Here’s how Westpac Banking Corp aims to disrupt the mortgage brokers

Watch out Mortgage Choice Limited (ASX: MOC) and Homeloans Limited (ASX: HOM) shareholders because Australia’s oldest bank is aiming to disrupt the mortgage broker industry.

According to a report in The Australian Financial Review today Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) has invested $16.5 million in rising fintech company uno in a bid to win a portion of the estimated $2 billion in fees that banks pay annually to mortgage brokers.

Uno is a digital mortgage service designed to find the right home loan to match a customer’s specific needs. According to its website no lender or product is ever prioritised for any reason other than the criteria that the user has entered.

Westpac and its full range of brands are already amongst the many lenders featured on the website. Others include AMP Limited (ASX: AMP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN), and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB).

This is the largest investment the bank has made in a start up to date, though neither party has disclosed the level of equity that Westpac will gain from it.

Whilst this is a very positive move, I wouldn’t quite class it as thesis-changing. If uno can eventually gain a strong market share then Westpac will no doubt do very well from its investment.

But that is far from a certainty of course. Let’s not forget that the digital mortgage broker space is highly competitive already and has low barriers to entry.

Digital companies such as, Compare The Market, and iSelect Ltd (ASX: ISU) are just three of a growing number of companies that uno will have to compete with in the space. Interestingly, Westpac has also just become a substantial holder in iSelect with an almost 6% stake.

Overall this is a positive step forward in my opinion, but not one that I expect will noticeably impact its earnings for some time to come.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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