melbourne and Sydney are key focus areas for Joust in the first half of 2017.

Joust was recently named as a finalist in Start-Up of the Year category in the 2017 Fintech Business Awards.

click here to read the full article

Joust On A Roll

On the 23rd of August, Your Mortgage featured an article about Joust.

Joust Banking Wars

A start-up is on a roll after bringing in over $100 million in mortgage referrals in just its first quarter of operation.

Joust, an Adelaide-based financial technology start-up founded by managing director Mark Bevan and former banking colleagues Richard Hockney and Greg Abel, runs its business by pitting banks against each other or making them joust to bag client loans.

Customers give the details of their loan, and seven lenders then have the chance to put in their best offer for the client to choose from.Bevan said that Joust recorded 155 home loan opportunities in just its first month after launching in South Australia on June 1.

The start-up exceeded its target to refer 30 to 40 offers for its debut month.

“It’s been a really exciting start,” Bevan said. “We’ve been really thrilled with the response from South Australian consumers.”

Joust is now on track to expand to the eastern states. There is already a plan to launch Joust in Victoria by October. “We’re going to be adding a few Victorian-based banks and it will be a seven-month pilot in total,” Bevan explained. “All being well on the first of January, we expect to add some more banks and operate nationally.

Prior to its launch, Joust has also spent an estimated $400,000 developing its website and software.Investors like former BankSA managing director Rob Chapman are backing Joust’s operations. Local lenders such as BankSA, Adelaide Bank, and People’s Choice Credit Union are currently in Joust’s panel of lenders.

Click Here to go to the Your Mortgage website.

 

South Australian SMEs among winners in state budget with $10,000 incentives to hire new workers

ELOISE KEATING /Friday, July 8 2016

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. Source: AAP Image/Tim Dornin

Small and medium businesses in South Australia will receive cash incentives for each new job created in the next two years, as part of the state government’s efforts to tackle unemployment across the state.

The 2016-17 South Australian budget, which was handed down by Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis on Thursday, includes two incentive schemes for small and medium businesses, in a package worth $109 million.

The Job Creation Grant scheme will pay employers $10,000 over two years for each new fulltime job created between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. The scheme is open to employers that are liable for payroll tax in South Australia and which have a total taxable wage bill of $5 million or less in the financial year immediately preceding the year they wish to claim the grant in.

Under the scheme, employers will receive the grant in two instalments to coincide with the first and second anniversaries of the creation of the particular job. If the hours worked by the new employee are less than 35 per week, the grant will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

The second scheme funded in the budget, the Small Business and Start-ups Grant scheme, is worth $4000 to employers over two years, and is available to businesses that have a total payroll of less than $600,000, which puts them under the state’s payroll tax-free threshold.

To receive the grant, a business must create a new job of at least 22 hours per week. The $4000 grant will be paid to employers in two instalments of $2000 on each anniversary of the job being created.

To qualify for either the Job Creation Grant or the Small Business and Start-ups Grant, employers will need to register the new employee with RevenueSA within 90 days of an employee commencing work.

Koutsantonis said in a statement on Thursday the government estimates the schemes will provide grants for 14,000 fulltime jobs across South Australia.

“Reaching that target in the current economic climate will be challenging but we need to do all we can to address the state’s high unemployment rate,” he said.

The unemployment rate in South Australia is the highest among all Australian states and territories at close to 7%. Koutsantonis said while there is more work to be done to improve employment opportunities in the state, these grants will “build on our tax reforms and stimulate further job creation in South Australia”.

“We want to reward growing businesses in South Australia and help them grow faster,” he said.

“We are backing SA businesses that want to expand and create more jobs.”

Mark Bevan, managing director of Adelaide-based startup Joust, told SmartCompanyhis company will factor the grants into their financial modelling and “it could be the difference between a ‘no’ decision and a ‘go’ decision” to hire a new employee.

“Hiring, particularly making a commitment to new full time employees, is a massive challenge for startups. Anything that reduces the financial risk I would consider very helpful,” Bevan says.

“Management of cashflow – and making sensible, small investments are a prime focus for small business and start ups.  A cash incentive can have the effect of tipping the risk scales of making an investment in a new employee or a contractor in favour of proceeding.”

BDO partner David Fechner also backed the measure, saying in a statement the grants schemes are good news for South Australia’s 90,000 small businesses.

“In a flat economy the state government has substantially shifted its approach to small business and is finally looking at this sector to create jobs and growth,” Fechner said.

