BlueZest to launch into unregulated lending in two months

Ryan Bembridge

September 26, 2016


BlueZest will launch its first range of products in buy-to-let, development finance and secured SME finance in around two months.

The technology-based lender will focus on speeding up the mortgage process in a number of ways, including using automated underwriting by tapping into a consumer’s bank data.

BlueZest will follow up the initial launch by introducing a regulated offering come autumn 2017 after going through the rigmarole of acquiring a regulatory licence.

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Russell Gould (pictured), chief executive of BlueZest, said: “We’re trying to significantly streamline the end-to-end process from application all the way to offer and completion using the most modern technology.

“The problem with the mortgage market is you submit an application and you don’t hear from the lender for weeks until somebody tells you ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

“Once it’s a ‘yes’ you go through this convoluted valuation and conveyancing process. We’re trying to take away all of that stress, make it very clear and transparent.”

BlueZest has pledged to deliver a mortgage decision in 30 minutes.

After having an automated property valuation brokers will be notified whether the transaction will get the green light and if so they will be provided with an ESIS.

Rather than having to supply paper bank statements BlueZest will electronically underwrite using transactional bank data courtesy of a partnership with credit report service Callcredit, provided both the broker and consumer give it the go ahead.

If the system is satisfied the underwriting will be automated, otherwise the case will be referred to a manual underwriter.

BlueZest also has partnerships with conveyancers who will provide live updates on how the transaction is progressing.

Gould wanted to build on his experience at John Charcol, where he helped launch its online service in 2000.

He added: “The biggest issue we had back then was while we had an amazing platform and service to help people find the right loan and apply, but it was difficult to get that information to the lenders.

“15 years on one of the reasons I’m at BlueZest is it is very frustrating that lenders haven’t built this capability – brokers have to manually enter the information.

“There is a huge opportunity for lenders like us without the historical mainframe platforms to look at modern technologies and use them for direct customers and intermediaries to make it more transparent.”

As well as Gould (Norwich Union, John Charcol, Bradford & Bingley, HomeServe, Everline, Thomas Cook and ANZ Bank) BlueZest’s leadership team includes Simon Baum as chief risk officer (formerly Santander, Alliance & Leicester and Experian); Sue Colquhoun as director of risk and compliance (formerly Kensington Mortgages, Bradford & Bingley and Lapithus); John Robinson as chief technology officer (formerly Experian and International Risk Partnership); Robert Ainscow as funding director (formerly Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns and Investec Bank); Chris Slater as chief operating officer and chief information officer (formerly Experian and International Risk Partnership) and Duncan Bain as chief financial officer (formerly Cambridge Building Society, Aviva and Arthur Andersen).