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.

Read the full article

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

Non-advice products vs. advice products

My parents provided me with heaps of great advice when I was growing up. And I’ve offered my two sons plenty of advice, too – although not quite all of it gets used. The nice thing about advice from parents is that it’s free.

A bit like the situation with parents, when it comes to home loans there is no shortage of advice on offer. Your home loan is a major decision, but there is a myth that has been created that it needs to be complicated. But it’s just that… a myth.

If I’m a young person and don’t have much of a deposit for my new house, I can probably do with some advice. If I have multiple investment properties and want to minimise my personal taxation, I should certainly be open to advice. If my credit history is a bit chequered and I have previously had financial problems, advice about borrowing for a house would be helpful. If I am self-employed and my taxable income fluctuates, advice from your bank manager, accountant or a mortgage broker may give me a better result.  

However, if I own my house and let’s say it is worth $700,000, let’s assume my existing home loan balance is $220,000 and I have a steady job. I really do not need to be paying for advice – I just need the best home loan interest rate available.

The best things in life are free…

Unlike good advice from parents, advice about mortgages from middlemen is not free. Unfortunately, those intermediaries are extracting value from the home loan value chain that could be passed on by banks and lenders to the good consumer.

Enter Joust…

Joust plans to revolutionise this part of the home loan market in Australia.  Thousands of Australian's home loan needs are not complex. There is no need for good customers to be missing out on the interest rate benefits that can flow from removing the middleman. 

Visit www.joustnow.com.au to see if Joust is for you… that is, great advice, and like advice from our mums and dad, it’s free. 

Mark Bevan, Joust Founder

How can you possibly link the Bachelorette and home loans?

I read this week that casting for Season 5 of the Bachelorette was getting underway at Channel 10. My son had his girlfriend over last year during the last season. This forced the household, including me, to watch the last two episodes of the Bachelorette (that’s my story, anyway).

The poor guys on the show really had to put their best foot forward – and inevitably there could be only one winner. The girl certainly seemed to fancy at least a few of the guys and it was a hard fought competition. It made me think of the Joust process. Joust promises to deliver a similar experience, but for home loan customers.

If you can picture yourself being the highly sought after female character in the Bachelorette… and the banks are the enthusiastic male contestants. Joust will launch in South Australia next month and will introduce an absolute first for how you obtain a new home loan. 

The lenders participating on the Joust platform will be putting their best foot forward and competing fiercely for the heart of the valued consumer. Just like the Bachelorette, there will be a very excited winner… you, the happy consumer. 

To see how Joust works visit www.joustnow.com.au. 

Mark Bevan, Joust Founder

Our 500-day start-up journey: It won’t happen overnight

There’s no shortage of content on entrepreneurship and start-ups. And a lot of what’s out there romanticises start-ups. It goes something like this…

The founders have a great idea. A terrific team is formed, who work long hours to design and build the product – which of course, solves a problem. Off to market they go. With fame and fortune just around the corner.

It’s not always like this, in reality.

The Joust team are looking forward to launch next month – and it’s a great time to reflect on our start-up journey. By the time we help our first customer, our team will have been working on Joust for approximately 500 days. A lot of late nights, early mornings and coffee hits.

We began mulling over our ideas late in 2014, and took the decision to create Joust in January 2015. In those early months, having a good idea and dreaming of what it could be was fun. We were optimistic, which fuelled the fire for all of those 500 days. Thoughts were focussed on how we would be helping customers in August or September 2015. A start-up takes a mountain of work and more importantly, a committed and dedicated team.

Forming a strong team is just as important as the great idea – and it doesn’t happen overnight. There are lots of pieces to our team puzzle, which fell nicely into place in 2015. At every turn, we discovered more had to be done. We required new skillsets at different points.

Finding that “angel” investment is crucial for many start-ups – and Joust was no different. After pitching and presenting for many months, our angel investment round finally came together in September 2015. By October, we had our funding to get us through to a planned launch. At that stage, it was planned for March or April 2016.

Now, we all love Christmas holidays but you guessed it – Christmas holidays interfered with our launch date. As 2015 drew to a close, we were still discovering more streams of work to be undertaken. 

In January 2016, our planning and scheduling meant we had a level of confidence about launching Joust in May 2016. Gratefully, our team continues to tackle the pile of work, which grows each day.

It’s now April, and we find ourselves just six weeks from our scheduled launch. Stress  levels, adrenaline and anticipation are all running high. Many people think start-ups become successful overnight. 500 days from initial concept to helping our first customer, is anything but overnight.

It’s all been worth it. The Joust team can’t wait to help hundreds of Australians achieve a fantastic outcome for their home loans.  Be sure to register at www.joustnow.com.au to be alerted as soon as Joust is available in your state. 

Mark Bevan, Joust Founder

What home loan calculators can’t do

Everybody seems to be getting researching these days. That’s the power of the internet.

If you’re a parent of high school aged children, you’ll be familiar with the “Research Project.” It’s part of the Year 11 and Year 12 school curriculum. We’re trained from an early age to research.

Researching, when it comes to home loans, is a good idea. Home loan calculators are often used to give us an idea of how much our mortgage repayments could be. But unfortunately, they don’t tell us everything.

Home loan calculators aren’t the complete picture

If you know your loan amount, loan term and interest rate, a home loan calculator can accurately estimate your monthly or fortnightly repayment amount.  But if you’re thinking about refinancing or increasing your existing home loan, then the ultimate mortgage calculator is Joust

By running a “Joust” on www.joustnow.com.au, up to seven lenders will bid against each other for your home loan business… in real-time.  You even get to set the time-frame for the bids to be received. Talk about full control!

Nowhere else can you hope to create this kind of competitive tension, with just the click of a few buttons – and from the comfort of your lounge chair.

