“Tears and high fives” swept the office at one of Australia’s biggest challenger banks yesterday, as it was granted its full banking licence (22 January).
Volt Bank was the first digital bank to be given a restricted authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) licence in May last year from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
Since that time the team has worked “tirelessly” to put the technology and processes in place to become a fully licenced bank.
With a full licence there are no restrictions on the amount the bank can lend or receive.
CEO Steve Weston said they planned to introduce home loans at the back end of 2019, with mortgage brokers playing a vital role.
Speaking to Australian Broker about when he was given the news from APRA, he said, “It’s excitement beyond belief. It sounds hard to get a banking licence, but the truth is it’s far more difficult than it sounds.
“The team here worked tirelessly. This morning when we received the news I did a tour round the office and there were tears and high fives, it was lovely.”
As the group moves forward into 2019 it will begin to offer savings and transaction accounts, term deposits, personal loans and home loans.
Volt plans to introduce a full suite of home loan products, starting with simpler loans while they test their systems.
Weston said they expect most, if not all, home loans will come directly from the broker channel as they listen to consumers who are “voting with their feet”.
He said, “We’ll have a very compelling home loan composition, one with mortgage brokers in mind.
“We’re almost at 60% broker originated home loans and I think that’ll only go in one direction.
“What we’re doing is respecting consumers’ choice. They’re saying they want to talk to brokers because they have a stronger value proposition.”
Volt bank will also introduce tools and technology to support customers, including facial recognition technology and simple transfers of direct debits and payment details from existing bank accounts to a Volt Bank transaction accounts.
Being granted the full licence makes Volt Bank the first retail challenger bank since the early 2000s and the first digital start-up bank to receive an ADI licence.
Volt has also created a space called Volt Labs, a “co-creation community” where people can submit views and needs and also test future product features.
A fellow digital bank CEO extended congratulations to Weston and the team.
86 400’s Robert Bell said, “It’s an exciting time in Australia and the start of a new era in banking. Australians deserve alternatives to the Big Four banks and having new entrants such as 86 400 and Volt is positive.”
Bell said it was expected that 86 400, which launched in June, would receive its own full licence in the near future.