“The incentives announced today are good news for those business owners striving to diversify their offering and stay relevant to their customers amidst shrinking margins and attempts to deliver more with less resources.”

Other measures to help SMEs in South Australia

The 2016-17 South Australian budget includes a number of other measures that could help SMEs. These include:

Payroll tax rebate extension

The SA government has extended the small business payroll tax rebate for another four years, which is claims will save eligible businesses as much as $9,800 each year. The rebate was first introduced in the 2013-14 state budget and provides a 2.45% rate cut for businesses with payrolls up to $1 million. The government extended the rebate for 12 months in last year’s budget and following the latest extension, it will now run until the 2019-20 financial year.

Access to faster internet

The 2016-17 state budget includes a provision of $4.65 million to make Adelaide part of the global Gig City network. This will involve giving businesses access to SABRENet, a high-speed, optical fibre network currently used by the state government and universities. The roll out of the Gig City network to Adelaide is expected to start at the end of the year.

Promotional support for retailers

The government will also provide $2 million for a 12-month campaign to encourage South Australians to shop with local businesses. The “Choose South Australia” campaign will be run by Brand South Australia and will aim to raise the awareness of South Australian made goods and services.

Funds to attract business to the state

The government has allocated an additional $20 million over two years to the South Australian Economic Investment Fund, which aims to attract new businesses to the state.

Cash for business advice and mediation

SMEs that export are expected to benefit from an additional $600,000 in funding for Business SA to provide a coaching and advisory program in this area. The Office of the Small Business Commissioner will also receive more than $1 million to fund mediation services.

See original article here

Joust is becoming the logical way for good customers to get a new home loan

It was a fantastic opportunity for Joust to join three of Australia’s most disruptive businesses at the Disrupters event held in Adelaide last week.  It was inspiring to hear from leaders of other Disrupters  Uber Vinomofo and Expre3ss.  It was also an opportunity for Joust to share with the crowd of nearly 200 business people, that more than 120 South Australians had  “Jousted” approximately $55m worth of home loans in just three weeks.

The energetic audience was eager to hear about the start-up journey and understand the challenges.  As part of the Disrupters panel, we were able to reflect on what we did right, highlight some of the mistakes made along the way and share our most valuable advice.  

The exciting thing for Joust is that consumers have quickly identified with the Joust value proposition and the convenience, transparency and empowerment of the Joust process for obtaining the best possible home loan interest rate.  Just as Uber has become a phenomenally successful alternative to taxis worldwide and Vinomofo are successfully taking on the world by creating a tribe of followers in the wine business, Joust is poised to lead a revolution in retail lending – starting in Australia.   From the convenience of the couch at home, or the train ride to work, consumers with a good credit rating and good equity in their homes are able to create their own “Joust” and watch as lenders bid against each other, live, straight back to your mobile phone, tablet or computer.

Thanks again to In Daily and Bernadette Schwartz see here for hosting such a fantastic event. Also a big thanks to Expr3ss for arranging the delectable Rocky Road treat from iconic SA business Haighs, which our family thoroughly enjoyed. 

Joust Managing Director, Mark Bevan

Analysis: Is the mortgage industry ready for disruption?

Wednesday, 22 June 2016   |  
 
James Mitchell

Fintech businesses have descended on the mortgage market in recent months, eager to establish themselves as legitimate distribution channels. But are banks and brokers ready to embrace new players?

Hero BroKer

When The Adviser ran a piece about Hero BroKer last month, the industry’s reaction was significant. Twenty-five people commented on the story, which was shared 64 times on Facebook and 48 times on LinkedIn. 

The idea that customers could broker their own home loan (and receive an upfront commission for doing so) seemed to fly in the face of the broker proposition.

Comments ranged from encouraging – “A work in progress that will face some hurdles but I'm looking forward to seeing how far Hero BroKer will go” to negative – “My bet is Hero to zero!”

A follow-up story revealed that the platform had signed an agreement with mortgage aggregator AFG.

However, Heritage Bank seemed confused after being told its branding was all over on the Hero BroKer website.

Heritage Bank’s general manager of retail services Paul Francis said he was unaware Hero BroKer had listed the bank as a lending partner on its website, adding that Heritage has no direct agreement with the platform.

Mr Francis said he does not believe the platform will make much of a dent in mortgage distribution now, but it could in the future. “There will be more of these types of operations that will be banking on the fact that this continued move to the digital age will become prevalent in this part of financial services,” he said.

A few weeks later, AFG revealed that it had terminated its agreement with Hero BroKerfollowing a review of its business model.