With Joust, we do the matchmaking for you. Sit back and watch the live bids come back to you from the lenders – directly on to your laptop, tablet or mobile phone.  

The bids include your monthly or fortnightly repayments. So manually entering assumptions into a mortgage calculator seems a bit "old school" now, doesn’t it?

I bet our kids wish their “Research Projects” were that easy.

To find out more about how Joust works and whether it’s for you, or email us at info@joustnow.com.au.

Mark Bevan, Joust Founder

 

 

 

 

What’s wrong with honeymoons?

Honeymoon. You’re probably thinking of a white sandy beach, right? Sounds pretty great!

Well, honeymoon rates can be a big downer when it comes to home loans.

Lenders introduce honeymoon rates to new customers – luring them in with enticing headline interest rates.

Comparison websites only add to the confusion, making it complex to look for a good home loan rate. These sites generally list the standard offers available from lenders – and if they’re sorted lowest to highest, it’s likely that low “honeymoon” rates will be at the top of the list.

If you’re like most of us, we don’t scroll too far down a screen to look for dearer options. But there lies the danger. Unfortunately, all honeymoons come to an end.

Year two, and the honeymoon is over.

If you enter into a new home loan with a honeymoon rate, for perhaps the first year of your loan, you’ll enjoy an excellent interest rate. But then the honeymoon period expires and your rate changes to a standard variable rate – possibly for the next 24 years.

So, over almost the entire loan, you’re probably worse off than any new customer. In fact, there’s a chance that you will be worse off than most other bank customers.

At Joust, we put you, the homeowner, in charge.

The terrific lenders who have signed up to the new Joust platform have agreed to compete for your business on a “normalised” basis. This means that on the Joust platform you will always be comparing “apples with apples.” At last, no more confusion.

Anytime is a great time to “Joust” your home loan – but if you’re coming towards the end of a honeymoon period with your existing bank, get Jousting.

Find out more about how Joust works and whether it’s for you, or email us at info@joustnow.com.au.

Let’s find you a home loan that you’ll never fall out of love with. 

Mark Bevan, Joust Founder

Better Call Bill …..before accepting advice on fixed rate home loans

Interest rates are at a multi-generation low. This means it’s a terrific time to be a home loan borrower – but we’ve got a word of caution for you before you act on any advice about fixing your home loan interest rate.

Let’s start by looking at what a ‘fixed rate’ home loan is.    

Should you fix your home loan rate?

Fixed rate home loans are usually for a set period of time – often 1-5 years. After this time, the loan will usually revert to a ‘variable’ rate loan that fluctuates, normally with the Reserve Bank rates.

Although fixing your home loan makes budgeting easier and rate rises don’t affect you, you could potentially miss out when rates drop – so you’ll be paying more than you need to.

If rates go down below your fixed rate, you’ll be repaying more than the variable rate. Importantly, most fixed rate loans limit the amount of extra payments you can make each year.

Fixed rate loans may also have a ‘break’ fee, if you change or repay your loan within the set period e.g. if you sell your home.

According to Your Mortgage, the Government has abolished exit penalties on some mortgages – yes, some.  

Don’t be misinformed… take control of your home loan

Hard-working bank managers, home loan specialists and mortgage brokers rarely hold degrees in economics. It is simply unrealistic to think that these specialists can keep up with the mountains of domestic and global economic data that influence the future direction of interest rates.

My home loan is currently with Westpac so taking interest rate advice from anyone less qualified than Westpac Chief Economist Bill Evans or his counterparts at the large Australian banks, really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  It certainly is a great time to be a home loan borrower but here at Joust, we encourage you to exercise a degree of caution before rushing in to any fixed rate offers.

Own your home loan – not just your house. Spend the time to understand why you have the loan you do, and if it’s the best loan for your individual needs. Only then can you get the best possible price you can. 

Find out how Joust works and whether it’s for you, or email us at info@joustnow.com.au.

Mark Bevan, Joust Founder

Staff discounts are not what they used to be

Back in the day, when it came to home loan interest rates, banks were very generous to their staff. In the 1980s, bank staff were eligible for home loan rate discounts, up to 55% from the standard variable rate.

Bank staff were saving up to 7 per cent.

Now, I’m old enough to remember the “bad old days” of home loan rates of 17.5%, but for the sake of calculation lets use 13.5%. Home loan interest rates hovered around this level for several years. Bank staff were entitled to a home loan rate of 6.5% – that’s a huge saving of 7% off the lending rate.  No wonder banks were considered such great employers.

In saying this, it was still well regulated and there were sensible restrictions on the amount a staff member could borrow.

Fast-forward to December 2014. I was fortunate enough to still be employed by one of the major banks – and enjoyed the benefit of a modest staff discount on my home loan. When I left the bank in January 2015, I was pleased to learn that my staff discount would be maintained. Now fast-forward again to May 2016 – to the date of Joust’s launch.

Taking control of my home loan.

I’m going to be one of Joust’s first customers. Why, you ask… when I’m already saving more than most? And it’s not just because I’m Joust’s Managing Director.

With my old staff discount, I’m currently paying an interest rate of 4.68% per annum. Yes, I am in a better boat than most, but there’s something I’m even more certain of – things change, and so do home loan interest rates. I’m confident that the best lenders in South Australia will compete hard for my home loan business.

Joust makes it easy for everyone to save money on their home loan rates… not just ex-bank employees.

I’m predicting I’ll be able to save as much as 0.60% per annum. I look forward to sharing with you all how much I’ve saved by refinancing my home loan using Joust – or as we like to call it “jousting my home loan.”

May your best rate win!

To see if Joust is right for you, click here. And if you’ve got any questions, fill in a contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Mark Bevan, Joust Founder.