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Aegon, a multinational life insurance, pensions, and asset management company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, has acquired a stake in the Dutch crowd-mortgage provider Jungo. We talked to Vincent van den Noort, Jungo’s Co-Founder & Director Customer Experience and asked him how the platform operates and how the company plans to scale to what it stands to gain from Aegon.
What motivated you to enter the home mortgage market and why now?
Vincent: We believe we can connect investors and homeowners directly for a mutual benefit, using smart technology. Much has been said about too high margins for mortgage providers, for instance, recent research by the University of Amsterdam shows that the profit that banks, insurers, and pension funds make on mortgages is increasing.
We saw an opportunity to create a new mortgage product that not only lowers the margins but gives the profit back to crowd investors directly.
Q. How will a typical transaction take place on your platform?
Vincent: Imagine someone wants to buy a house. They go to their financial advisor, who recommends Jungo as the best mortgage for their needs. We run our checks on the financials (much like any other bank), and if it’s all good, we guarantee the full mortgage.
Next up, they can start a campaign on our website. People already know that the mortgage is guaranteed, but a successful crowd campaign lowers the interest rate even more. Anyone can invest in that mortgage from as little as € 250. It can be friends and family, but also anonymous investors.
Q. Will it involve offline efforts as well to seed/scale your platform as we know that marketplaces are challenging to grow?
Vincent: Yes. For instance, Jungo works exclusively with a network of financial advisors who can sell the Jungo mortgage.
Q. What specific resources do you think Jungo will leverage from Aegon?
Vincent: We expect to benefit significantly from Aegon’s knowledge and experience as a mortgage provider and as a financial institute in general.
Q. What are your goals for 2018?
Vincent: First and foremost: launching Jungo to the public. We aim to provide the first mortgages to happy customers and bring many investors on board on our platform. This first year is all about learning and creating the best possible experience.
Q. How is Jungo’s team uniquely positioned to tackle the mortgage market and which other company/startup you think is the closest competitor to Jungo, whether in the home market or elsewhere?
Vincent: We have all the prerequisites for success. We’ve gotten approval from all regulatory bodies, got all licenses and also have scalable technology in place to make it work.
In the Netherlands, there are no competitors at the moment. There are other crowd-mortgage providers, but they are focussed on buy-to-let (buy a house, rent it out). Because our Dutch mortgage market is quite specific, I am not aware of any international startups that do something similar.