AUSTRALIA’S MOST POPULAR BUSINESS PODCAST

Fear & Greed, Fear and Greed

Artificial intelligence is making everything faster – including finding a loan.

Julian Fayad, founder and CEO of LoanOptions.AI, talks to Sean Aylmer about how AI has changed the lending market – and how his technology has seen loans delivered almost faster than a pizza.

LoanOptions.AI is a supporter of Fear and Greed

Find out more: https://fearandgreed.com.au

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Sean Aylmer: Welcome to the Fear and Greed Business interview, I’m Sean

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Sean Aylmer: Aylmer. This year we’re expecting to see a bit more

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Sean Aylmer: competition in the lending market. Interest rates are tipped to

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Sean Aylmer: start coming down eventually, and we’ve already seen signs that

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Sean Aylmer: the banks are getting a bit more competitive in attracting

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Sean Aylmer: and retaining customers. So that might be a home loan, it might be

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Sean Aylmer: a car loan, it might be a personal loan, all

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Sean Aylmer: sorts of things. You could go to a broker, go

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Sean Aylmer: to a bank, or perhaps since it’s 2024, you could

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Sean Aylmer: use AI instead, LoanOptions. ai does exactly that. It’s a neobank disruptor

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Sean Aylmer: that uses artificial intelligence to almost entirely automate the loan

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Sean Aylmer: application process. It’s a fascinating insight into the way AI

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Sean Aylmer: is changing the way we function. Julian Fayed is the

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Sean Aylmer: founder and CEO of LoanOptions. ai, which is a great

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Sean Aylmer: supporter of this podcast. Julian, welcome to Fear and Greed.

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Julian Fayed: Thank you so much for having me, Sean. Really excited

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Julian Fayed: to be here.

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Sean Aylmer: Now, let’s go to the very basics. I used the term

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Sean Aylmer: neobank earlier on. What is a neobank or a neobroker?

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Julian Fayed: Yeah, so neobanks, essentially the term neo is like the

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Julian Fayed: next generation of… Is essentially what it symbolizes. And so

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Julian Fayed: this is the next generation of broking. There was neobanks

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Julian Fayed: and that’s kind of where the term became popularized with

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Julian Fayed: the likes of 86 400 coming into the market and up

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Julian Fayed: bank and some of the others who’ve had great success

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Julian Fayed: and some that unfortunately didn’t have great success. And I

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Julian Fayed: think that is, I guess what the term means is

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Julian Fayed: that we are looking to propel the next generation of

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Julian Fayed: broking. We’re propelling the industry further forward using the latest

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Julian Fayed: technology cutting edge solutions to help clients.

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Sean Aylmer: Okay, so that’s neobanks, new generation. Take me through how LoanOptions.

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Sean Aylmer: ai, and that’s capital L- o- a- n- O- p- t- i- o- n- s.

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Sean Aylmer: ai Works. Where does the AI come into it?

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Julian Fayed: Yeah. So essentially the way the technology works is it’s

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Julian Fayed: looking at a lot of historical customer data, our customer

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Julian Fayed: data, and actually providing a probability of approval with specific

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Julian Fayed: lenders. So we have more than 75 banks and lenders

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Julian Fayed: ranging from Tier 1 major Australian banks right through to non-

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Julian Fayed: bank, mid- prime, and down to subprime, non- conforming lenders

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Julian Fayed: for clients with challenge credit histories. But essentially what happens

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Julian Fayed: is it’s looking at all of their specifics in their

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Julian Fayed: application, their credit score, how long they’ve been in their

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Julian Fayed: job, are they full- time or casual, are they self-

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Julian Fayed: employed? How old are they?
It’s looking at their risk

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Julian Fayed: profile and all of the data points on their application, and

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Julian Fayed: then using the AI technology to match against the most

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Julian Fayed: likely to approve lender. The technology has multiple layers, so

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Julian Fayed: there’s of course a credit decisioning engine where we’ve reverse

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Julian Fayed: engineered the lender’s credit policies into that. And the AI

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Julian Fayed: is another layer that sits on top. So you’ve got

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Julian Fayed: expert credit analysts in the business that are assessing deals

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Julian Fayed: the way that a bank would assess a deal, providing

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Julian Fayed: their thoughts and their interpretations of the bank’s credit policy.

