Nano: Reshaping the Australian mortgage market
Digital lender Nano Digital Home Loans is an Australian fintech lender offering the country’s first end-to-end digital mortgage service.
Nano was founded by ex-Westpac executives Andrew Walker and Chris Lumby. We had the chance to speak with Andrew Walker, Co-Founder and CEO of Nano Digital Home Loans, who said that Nano was born from the belief that technology and data should reshape the traditional home loan industry, making it simple, fast and fair.
The financial service systems of today often have opaque pricing and complex processes. Many traditional lenders struggle to keep pace with technological developments and continue to use outdated systems, making the process long and tedious. Many consumers looking to buy or refinance a home are forced to fill out many forms and supply a range of paperwork such as payslips and bank statements. This often follows a lengthy waiting period for the application to be manually reviewed and processed before getting a response.
Impatient for change, the Nano team set out to reshape the home loan approval process using digital, data and design capabilities to create a borrowing experience that puts homeowners in control. Mr Walker noted that Nano has helped its customers save an average of $70,000 over the life of a loan.*
Nano offers an online application and loan decision-making service. Unlike other lenders, it uses automated property valuations, digital credit scores, automatic retrieval of banking transaction data, and digital verification of identity using biometrics. Mr Walker says that with this data and technology, Nano delivers home loan approvals in less than 10 minutes.
The digital experience isn’t limited to the home loan approval process. Nano offers its direct customers a range of everyday services via its app, for example, Nano Visa debit card and offset sub-account help homeowners with their finances and saving on interest repayments.
“When you refinance your home loan with Nano, we then provide one place to borrow, purchase, pay and tuck money away, all without fees,” Mr Walker said.
“What we have done is pulled the functionality of traditional banking apart and re-bundled it innovatively to put the mortgage at the centre of it,” he said.
One of Nano’s biggest challenges to date has been scaling the business up during the COVID pandemic and the lockdowns which hit its home state of NSW. NSW went into COVID lockdown a week before Nano launched its first product. Despite this, the team has grown over 50% over the last few months, with half of the team not having met face to face.
Andrew Walker said: “The challenge has really been keeping the culture and organisation aligned, as we scale – virtually. As a result, we’ve had to completely relook at our onboarding, internal communications, and practices, to ensure we’re all staying united in working to the same common goal, as we scale.”
In just three months from its public launch, Nano saw its loan book grow to over $200 million in approved loans, with more than 80% of demand coming from customers of one of the traditional banks.
Mr Walker was proud to note that, in September this year, Nano was awarded an innovation patent for its proprietary loan application and decision-making technology. The Innovation Patent for the ‘Automated Real-Time Digital Mortgage Application and Decisioning Engine’ granted by the Australian Patents Office confirmed the uniqueness of Nano’s platform and recognised the innovative nature of its data-driven technology.
Nano’s next step is to extend the reach of its platform through a series of strategic partnerships.
This month Nano announced a major agreement with US computer giant Oracle. “By combining Nano’s innovative, data-driven credit-onboarding with Oracle’s trusted and proven banking platform, partner banks are bringing the scale and experience of the world’s leading banking platform providers to the digital mortgage revolution,” says Mr Walker.
“We’re really excited about this partnership. It gives us scale, credibility, horsepower and an accelerated pathway into a global market which is extremely valuable for a company at our stage.”
“Digital is the new frontline of competition across the industry. Those that cannot meet the new digital service standard will face a Blockbuster moment,” Mr Walker concluded.
* $70,475 is the average interest savings Nano customers have saved over the life of their loan by switching to Nano as at 24 Aug-21.