Hero BroKer founder Clint Howen said AFG’s main concern was the commission going back to the borrower.

“If I was to give that up from the business model, they would want to continue their relationship with Hero BroKer,” Mr Howen said.

“But it’s not just the commission [going] back to the borrowers that they’re worried about either. They’re also worried that the process could take away the value of a broker.”

Which poses the important question: is the industry ready to be disrupted?

Non-bank lenders were an early disruptive force in the mortgage market, as were brokers. Together they have been responsible for injecting much-needed competition into the industry.

Whether new online players can deliver the same positive results remains to be seen.

Mortgage Business understands Hero BroKer has been in discussions with more aggregators in recent weeks.

Uno

Within days of AFG cutting ties with Hero BroKer, industry veteran Vincent Turner announced the launch of his new fintech company uno. Once again, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

The uno online service gives consumers access to the same tools and information traditional brokers use to find a home loan, providing them with the power to decide what is best for them. It also allows consumers to access real time home loan rates based on their personal situations – not just advertised rates.

“We think of this as the third wave. Traditionally, you’ve just had banks, going way back. Then you had brokers come into the market. We see this consumer-brokered mortgage as the next wave of what is possible,” Mr Turner said.

“I think there is a whole segment of consumers who will say, ‘This is how I want to get access to a mortgage because I want to use a platform’. They don’t want to do it alone, they still want help, but what they want is a screen.

“There is a whole generation of people who have a screen to access so many other services in other verticals.”

Mr Turner believes online platforms such as uno will not replace banks, nor does he see it replacing mortgage brokers.

“We think there is a whole generation of people and a growing segment of the market who want to do more of this themselves and expect that from their service providers.”

Mortgage Business understands a big four bank has recently invested in the platform.

Joust

This month, another new player announced it has gained traction in the home loan market. However, unlike the consumer-brokered model, Joust sees lenders bidding for a customer’s mortgage.

In its first two weeks, Joust has seen more than $43 million worth of home loans go through its system after more than 100 customers put their mortgages up for auction.

Joust founder Mark Bevan has made clear he is in competition with mortgage brokers, and so far a growing number of non-major lenders have signed up to the South Australia-based platform, including Bank SA, Adelaide Bank, Australian Unity, People’s Choice Credit Union, Bank of Queensland, Beyond Bank and Gateway Credit Union.

Mr Bevan said Joust will launch in Victoria in October, followed by a full national roll-out by January 2017, with plans to more than double the number of active lenders on the platform.

“We’re aiming to have up to 20 lenders on our digital platform to ‘joust’ by the time we launch nationally, which given the discussions and high level of interest received to date, we are confident this goal is well within reach,” he said.

The former major bank executive believes one of the reasons people are responding so well is the fact that Joust is not a comparison site, but a live and fully transparent auction platform.

“It’s a reverse eBay experience for home loans. There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to comparing home loan deals between lenders, and people don’t have the time or patience to do the hunting around and negotiating back and forth – and certainly not with numerous lenders,” he said.

“Our platform brings a new competitive edge to the financial sector, whereby we bring the lenders to the consumer on our terms, ensuring apples are always being compared with apples, which makes the process much easier for the consumer.”

Three local fintech companies have emerged in recent months. All of them have the same goal – to earn their place in the competitive mortgage distribution market by catering to the changing needs of consumers.

The rise of mobile technology and the rapid take-up of internet banking have placed the power firmly in the hands of customers.

There will always be people who will want their hands held and who will look for a human relationship when they are making major financial decisions. But there is a generation of customers (and generations to come) who is quite happy to receive a mortgage in a few simple steps on a screen.

Just as mortgage brokers and non-bank lenders brought competition to the market by offering an alternative, new online players will no doubt be the catalyst to drive innovation in both new and existing mortgage businesses.

This article first appeared in Mortgage Business 22nd June 2016 - click here

 

 

ASIC Supports Aussie Start-ups

The world of regulation, especially in the financial services sector can be very daunting.   At Joust we have a philosophy that nothing is more important than compliance therefore we will not take any shortcuts.  In 2015, when we were trying to come to terms with our compliance obligations and the rigour involved with obtaining an Australian Credit Licence, we reached out to the ASIC Innovation Hub and they could not have been more helpful and supportive.

 

Very strong governance of the Australian financial services industry has served us well through many tough economic cycles, including the Global Financial Crisis.  The benefits of this compliance culture can be seen every day and the greatest endorsement is the strength of our banking system, which is the envy of most other nations. 