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Julian Fayed: And then over that, we’ve got the AI which comes

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Julian Fayed: on top.

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Sean Aylmer: Okay. So there’s a few things to break down in

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Sean Aylmer: that. How do you get all the data? Obviously the lenders are

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Sean Aylmer: prepared to give it to you, or is it through

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Sean Aylmer: the recent regulatory changes over the past couple of years

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Sean Aylmer: where you can actually access data easier? What’s the deal there?

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Julian Fayed: Yeah, so for the lender credit policy side, that’s been

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Julian Fayed: through building long- term sustainable relationships with them. They’re not

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Julian Fayed: always willing to provide all of their credit policy data.

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Julian Fayed: They’ll usually provide a credit guide or some kind of

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Julian Fayed: guide to their credit policy, which outlines some basics, but

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Julian Fayed: we really go into the nitty- gritty, how many bank

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Julian Fayed: dishonors are they allowed to have on their bank statement?

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Julian Fayed: What percentage of gambling transactions can they have down to

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Julian Fayed: the real sort granular, and that’s through long- term sustainable

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Julian Fayed: relationships that we’re able to do that. But equally, data

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Julian Fayed: is becoming more and more accessible through technologies like APIs

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Julian Fayed: that the lenders are building. We’re able to call directly

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Julian Fayed: their credit policy and credit pricing information and bring that

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Julian Fayed: back to surface it to our customers.

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Sean Aylmer: And I mean, I suppose that’s the other point which

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Sean Aylmer: is worthwhile explaining to listeners. Not all banks or not

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Sean Aylmer: all lenders are the same when it comes to credit.

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Julian Fayed: Yeah, that’s a real big one, and that’s really how

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Julian Fayed: we built our whole business model. When I first started broking

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Julian Fayed: about 12 or 13 years ago, you probably could get away with

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Julian Fayed: having about 10 lenders or so and you kind of

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Julian Fayed: find the right solution with those 10 lenders. But lending

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Julian Fayed: has changed. A lot of regulation has come in to ever-

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Julian Fayed: increasing rate environment. So serviceability and other, since COVID, a

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Julian Fayed: lot of lenders have changed their credit appetite. So a

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Julian Fayed: lot of things have changed in the last sort of

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Julian Fayed: three or four years that has each time it’s actually

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Julian Fayed: changed the way that people can access money, and it’s more

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Julian Fayed: often not actually made it harder for people to access

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Julian Fayed: money. So 10 lenders won’t cut it anymore. You really

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Julian Fayed: need to engage a broker or a service that has

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Julian Fayed: a far greater panel of lenders. That way they can

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Julian Fayed: actually find the solution and get you the maximum borrowing

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Julian Fayed: capacity or get you that car that you’re looking to

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Julian Fayed: buy or refinance a bunch of debt that’s causing you

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Julian Fayed: some financial strife, whatever the solution needs to be.

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Sean Aylmer: Stay with me, Julian. We’ll be back in a moment.

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Sean Aylmer: I am speaking to Julian Fayed, founder and CEO of LoanOptions. ai.

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Sean Aylmer: Okay, so given the background that you have it there

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Sean Aylmer: with some pretty cool model cars, I presume you do

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Sean Aylmer: car loans?

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Julian Fayed: Yeah, absolutely. Car loans is kind of how we started.

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Julian Fayed: That was the bread and butter, and we slowly over

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Julian Fayed: time expanded to become experts in other areas. I’m a

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Julian Fayed: current enthusiast by nature and by designer. We’ve got a

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Julian Fayed: lot of racing paraphernalia in our office, if you will.

