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Neo-lender looks to become bank in 2019

A new digital lender has said it expects to receive its full banking licence in the first quarter of 2019 and will launch with deposits, followed by mortgages.

Wholly owned by payments solution business Cuscal, 86 400 is a new digital player that aims to challenge the traditional lending landscape.

86 400 —  named after the number of seconds in a day — intends to launch to the public in the first quarter of 2019, after receiving its banking licence.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, the lender said that it has already celebrated several milestones, despite still being in beta testing and field-testing mode.

CEO Robert Bell elaborated: “There are a couple of things that have happened in the past six months that have been really important steps in us becoming a bank early next year and launching to customers. 

“The first is that our core banking system is live and operational and has been for a number of months. The second is that we actually have our banking app, the beta version of the app, in the market. While it is just with our staff at this stage, using corporate dollars, it is effectively live in production and our staff have been testing that out and making payments with physical cards as well as payments with their mobile phones by Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. 

“All those things are fundamentals and basics you need to launch a fully functional bank, but they all take a considerable amount of work, so they are really big milestones for us.” 

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Mr Bell continued: “What is really important is that we’ve spent a lot of time and energy and resources on our customer experience engine, which is a piece of technology that enable us to deliver a really good experience through a mobile banking app, so that is also live. We are looking to use technology as much as possible to make it as easy as possible to fulfil our loans.”

The CEO added that the lender had been building up its team of staff over the past six months, adding that they had recently appointed George Srbinovski, AFG’s senior recruitment and portfolio manager NSW/ACT, as its national manager of broker distribution to help develop and deliver its broker strategy and build a broker-friendly mortgage product. 

“It is also worth noting that we have built up the team significantly in that time, and we are now a team of 80 people, including many experienced bankers, but also many technological experts, engineers, software developers, customer experience experts, useability testing experts... So lots of people in the team compared to where we were six months ago,” Mr Bell said. 

He concluded: “We said right from the start that our intention is not to create a small, niche bank. We want to really provide a genuine alternative to the big four banks. But the reality is that you have to start somewhere, and where we are starting obviously is with transaction accounts, savings accounts and home loans. 

“Further down the track, we will look at additional products. But at this stage, we’re focused on those three. Quality is our number one focus right now.”

[Related: Open banking about ‘creating value for customers’: Neobanks]


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