At Joust, our formal lender agreements were prepared by premium commercial law firm Laity Morrow. These agreements have now been extensively reviewed by a range of internal and external legal teams at eight financial institutions.  Joust continues to build a strong and sustainable business model where the guidance and assistance offered by the ASIC Innovation Hub was not only instrumental in Joust securing our Australian Credit Licence but also helped us understand our obligations and the broader regulatory environment. 

I have no hesitation in recommending the ASIC Innovation Hub to any other Australian Start-up, especially one participating in the fin-tech space, 

Joust Managing Director, Mark Bevan

 

New disrupter hits the mortgage market

Joust, the latest disrupter to hit the home loan market, has launched a live auction platform – providing consumers, in essence, with a reverse eBay experience for mortgages.

The home loan contest - which allows customers to secure low interest rates by having lenders bidding for their business - has seen home loans valued at more than $45 million being put up for live auction in just a few weeks.  Launched on 1 June in South Australia, Joust will enter the Victorian market in October followed by a full national roll-out by January 2017.  “The platform - which involves lenders bidding for the loans in real time - allows customers to watch as lenders drive down each others' rates within the chosen time frame," commented Joust managing director, Mark Bevan. 


After pitching the product for 18 months, he found converts chiefly among the challenger brands as it gave them an opportunity to target specific customer segments.
 

Challenger brands


As such, Bevan has signed up seven second-tier lenders, including Bank SA, Adelaide Bank, Australian Unity, People’s Choice Credit Union, Bank of Queensland, Beyond Bank and Gateway Credit Union.  And, he has plans to push that number to 20 by the time Joust rolls out nationally, which given the discussions and high level of interest received to date, he is confident in predicting. "The challenger brands will always find it hard to compete digitally with the big banks," he argued, adding that their resources were stretched.


“Our mortgage origination platform costs the challengers very little and yet they get highly-qualified leads that allow them to target specific client niches,” Bevan said. “They can see the geography, the demographic, the loan-to-value ratio, the credit rating band - these are all things that we provide.” As he sees it, the platform is a real alternative to the use of mortgage brokers for the customer-owned and smaller regional banks - which are struggling to achieve reach.
 

'Chunk out of the value chain'


Bevan is convinced that digitalisation of the mortgage process will completely change the customer experience, forcing more and more brokers into the advice and financial planning area.  “The old style broker business that takes a chunk out of the value chain for straightforward home loans will find it harder to justify this as technology improves,” he added. His goal is to bring a new competitive edge to the financial sector, by bringing the lenders to the consumer - and putting consumers firmly back in the driving seat. Additionally, he has been in talks with the big four banks but so far has been unable to land any of them as clients. “While impressed with the concept, our platform represents a threat to their back book so it's unlikely the major banks will jump on board," he said. 

Joust charges 20 basis point for mortgage origination and charges the lender’s a fee for using the software. That charge is based on each deal introduced to them. Unlike Flongel - which also offers mortgage auctions via a platform - Joust offers no advice and does not make recommendations. “We just create the platform and the direct link with the technology for the banks to bid in a live and dynamic environment so each lender can see each other's bids."

Categories
BANKING, TECHNOLOGY,
Author:
Elizabeth Fry, efry@financialpublications.com.au
Article Posted:
June 21, 2016

click here

Brokers losing mortgages to disruptive platform

WRITTEN BY
James Mitchell 

June 20, 2016

A new online lending platform that competes with mortgage brokers has seen more than $43 million worth of home loans put through its system in its first two weeks of operation.

Joust is a free tool that involves lenders bidding (jousting) for home loans in real time, allowing customers to watch as lenders drive down each other’s rates within a specific time frame.

During the first two weeks of its launch in South Australia, more than 100 consumers put their home loans up for auction onJoust, three times more than the company had anticipated.

Online lending platforms are becoming increasingly prevalent in the home loan space, bringing fresh competition and challenging the traditional bank and broker propositions.

Seven lenders have already partnered with the South Australia-based platform, including Bank SA, Adelaide Bank, Australian Unity, People’s Choice Credit Union, Bank of Queensland, Beyond Bank and Gateway Credit Union.

Joust managing director Mark Bevan said one of the main benefits to banks is the complete lack of channel conflict, as Joust is not looking to ‘own’ the customer or the relationship.

“We would hope to take some business away from mortgage brokers,” Mr Bevan said.

Joust has targeted challenger brands rather than the big four. According to Mr Bevan, the start-up has seen the strongest engagement from non-major lenders and mutuals.

