It feels like our very own start-up

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There’s no denying that the EU’s revised Payment Services Directive (or PSD2 for short), which will soon let non-bank stakeholders use and work with client payment data, has bankers biting their nails. However, we should see this upcoming change not as a threat but as a golden opportunity – especially if we can successfully blend the potential of PSD2 with one of our key strengths: risk modelling. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with Gradefix. Once clients share their transaction data, our risk model calculates a credit score to help them better understand their personal financial situation.

Our rationale is that every feature we add to Gradefix has to truly benefit clients. Features which don’t add value are scrapped. It’s as simple as that. Profielfoto Lex Dekkers Lex Dekkers Innovation Manager

It might be 2017, but applying for a mortgage in the Netherlands can still take a very long time indeed. You head to a bank armed with reams of documents and bank statements, only to wait around for weeks to hear whether you’ve been approved. Convinced there had to be a better way, my colleagues Don Fontijn, Koen Advocaat and I signed up for the ABN AMRO Hackathon. Our mission? To speed up and simplify the whole mortgage application process. During the thirty-one-hour-long Hackathon, Gradefix was born.

Gradefix is a product that combines PSD2 with the concept of risk as a service. As a bank, we have years of experience in risk management and outstanding risk models at our disposal. Why should we be the only ones to use them? Wouldn’t it be smarter to make these commercially available as a new service? Once PSD2 comes into force in 2018, we can take advantage of this opportunity, since under the new legislation, the bank must provide third parties with access to a client’s transaction data, provided they give their authorisation.

Pilot with De Hypotheker

We’re developing Gradefix together with De Hypotheker, the largest organisation in the Netherlands dedicated to helping consumers secure mortgages. We launched a pilot project last November which lets clients at De Hypotheker pilot branches share their Gradefix score with their adviser prior to their mortgage consultation, quickly giving the adviser a complete overview of the client’s situation to determine which mortgage would be best for the client. The higher the score, the stabler the client’s financial situation is, and the less risk a lender will incur by granting the mortgage. Obviously, Gradefix could significantly speed up the process of securing mortgages in the future, saving clients and advisers loads of time.

Client-centricity takes centre stage at both De Hypotheker and ABN AMRO. So every feature we add to Gradefix has to truly benefit clients. Features which don’t add value are scrapped. It’s as simple as that. For example, we never contact clients without being asked first. We use their data exclusively for the purpose of preparing the consultation. After being used by Gradefix, the data are automatically deleted from our systems.

It feels like our very own start-up

And this is only the beginning! As we develop Gradefix, each decision we make, step by step, hinges on a single question: how can we offer even better service to our clients? Now we’ve been given the green light to take Gradefix to the next level, based at our own office in the heart of Amsterdam. It feels like we’ve launched our very own start-up, but of course our link with ABN AMRO is still key. Things can never move fast enough for us, but we’re thrilled with the support we’re getting from the bank. The very fact that we’re working on this project at all speaks volumes about the winds of change blowing through the organisation. We’re now more open to the outside world and truly want to improve our clients’ lives, as Gradefix and other innovations show. Obviously, they represent a source of income, but they really and truly help people, too. And I’m very proud of that.

Want to learn more about PSD2? Check out the blog post "PSD2 is not just about PSD2 any more"


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