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Former NAB exec warns of ‘tsunami of change’ in mortgages

A former major bank executive and founder of a new Australian mortgage provider believes that the banking establishment is not equipped with the tools to survive a “massive” wave of change approaching the market.

Xinja CEO Eric Wilson told the Productivity Commission (PC) on Wednesday (28 February) that regulatory change is critical in order for the industry to adapt to major looming structural changes.

“It is of major concern to me that one of the key parts of our economy is completely unprepared for the tsunami of change that is coming towards it,” Mr Wilson said.

“It concerns me deeply that we’re sticking our heads in the sand rather than stepping up and making regulatory changes.

“Making technological changes, [changing] business models [and making] changes to cope and survive with this massive tsunami of change that is coming.

The Xinja CEO added that “unsustainable” branch networks could be making way for a “revolution” in the way products and services are provided to customers.  

Mr Wilson claimed that in three to six years, borrowers would have access to an international mortgage marketplace as barriers to entry begin to “disintegrate”.

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“[There are] distributed ledger technologies, supra-national and supra-currency arbitrages across different product sects,” the CEO said. 

Mr Wilson told the PC that it won’t be that long before Australians who want to get a mortgage are able to arbitrage lenders from around the world and arbitrage currencies around the world.

“It’ll all be packaged up nice and easily in a consumer retail bundle,” Mr Wilson continued. “That market already exists [and it] is just a case of it maturing a little bit and us being ready to enter into it.”

The crowdfunded online lender recently received an Australian credit license (ACL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and it also plans to apply for an Australian Financial Services licence (AFSL) and a banking licence to become an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI).

Mr Wilson argued that new entrants should be encouraged to enter the market to boost competition.

However, also speaking at the PC hearing, chief financial officer of the Commonwealth Bank Rob Jesudason claimed that the industry is already “highly competitive”.

“Competition is alive and kicking, and we come into the market every day having invested in the franchise to meet that competition,” Mr Jesudason said.

“Our organisational response is to invest in technology and the customer experience and you can see that translate into high satisfaction levels.”

[Related: Crowdfunded neobank receives credit license]

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