Mr Bevan said Joust will launch in Victoria in October, followed by a full national roll out by January 2017, with plans to more than double the number of active lenders on the platform.

“We’re aiming to have up to 20 lenders on our digital platform to ‘joust’ by the time we launch nationally, which given the discussions and high level of interest received to date, we are confident this goal is well within reach,” he said.

The former major bank executive believes one of the reasons people are responding so well is the fact that Joust is not a comparison site, but a live and fully transparent auction platform.

“It’s a reverse eBay experience for home loans. There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to comparing home loan deals between lenders, and people don’t have the time or patience to do the hunting around and negotiating back and forth – and certainly not with numerous lenders,” he said.

“Our platform brings a new competitive edge to the financial sector, whereby we bring the lenders to the consumer on our terms, ensuring apples are always being compared with apples, which makes the process much easier for the consumer.”

This article first appeared in The Adviser 20th June 2016 click here

Learning from our customers

I expect that anyone who has worked with a large Bank or Financial Services business is very familiar with the term Continuous Improvement Program.   My sense is that these programs have been very prevalent in the finance industry for more than a decade.   When we formed Joust in early 2015, I assumed that I had probably been part of my last Continuous Improvement Program.   Little did I know that from the moment Joust went “live” with our “pilot” in South Australia on 1st of June 2016 – we would be embarking on a permanent Continuous Improvement Program.   We undertook a lot of research, design and testing of the Joust platform but there is nothing like learning from our customers.  Constructive feedback from our customers has been offered immediately and it really is greatly appreciated by any start-up business.  The Joust team is doing its best to learn from customers who give Joust a try and those who take a look and elect not to proceed.   One of the beauties of Joust is that it is obligation free and only if you declare a winner of your Joust, will the winning lender be able to contact you.  This means that many consumers have been able to take a close look at the Joust experience for new home loans and refinancing existing home loans without fear of being harassed by pushy Brokers or Bankers.

We have been rapt with the response from consumers in the first week of our pilot.   Many have jumped straight in and are already receiving ultra competitive bids from our panel of lenders.  Even consumers with more complex needs are telling us how much they like the Joust business model.  It is important to refer to the “Is Joust for me” section of our website – to understand our audience.  Many consumers are registering their interest to be advised if Joust expands our product offering and many customers are telling their friends and family about us or following us on Facebook.

One thing is certain, Joust will continue to seek out feedback from our customers and strive to improve our platform on an ongoing basis.   It seems Joust is on a continuous, Continuous Improvement Program.  The joys of being a start-up business.

Joust Managing Director, Mark Bevan

The top 6 reasons why it is no longer too hard to refinance your home loan

I was having coffee with the CEO of one of the larger Melbourne based financial institutions early last year.  I was talking to him about our ambitions for Joust and he said something that really resonated with me.  He said “Housing Loans are NOT complicated.  If a house is worth $800,000 and a customer has $400,000 of equity – the customer needs $400,000. “

Banks get involved in lots of complicated transactions and products but the basic home loan, should not be one of them.  Home loan opportunities such as the one the CEO described above are absolute “gold” for Banks.   They often take a minimum amount of credit assessment, carry a minimum amount of risk, Banks are excellent and well set up to do the fulfilment and there ought to be ample opportunity for Banks to offer other products to the new home loan customer.

However, until now, it has been a bit daunting and/or confusing for consumers to know where to start to try to find out if they could get a better home loan interest rate.  The top six reasons until now are described below:

1)      I haven’t got time.   Many of us don’t have the free time to undertake the research, analysis and negotiation required to refinance our home loan.  Comparison sites are a maze of brands, packages, specials and numbers.  Sometimes you feel like you would need a science degree to work out what it all means.  Approaching a Mortgage Broker to do all this research and negotiation on your behalf, sounds fine but the lack of transparency around Mortgage Broker recommendations continues to be a concern in the home loan sector.  Media coverage and public enquiries continue to draw attention to these challenges.

2)      Where would I start?  Unless you have a terrific Relationship Manager at one of the Banks, or a close friend who is a Mortgage Broker or an Accountant, it is not obvious where a customer should begin the process of refinancing their home loan to reduce their monthly loan repayments.  More and more, people are turning to the internet to commence their journey for goods and services.  Researching home loans can be almost an infinite process if you don’t know where to go.

3)      I don’t want my personal details shopped all over town.   Many consumers are understandably sensitive about their personal data.  Whether it is filling out forms with Banks or Brokers or keying in data on-line, consumers want to know that their personal data will be protected and always handled and used only in the manner that it was intended.

