Financing depends on a relationship of trust between the borrower and lender. If you are borrowing money, you may be faced with navigating complex and possibly unfamiliar territory with a traditional banking institution. Not only is the typical application process cumbersome, but unexpected fees and inflated rates may crop up along the way, tipping the balance of trust. Similarly, consumers looking for diversified-risk investments may see their savings languish in low-interest accounts.
Nowadays, consumers are paying close attention to every dollar spent, and are looking for alternatives that help them contain costs as well as grow their savings. They want to feel a sense of balance on both sides of the lending equation. They want a fair deal.
Lending for the people by the people
The new paradigm of today’s sharing economy is disrupting more and more traditional industries. The founders of Harmoney set out to transform the financing industry in New Zealand by offering an alternative lending platform that would bring clarity, transparency, and fairness to the lending experience. People can either apply for loans or sign up as investors – no banks needed. Using a peer-to-peer model, borrowers are matched with investors through a simple, straightforward, automated process. Borrowers get the cash they need at good interest rates, investors earn great returns and manage risk through fractionalized loans. Harmoney aims to restore balance to the borrower-lender relationship.
A cloud bank, grounded by Salesforce
Harmoney’s leadership knew that a cloud approach was essential to realizing their vision. They needed a system that would support a seamless, sophisticated, 100% online user experience from loan origination to risk management to repayments. On the backend, the CRM engine needed to be robust enough to deliver a high standard of service, as well as manage customer relationships. The system needed to be secure and scalable, with multi-currency support for future global expansion. It had to be flexible enough to integrate numerous industry-standard apps and services, and still support a fast development cycle so they could go to market quickly.
The company was confident that the Salesforce suite of products could meet their stringent requirements and support their business growth.
With Salesforce, we were able to build a complete platform-based solution in just 8 months. Neil Roberts, CEO, Harmoney
Originating loans on Heroku
The development team designed a comprehensive solution centered around a custom-built loan origination system running on the Heroku platform connected to a Heroku Postgres database. Heroku's flexibility allowed the team to easily integrate with third-parties, such as credit agencies, identity verification services, and authorization apps, as well as run a host of standard banking processes without slowing down the application. To round out their implementation, the team chose a number of pre-integrated Heroku Add-ons to help them operate their app, including: Adept Scale to automate dyno scaling, New Relic APM to monitor app performance, Papertrail for log management, Airbrake Bug Tracker for real-time error reporting, and Redis To Go to manage their Redis instance.
Heroku enabled us to create a fully automated, 100% online loan origination process, which significantly improves the borrowers experience and lowers their costs. Neil Roberts, CEO, Harmoney
A Sales Cloud CRM engine manages customer interactions, and Harmoney’s platform also integrates a number of best-of-class apps from the Salesforce AppExchange. For example, FinancialForce aligns accounting services into the end-to-end process, and LiveOps empowers a lean operational team to service customer queries in a virtual call center.
The team also integrated Salesforce’s marketing automation platform Pardot, which would allow Harmoney to track prospects all the way through from Google AdWords or banner ads through to lead conversion. Pardot enables more personalized communications and campaigns, helping to nurture leads and reduce drop-off rates.
Salesforce allows us to develop lifecycle relationships, and it gives us the potential to turn borrowers into investors, as well as the other way around. Neil Roberts, CEO, Harmoney
Currently, Harmoney is available to New Zealand residents only but will be launching in Australia very soon. Borrowers interested in applying for a loan will appreciate a smooth, fast online application experience. Along with basic personal information, they provide identity verification documents and banking records so the Harmoney system can assess their eligibility and assign them one of 30 credit grades and corresponding interest rate. In only 10-15 minutes, borrowers can receive approval, and once approved, they can choose to list their loan in the Harmoney marketplace. Once live in the marketplace, they then await funding. 95% of all loans are funded within 24 hours. All Harmoney loans have fixed interest rates and transparent fees, so borrowers can be assured of their loan costs and monthly payments for the life of the loan.
Harmoney allows investors to diversify their investment across numerous fractionalized loans, choosing to fund loans in $25 increments ("notes") rather than being required to fund an entire loan amount. This helps to diversify their portfolio across a large array of loans, manage risk, and maximize performance of their investment portfolio. Once an investment is made, repayments from borrowers will be transferred to the investor’s account as they are received. Those funds are then available for re-investment or withdrawal.
On the backend, the Harmoney team continually monitors data in order to drive conversions and customer satisfaction. Data gathered in Heroku funnels into Salesforce to create a loan scorecard. The system uses SAS Visual Analytics to produce visual representations of that data in real time, and create easy-to-consume reports and dashboards that continuously poll key business metrics, including number of loans, number of investors, average loan, risk, conversions, and drop offs.
With Harmoney, borrowers and investors can build trusted, balanced relationships.