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Julian Fayed: We’ve got a racing simulator and all sorts of racing

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Julian Fayed: inspired artwork and bits and pieces. But one thing that

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Julian Fayed: is in our DNA speed, LoanOptions. ai was designed to

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Julian Fayed: make the application process really, really fast for customers. And

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Julian Fayed: in the most recent version, the LO 3.0 version that we’ve just

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Julian Fayed: deployed before Christmas, we decreased the time it takes for

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Julian Fayed: a client to apply from circa 10 minutes to nearly

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Julian Fayed: in half. So we reduced it by 50% to five

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Julian Fayed: minutes for an end- to- end application with all the technologies that

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Julian Fayed: we’ve built.

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Sean Aylmer: Wow. So really dumb it down for someone like me.

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Sean Aylmer: So I want to get a loan for a car,

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Sean Aylmer: maybe I want to consolidate debt. I’ve got a bunch

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Sean Aylmer: of credit cards, that type of thing. I can go,

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Sean Aylmer: I can apply online presumably, and you have access to

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Sean Aylmer: a lot of my data. So if I give you

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Sean Aylmer: my bank account or whatever the information is you need,

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Sean Aylmer: you can access my banking track record, my credit record,

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Sean Aylmer: et cetera, and turns it around using technology to kind

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Sean Aylmer: of say, ” Well, if you want to go and consolidate

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Sean Aylmer: your debt, this is some places you should go.”

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Julian Fayed: Yeah. So here’s how it works. We built a piece

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Julian Fayed: of technology called an Auto Complete Engine, and so what

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Julian Fayed: it does is first we get the customer’s consent. They

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Julian Fayed: tell us first up what type of loan they want,

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Julian Fayed: how much they’re looking to borrow and over what period.

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Julian Fayed: And of course they can go back and amend any

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Julian Fayed: of that if the repayments aren’t what they want. So they

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Julian Fayed: do that. The next thing they do is consent to

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Julian Fayed: the process. They provide their name, email address and phone

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Julian Fayed: number, tick the consent button. That enables us to handle

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Julian Fayed: their personal information securely and safely. They upload a copy

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Julian Fayed: of their driver’s license, instead of having to type out

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Julian Fayed: all of that information, like the driver’s license number, the

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Julian Fayed: expiry date, all that kind of stuff, the OCR technology

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Julian Fayed: or optical character recognition technology that we built reads the

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Julian Fayed: data from the license and pre- fills their application with

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Julian Fayed: all of that information. They can then double check it

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Julian Fayed: and make sure that it is accurate.
Maybe they’ve moved

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Julian Fayed: address or they need to put the new address on

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Julian Fayed: there. Then they move through the stage two. Stage two

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Julian Fayed: is where they connect their bank account. So that’s using

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Julian Fayed: a secure service from illion, which is one of Australia’s

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Julian Fayed: biggest data bureaus. And once they’ve connected that, that’ll actually pre-

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Julian Fayed: fill all of their income and expenses without somebody sitting

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Julian Fayed: there, reading line by line what they had for breakfast

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Julian Fayed: three months ago or getting into the personal nitty- gritty

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Julian Fayed: of their transactions. And then what happens is it does

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Julian Fayed: a soft check on their credit file, so it doesn’t

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Julian Fayed: put any footprint on their credit file, it doesn’t impact

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Julian Fayed: their credit score, which is really, really important.
Many other

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Julian Fayed: brokers and services actually do that, and it actually harms

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Julian Fayed: their credit score and it takes all the information from

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Julian Fayed: the credit file and pre- fills the data once again.

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Julian Fayed: As their client moves through the process, the more information

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Julian Fayed: they provide, the lending results are showing in real time

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Julian Fayed: and updating in real time. So if they answer a

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Julian Fayed: question and it actually improves their rate, then they’ll see

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Julian Fayed: those rate improvements. If they answer a question and it

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Julian Fayed: knocks out one of the lenders because they’re no longer

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Julian Fayed: eligible for that product, they’ll actually see that in real

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Julian Fayed: time as all animated and interactive.

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Sean Aylmer: What about home loans? I know you do a lot

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Sean Aylmer: of loans. Is home loans kind of the next big goal?