4)      I don’t want to be hassled by Banks or Brokers phoning me and emailing me incessantly.  One of the draw backs of beginning the enquiry process for a home loan refinance – is that in a lot of cases, as soon as a service provider gets a sniff that you might be intending to do something – they bombard you with unwelcome phone calls and emails.

5)      I actually don’t enjoy bartering or haggling.   Many Australians don’t enjoy the “argy-bargy” of negotiating with lenders or brokers for a better deal.  It can feel a bit unnatural for many of us and creating the right level of competitive tension often involves a degree of unwanted pressure.

6)      How can I trust a middleman to truly get the best rate for me?   Without competitive tension, lenders tend to apply their own standard rates to all home loans.  With many financial institutions, one person gets exactly the same home loan interest rate as the next person – despite the fact that the person’s credit rating, income, equity, occupation or location of the property may be very different.  Mortgage Brokers have been telling us for many years – it is unlikely that a Bank will contact you and say – “hey – we could give you a lower home loan interest rate.”   However the preferences and opinions of a mortgage broker may not always be in your best interest, and various incentives may direct them down one path or another that is not always fully transparent.

But all is this is about to change for the better.    Joust takes approximately 3 minutes to input the details of your existing home loan.  Joust is now the logical place to start for all good consumers with an existing home loan.  Your personal details are only provided to the ONE winning lender that you select at the completion of your Joust.  No one other than the lender you have selected will follow you up by phone or email.  Joust creates the competitive tension across its panel of lenders – instantly and live.  With Joust – there is no intermediary, lenders are bidding for your business directly to your mobile phone, tablet or computer.

Joust Managing Director Mark Bevan


Disrupters

We are really excited to have the opportunity to share the stage with David Rohrsheim of Uber, Andre Eikmeier from Vinomofo, Elaine Stead from Blue Sky Funds and other disrupters next month.   This event hosted by In Daily promises to be an outstanding bringing together of innovative South Australians.    

We look forward to sharing the Joust story and also learning from these other exciting businesses.   

Mark Bevan CEO Joust

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It seems never a week goes by without another story, somewhere in Australia, of a broker being banned or fined by ASIC.   In Australia, we definitely benefit from very strong regulation in our financial services industry and it has stood us in good stead through many economic cycles and crisis.   Again yesterday, The Adviser reported that “ASIC has permanently banned a Perth based broker from engaging in credit activities" click here.   Joust is a digital home loan platform, not a broker, and enjoys excellent relationships with banks around Australia. Through these relationships we are aware that broker fraud is becoming more and more of a concern for Bank boards and executives.

 

There are some terrific brokers around Australia who work diligently, provide excellent service and add real value for customers who have complex needs, a poor credit history, unpredictable income or low equity.   These higher quality brokers must feel like ripping their hair out when they read about their peers who damage the reputation of the broker industry as a whole.  We know the industry associations work very hard to try to repair the damage and lack of trust that these negative reports cause – but it continues to be an uphill battle.   Transparency, integrity and authenticity are all core values of Joust.  In an increasingly digital world, technology is a great enabler for integrity.  Let's all hope that advancements in technology, robust regulation, stiff penalties and a “genuine human spirit to contribute to our society” will deliver great outcomes for Australian consumers in to the future.

Mark Bevan, Joust Managing Director

Interest Rate Fun and Games

Even though many economists were predicting an interest rate cut soon, Tuesday’s Reserve Bank decision to cut the official cash rate by 0.25% was a bit of a surprise to us at Joust.  We felt that with Treasurer Scott Morrison handing down his first Federal Budget on Tuesday night that the Reserve Bank might wait for at least another month.  When Scott Morrison spoke to the media about the budget he was "assuring it will be focussed on all Australians".  http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/scott-morrison-addresses-media-ahead-of-budget-announcement/vi-BBsxDuV

The good news for borrowers is that we have a new record low interest rate environment in Australia.  It is certainly not great news for retirees or those Australians who are very dependent on interest from their deposits.  That group is likely to continue to do it quite tough. 

Joust was pleased to see the major Banks move quickly to pass on the full amount of the interest rate cut.  ANZ was the exception.  We expect to see a lot of “high three’s” in advertised percentage rates in the coming weeks.  By that we mean advertised home loan rates that start with a 3 rather than a 4.  Now is an excellent time to take a look at what interest rate you are currently paying on your home loan.  You can visit www.joustnow.com and see how the Joust panel of home loan lenders will bid against each other and battle it out in a “live,” real time auction to refinance your existing home loan.   With Joust you can run your auction in a time frame that suits you and then see exactly how much you could save.  It’s free to use and without any obligation. 

