Interview with Freedom Finance CEO Brian Brodie

February 6, 2019

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Freedom Finance is fintech lending platform, which uses proprietary technology to tailor products to specific circumstances for each individual customer. Brian was appointed CEO at Freedom Finance, after a long-standing career at Virgin Money, to develop the loan broker into a more diverse and digitally-focused platform.

 

Brian believes Freedom Finance’s success is down to the fusion of a digital experience and human warmth, which strengthens and enhances the customer journey. His success comes from understanding how customers respond and react to fintech developments to find tailored loans and mortgages.Since heading up the business, his team have secured various notable partnerships to provide services for household brands like ASDA Money and Purple Bricks – and the number of brand partnerships that use Freedom Finance’s services continues to grow at a massive rate.

 

Brian is a diverse and creative CEO who passionately believes in responsible lending and the role that the financial services sector has to play in educating customers, so they can make informed decisions about their finances.

 

We got a chance to sit down with Brian and ask his a few questions: 

 

Please tell me a little about your journey and how you came to be CEO of Freedom Finance?

Throughout my career, I held senior positions at a number of financial services businesses, including sales and marketing director at Virgin Money.

I joined Freedom Finance in 2016 to develop the traditional broker it was then into a digitised lending platform. We could foresee the market was changing alongside the next phase of digital development and I wanted to ensure that Freedom Finance was continuing to move in the right direction to meet customers’ changing demands.  

Providing customers with clarity is at the core of our strategy, and sits alongside ease of use and a unique, tailored customer journey. This is something that we are focused on rolling out to other providers and lenders through a white label service.

 

Tell me about the solutions Freedom Finance offers in more detail. How are these innovative and how do they help your firm stand out from its competitors?

At Freedom Finance, we strongly believe in providing our customers with clarity, not just choice. In the modern market, consumers have access to more financial service products than ever before. Although choice is certainly not a bad thing, having too many options can be overwhelming. In fact, our latest research shows that nearly half of UK adults feel anxious or overwhelmed when making important financial decisions, with 71% of people asking for more clarity from financial service providers about the products they qualify for and the options that are right for their circumstances.

We often see that financial service providers are guilty of providing customers with unnecessary and irrelevant choices, leaving customers frustrated as they misinterpret the best solution for what they are after. Freedom Finance’s proposition is different. With the use of our proprietary technology, we limit the number of choices available to each customer – providing them only with the options that they qualify for. We run soft credit searches and utilise services like open banking to really narrow down tailored mortgage and borrowing solutions. We remove excess choice and provide customers with the clarity to make well-informed decisions.

Our team continuously tests artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions to better understand and develop each customer experience. With the ability to assimilate endless ‘rules’, the system learns the right outcomes and options for each customer journey. Of course, by still giving customers the opportunity to pause and ask questions before they make a final decision.

Alongside all of this, we ensure that our UK-based teams are on-hand to answer any specific questions or respond to unique circumstances throughout the process.

 

How is Freedom Finance combining human warmth with technology?

It’s important that human warmth isn’t forgotten during the digital process. Our belief is that technology works best when integrated. It helps narrow choice and makes the decision-making process smooth and more efficient.

Recently, we developed and rolled out camera-to-camera appointments, which are really useful for time-poor customers who are unable to book appointments around busy personal or work schedules. We understand this is not for everyone, but we see that different generations are embracing technology – having someone to speak to on the phone (or camera) is helpful for all. 

 

What does the future have in store for both Freedom Finance and the wider fintech space?

We’ve experienced exciting developments in the fintech market over the last decade, particularly with the dominance of digital technology in everyday life. Our platform is being utilised by leading brands that challenge online markets, like ASDA Money and Purplebricks.

Our proprietary technology is also being developed to support aggregator sites who are opting for clarity over lots of choice, and we expect the trend to continue.  

As fintech continues to develop and adapt to customer demands, the most interesting next step is likely to come from the convergence of multiple technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and blockchain solutions.

In the next decade, with customer centricity and control continuing to grow, there is an enormous potential in the broker market to continuously develop technologies to best support financial decision-making. It will be interesting to see which players in the market manage to adapt and respond to changing consumer demands. Financial service providers should focus on helping consumers feel empowered, and provide them with knowledge and confidence to make important finance decisions that benefit them.

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Brian Brodie - Freedom Finance CEO

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