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Julian Fayed: Well, we actually partner with more than three or 400

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Julian Fayed: of Australia’s best mortgage brokers. And the way that we

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Julian Fayed: build our technology is so that it can be white

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Julian Fayed: labeled and embedded on many other partner sites, including loads

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Julian Fayed: mortgage brokers. The reason we did that is we wanted

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Julian Fayed: to make our technology accessible for as many Australians and

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Julian Fayed: now as many Kiwis as possible. And so our strategy

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Julian Fayed: at the moment is to make sure that we’re providing

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Julian Fayed: great service to the mortgage brokers. Any clients that come

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Julian Fayed: to us seeking home loans, we connect them with the

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Julian Fayed: experts. We’re the experts in all the other types of

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Julian Fayed: loans, cars, marine, motorbikes, caravans, personal loans like unsecured for

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Julian Fayed: travel or home renovations, and also business loans.
So that

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Julian Fayed: could be a line of credit for your business or

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Julian Fayed: cashflow top up, whatever it might be. We are absolutely

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Julian Fayed: specialists in those areas, and we will build technology to

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Julian Fayed: match the clients with the right home loan. But more

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Julian Fayed: so than that, we’re just connecting clients at the moment

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Julian Fayed: with the right mortgage broker that’s going to help them

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Julian Fayed: with their solution on a slightly more complex transaction like

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Julian Fayed: a home.

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Sean Aylmer: Where do we end up with all this, Julian? I

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Sean Aylmer: would imagine that this is the beginning of your journey at LoanOptions.

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Sean Aylmer: ai, where do we end up?

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Julian Fayed: Yeah, so we’re now just a bit over three years

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Julian Fayed: in, and the original vision was to make autonomous loans

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Julian Fayed: possible. So enable a customer to go from apply online

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Julian Fayed: right through to getting the money in their account in

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Julian Fayed: near real time, but not the way a bank would

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Julian Fayed: do it. A bank only has one product. We’re offering the

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Julian Fayed: client the best solution out of 75 banks and lenders.

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Julian Fayed: So that’s obviously exponentially harder to do. So the goal

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Julian Fayed: was to make applying for a loan as easy as

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Julian Fayed: checking out in an e- commerce store. And I guess

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Julian Fayed: the part there is we needed to make sure that

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Julian Fayed: we were working towards that goal of making these loans

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Julian Fayed: autonomous. Or the best analogy I can use is you’ve

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Julian Fayed: got Tesla’s self- driving functionality in the car. For regulatory

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Julian Fayed: purposes and for safety purposes, you still need somebody sitting

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Julian Fayed: in the driver’s seat supervising and monitoring.
It’d be the

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Julian Fayed: same thing here. We’ll have an experienced broker that’s watching

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Julian Fayed: the loan get processed and making sure that there aren’t

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Julian Fayed: any anomalies and picking up any edge cases. But for

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Julian Fayed: the most part, we want to get to that point

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Julian Fayed: where clients can get access to money and get access

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Julian Fayed: to really good information and comparisons, but also access to

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Julian Fayed: money really fast. So our fastest so far, our record

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Julian Fayed: to date, which is Lightning Fast, is first inquiry. So

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Julian Fayed: somebody’s gone online, it says, ” I want a personal loan.”

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Julian Fayed: It’s a money in their account in 36 minutes end

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Julian Fayed: to end. So somebody has decided they want a personal

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Julian Fayed: loan, 36 minutes later, still while they’re on their lunch

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Julian Fayed: break, they’ve got the money in their account. So we

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Julian Fayed: want to try and make sure that’s more repeatable and

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Julian Fayed: more scalable.

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Sean Aylmer: Fantastic. Julian, thank you for talking to Fear and Greed.

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Julian Fayed: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

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Sean Aylmer: That was Julian Fayed, founder and CEO O of LoanOptions. ai, L- O- A- N- O- P- T- I- O- N- S.

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Sean Aylmer: AI, a supporter of this podcast. This is the Fear

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Sean Aylmer: and Greed business interview. Remember, this is general information only,

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Sean Aylmer: and you should always seek professional advice before making investment

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Sean Aylmer: decisions. Join us every morning for the full episode of

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Sean Aylmer: Fear and Greed, Australia’s best business podcast. I’m Sean Aylmer.

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Sean Aylmer: Enjoy your day.