The remainder of 2016 will be a very interesting period for Australian consumers.  With the federal election due to be held in July, it is very difficult to predict the future direction of the economy and interest rates.  If you are like many Australians and have an existing mortgage on your home, it’s well worth taking a close look at Joust to discover what options are available to reduce your interest expense.

Banks join online mortgage platform that bypasses brokers

WRITTEN BY
James Mitchell
May 02, 2016

Several regional banks and credit unions are expected to begin providing home loans via a new online platform that aims to “take business from brokers”.

South Australian-based fintech start-up Joust is preparing its innovative real time platform which lenders can use to compete for the home loan business.

The brainchild of former major bank executive Mark Bevan, Joust created an online marketplace which connects consumers directly with lenders via a live auction process. Bids from the lenders can be seen in real time on a desktop or smart device.

Adelaide Bank, Beyond Bank, People’s Choice Credit Union and Bank SA are expected to join Bank of Queensland, Gateway Credit Union and Australian Unity as “foundation lenders” on the new platform.

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What makes Joust different

Joust has chosen to play in a very exciting arena. Fintech and digital disruption is not for the faint hearted. When Joust began its journey, we knew we would be in a race to get to market first. Every month we learned about a new business model that may or may not be a competitive threat to Joust.

Like a lot of businesses, we formalised a process of analysing and monitoring potential alternative business models – both in Australia and overseas. Thankfully, without exception, we know that Joust is truly unique.

Communicating the Joust difference

The big challenge for us is communicating the distinction between Joust and other players. We frequently see excellent advertising, editorial and digital marketing that suggests that digital disruption of the home loan market has already arrived. But let’s stop here for a moment.

The evolution of the home loan market in Australia over the last 40 years is a structured one. Prior to deregulation in the 1980’s, a consumer would need to save at least a 20% deposit with a bank – and over a consistent period of at least 12 months before even thinking about an appointment with the bank manager. Deregulation led to a bit of breathing space. We saw the emergence of insured loans where borrowers didn’t need to provide the full 20% equity. 

As local bank branches began to centralise in the 1990’s, staffing and service levels began to reduce and we saw mortgage brokers emerge with a better service offering than banks. Mortgage brokers seemed like they were working on the consumers’ behalf, for example loan documents were often signed on the kitchen table in the evening. As banks and other lenders tried to innovate, the home loan choices became more complex. And confusion followed…

Confusion played into the hands of mortgage brokers

This confusion has led to the market share of home loan settlements originated by brokers increasing to over 50% in Australia.  A more recent phenomenon in the home loan market is the “comparison site”. This model is particularly successful for hotels, flights and insurance.

We do more and more of our research online – and this includes financial services products. You, the consumer, are now more confident than ever online. However, the limitation of comparison sites is the endless complexity and confusion – and the process doesn’t provide anything other than static data and a button to click to go to a service providers’ site.

You don’t need to review sixteen different product variations or packages from 31 different lenders.  

Joust isn’t static… we’re live and dynamic

Enter Joust. Joust has successfully negotiated with all of its partner lenders to offer a normalised variable rate home loan for owner-occupier consumers with a good credit rating and are considered prime borrowers. What this means is that you have a minimum of 20% equity in your home. With Joust, you can easily determine the best rate bid. No more confusion for consumers with straightforward home loan needs.

A number of new “Fintech” or digital disruption players suggest that they’re running an auction or bidding process. But the reality is, they are merely the collation of a handful of standard or discounted package offers from their panel of lenders – presented to consumers in no particular order or with a “recommendation” from an intermediary.

Joust creates a true online market place where lenders bid live, against each other, with total transparency – directly to your device and in a timeframe of your choosing. No standard, carded rates or standard broker rates, but a specific rate that the lenders are prepared to bid for your individual business.

And who doesn’t love a bit of competitive tension... The lenders can see if they have been out bid, so they can bid again (and again) if they wish. And you get the best outcome. You win.

Joust is like e-Bay, in reverse

All from the comfort of your lounge chair, on the bus to work, or in a coffee shop, you’ll always win with Joust. No appointments, no filling out forms, no annoying pestering phone calls… Just a panel of banks and lenders chasing your business for exactly what it’s worth. 

