One of the driving forces behind technology and innovation is the desire to make our lives easier and more efficient. At Bluestone, we have set about applying that principle both for our customers and for the company.
In theory, technology in time should enable all customers to buy any financial product online, and where a credit search applies, to have an indicative answer in seconds. In practice, much of the financial services industry is some way from being able to provide these outcomes.
Here at Bluestone, we have taken our first steps on the journey to the future. Over the last year, we have successfully trialled a new digital application system that employs best in class Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. Our initial goal is to have 60% of all approvals assisted by AI. Already 35% of all our approvals are completed in minutes with documents issued.
In addition to improvements in technology, these changes are also being made possible by an improved regulatory environment. In response to technological developments, the EU has been moving towards developing a new regulated landscape that promotes competition and reduces fraud in the financial services.
Known as the Second Payments Directive (PSD2), it gives consumers the option to share their banking details digitally with third party financial services providers. Such an option makes sense for a customer who wishes to purchase a financial product entirely online and who gives consent to the third party to access their financial records for a credit check.
Across Europe, it is the UK which has led the way through its Open Banking initiative. But other markets are now following suit including Ireland.
Such developments are entirely predictable as the logic of the internet moves business and consumers ever more in the direction of an increasingly electronic and digital future. At Bluestone, we like to think we are ahead of the curve in this regard.
When we started the business here in Ireland in 2014, we could see there was a gap in the market for motor finance for a range of people who were not being serviced by existing lenders – the self-employed, contract workers, young people coming out of third level education with no financial history, people with an impaired credit history through no fault of their own, returning emigrants, and people from overseas who were making Ireland their home.
Since then, we have provided motor finance to over 75,000 customers. Many of our customers come to us through a national network of over approved 650 motor dealers across Ireland. By introducing a completely paperless process offering for our dealers and customers, we believe we are responding to the spirit of competition and doing so in a responsible and regulated manner.
Looking into 2020, we hope many more new customers will join us in this brave new world of technological and regulatory progress.
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