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New business keeping borrowers and brokers happy

Gold Coast entrepreneur Mitchell Scholer is building his business dream – by making it easier for other people to achieve theirs.

Mr Scholer, 24, a former student of The Southport School and a Bachelor of Property graduate from Bond University, launched the Financr website in February, providing a platform for finance brokers to compete for customers looking for home, business, car and personal loans, along with consolidation and refinancing options. 

Financr users upload details of the loan they need, allowing brokers to browse a secure section of the website and make an indicative offer. None of the user’s contact information is made public, and their details are only sent to the broker whose offer they select as the “winner”. Users can also opt to not accept any offer.

“We’ve already had over $60 million in loans auctioned through the platform. I guess we’re a bit of a challenger company in that we’re changing the way people would normally go about getting finance, so instead of going directly to your bank or going to your broker, we’re the marketplace that connects you with a broker or a bank.

“We try to match you with that provider by doing a reverse auction, kind of like how Airtasker or Upwork work. It’s like Ebay, but for finance,” Mr Scholer said.

He said the idea for Financr came from his dealings with brokers as part of another business he runs.

“One thing we realised is that not all brokers are the same, they all work with different lenders, they have different applications they prefer, so it was hard for us to know which broker would be best.

“People really like the idea they can get connected with the broker first time around. Normally if they want to get multiple offers from different brokers, they’d have to fill out a fact form for every single broker, which is obviously really time-consuming.”

Mr Scholer said while some people might question the wisdom of launching a business during the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic had acted as a litmus test.

“I think it’s proven why our business model works in a sense, because you don’t have to go to your local broker and meet with them face-to-face to be able to get a loan. You can have any broker anywhere in Australia. A lot of brokers are realising that now, they get a lot of their customers nationally, they don’t just go local.” 

The recent Hayne Royal Commission examined the brokerage industry, and Mr Scholer said it was scrutiny which was well overdue.

“Some brokers don’t always put their best foot forward, and they refer business through to a volume lender where they get paid a high commission, but it doesn’t work out to be the best interest rate on the market for the borrower, we thought with a reverse auction platform like ours, they can’t do that.”

Mr Scholer will soon launch a mobile-friendly version of the Financr website, as well as an app which will eventually be able to notify users whenever loan products change or interest rates drop, pushing them to refinance.

“I think there’s three or four billion dollars wasted a year in interest, people could refinance and pay less, but their bank never prompted them to, they’re a bit lazy, and the agents didn’t say they should look at it – we’d like to fix that.”

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