To see if Joust is for you, check out www.joustnow.com.au and give it a go. Be part of the best thing to happen to home loans since deregulation.

Mark Bevan, Joust Managing Director

 

The future of advertising

Before co-founding Joust, I worked for two of Australia’s largest banks – for a total of 31 years. Throughout that time, it was drummed into us that it was extremely difficult to compete on “product.” Anything new that was developed by one bank would quickly be replicated by another. The only true way to compete was on service… we were told.

But there were some notable exceptions. Commonwealth Bank had the Commsec business and product offering that most of its competitors couldn’t replicate – at least quickly. Westpac had an Insurance Premium Funding product that very few competitors sought to offer. However, on the whole, the idea that all major competitors having the same or similar products certainly held true.

Financial service products are commoditised.

New online market places and digital disrupters like Joust reinforce the fact that financial services products are generic and increasingly commoditised. A unique feature of the Joust platform is that our partner lenders have agreed to a “normalised” method of presenting their home loan products. On this basis, Joust successfully removes complexity and confusion for consumers… so that everyone can compare “apples with apples.”

What we predict at Joust is that the future of bank advertising will change. It’s going to be less about credit cards, award points and bundled products, with questionable features. Instead service, reputation, physical presence, convenience, and affiliation with the community will lead the way – the future battlegrounds for the hearts and minds of digital savvy consumers in Australia.

Keep an eye out for this trend and make sure you take advantage of the competitive tension, independence, and transparency that Joust offers.

To learn more about how Joust works, visit www.joustnow.com.au

Mark Bevan, Joust Managing Director

Winter is coming ….. and so is Joust

The team at HBO do a fantastic job of building anticipation for the new series six of Game of Thrones.  We will get to see it here in Australia at the “same time as the US.”  My family has enjoyed all of the previous Game of Thrones series and like many Australian households are eagerly awaiting the beginning of Season 6, this weekend.  At Joust, we too have been counting down the weeks until our launch in South Australia.  We expect to sneak in just before winter starts here in Adelaide. 

South Australian consumers will be able to watch our seven lenders bid live against each other, in real time, with no middleman - straight back to your smart phone, tablet or personal computer.  We don’t expect things to be quite as blood thirsty as they are sure to be in Westeros – but in the Joust "Game of Loans" we are expecting to see fierce battles deliver you the best home loan rates in the land.

I will be sure to set my Foxtel IQ for Game of Thrones this Monday.  To make sure you don’t miss the launch of Joust in South Australia – register your email address on the Joust home page at www.joustnow.com.au and we will send you a reminder when we go live.

Mark Bevan Founder of Joust and fan of the Stark family, Tyrion.....and maybe Jamie.

Use Joust and avoid the lender stalking game

We’ve all experienced this. You’ve used a comparison website or the like, to then have multiple financial organisations bombarding you. You know, those phone calls and emails. And what’s worst of all, calling your number repeatedly and not even leaving a message! Blocking numbers is a great feature on your mobile, isn’t it? 

Many home loan comparison websites and other platforms promise to make life easier for you, but in fact, deliver the opposite. They set the trap by asking you to provide an email or a mobile number to continue through a process. Sometimes it’s a cheeky, innocent opt-in check box, which leads to the chase – trying to get your business. 

Joust takes out the middleman.

At Joust, we strongly dislike 'stalky' sales tactics – and from our research, we expect you do too. We have intentionally designed the Joust platform with customer privacy at the forefront. Our Jousters being in complete control is fundamental to the journey. 

Find a better home loan… without the annoying sales people.

When you Joust, you’re in total control of your personal information. Your details are only shared with the winning lender, if and when you decide to accept a home loan offer for your new house purchase, renovation or mortgage refinance. If you Joust but then decide not to accept any loan offers, your details are never shared. You won’t hear from any pesky sales people…ever… 

If you decide not to accept an offer from Joust, you will only hear from us in a follow up email – so we can politely ask why Joust didn’t meet your needs at this time. And of course, we may ask if there is anything we can do to improve the Joust experience. 

After this point in time you will only ever hear from Joust again if you decide to opt into our email list or you follow us on our social media channels. We would love you to allow us to keep in touch, as we want to maintain a two-way conversation with Jousters, but it’s completely up to you. 

We know that Australians are looking for more control over their financial lives, and we have a strong vision that the people (hopefully you) will enjoy being in total control when using Joust. Being able to Joust anonymously is a key aspect of delivering this. 

Joust will launch at the end of May so return to our website then to start your Joust.

Damien Mair, Joust Co-Founder