Painproofing Mortgages, Engaging Customers, and Seizing the Opportunity of Crypto

This week, Finovate Podcast host Greg Palmer talked about the ways that fintechs can help homebuyers – and lenders – deal with the painpoints of the mortgage process. His guest, David Jegen, is a Managing Partner with F Prime Capital, one of the largest VC funds in the world that invests primarily in technology and health care.

Asked why the mortgage process is so painful, Jegen points to the fragmentation of the market as a large part of the problem. “One bank gives you the mortgage. Another bank buys the mortgage,” Jegen explained. “You have another servicer. And somewhere in between you’ve got real estate brokers, title agents, notaries, lawyers, and so forth.” All of this adds up to greater complexity and more cost.

Find out how Jegen thinks fintech is helping alleviate these problems and why the future of the mortgage market could be a bright one if the industry embraces change.

Finovate Best of Show winner Dreams made its Finovate Podcast debut in June. The company, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, leverages cognitive and behavioral science to help banks better engage their customers.

Greg Palmer talked with Lucia Hegenbartova, Chief Commercial Officer with Dreams on how humans make financial decisions and how Dreams’ financial wellbeing platform is an example of how banks can increase digital engagement and pursue a “future-proof stance” on social responsibility and sustainability at the same time.

“We take the bank’s existing financial products and we frame them in a way that takes into account how the human brain works and the role that emotion plays in human decision-making,” Hegenbartova explained. “(That) allows us to effectively help people to develop healthier financial habits, which is crucial to eliminating the barriers to engagement that are, more often than not, rooted in anxiety and lack of confidence.”

To this end, Dreams’ product suite includes variety of modules such as a Savings Booster debt management product and an Investing module – all of which are easily embeddable into mobile banking apps on top of existing functionality and can be used individually or in combination.

One of the most interesting intersections in finance is the nexus between financial technology and agriculture. In many places around the globe, many of those who can benefit the most from advances in technology – including fintech – are the farmers who are undoubtedly among the most essential workers in the world.

In this episode of the Finovate Podcast, Greg Palmer talks with David Davies, founder and CEO of AgUnity. The company leverages the blockchain and smartphone technology to help build trust and efficient digital supply chains from farmers to consumers. AgUnity helps solve key issues for underbanked agricultural workers and farmers including the lack of digital identities, a lack of trust in local financial and governmental systems, money safety, data reliability, and more.

“We take low-cost smartphones, phones that cost about $50, and we transform them into a relevant and useful tools for the very lowest income farmers in the world in places like Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia,” Davies said. Most of these farmers AgUnity works with have never owned a phone, he explained, have relatively low literacy and are often in very remote locations. So the phones are redesigned to be relevant to their experience in terms of both interface and off-line functionality. AgUnity also provides the farmers with a digital identity and records transactions for them on the blockchain.

This helps build trust and cooperation between small groups of farmers and enables them to interact with buyers and suppliers more effectively and efficiently. Learn more about AgUnity and its unique contribution to fintech innovation and the cause of financial inclusion.

Just over a month ago, Greg Palmer talked about the “democratization of payments” with Sesie Bonsi, CEO and founder of Finovate alum Bleu. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Bleu enables merchants to accept contactless payments using their smartphone or mobile device. The company’s wireless payment network supports a patented mobile transaction process that uses Bluetooth-based low energy beacons to communicate payment data between customers and merchants.

In this conversation, Bonsi and Palmer take on the challenge and opportunity of cryptocurrencies, looking specifically at how digital assets can serve as a source of wealth accumulation for marginalized groups.

“Something I tell a lot of people is that the single most important thing you can be doing for wealth creation right now is entering into the cryptocurrency space and getting involved and doing your research and buying crypto,” Bonsi said. He puts cryptocurrencies in the same category as land, oil and gas, mineral resources in that they all derive their value largely from their scarcity, and notes that acquiring finite resources traditionally been a successful strategy for wealth accumulation.

“From those assets,” Bonsi said, “they become collateral and from that collateral you can lend against it to buy real estate, or to open up a business, or to invest in stock, and thereby have assets to pass down for future generations.”

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels