Westpac has been pumping $16.5 million into a ‘self-broker’ home loan startup

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 12: Members of the public walk past a Westpac bank on May 12, 2008 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

While the other major Australian banks have invested in the lucrative home loan broking space, Westpac has not dipped its toes in. Until now.

Last week Westpac revealed that it has put $16.5 million of “strategic investment” into ‘self-broking’ fintech startup Uno.

“Uno’s success has been impressive and we’re seeing its potential to become a serious player in the home loan market,” said Westpac chief strategy officer Gary Thursby.

“Westpac has been involved since the concept phase, and today we’re pleased to announce we will increase our involvement in uno as a strategic investor.”

Uno, which launched in May this year, is attracting customers with a unique model in which advisory staff do not receive commissions from home loan providers. Customers compare home loans on Uno then make a decision with advice and support from those in-house experts.

Founder and chief executive Vincent Turner told Business Insider that this deliberate avoidance of a “sales culture” has lead to “million of dollars” of home loans signed up by Uno users in the first three months.

“We’ve grown to 34 employees to meet the service demands of thousands of registered customers who have used the platform to compare more than $400 million worth of mortgages,” he said, compared to 29 staff at launch.

“With the support of our investors we’ve worked hard to test and enhance the customer experience, as well as finesse the functionality of our original platform to include options such as new calculators and video chat.”

Westpac is one of the lenders featured on the Uno comparison but Thursby told Business Insider that the bank has no operational involvement in the startup.