An Interview with Dirk Hofman, General Director, Credit Savvy


FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 6 months?

Hofman: To help Australians understand the importance of monitoring and managing their credit reputation. 

FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 6 months?

Hofman: To help Australians understand the importance of monitoring and managing their credit reputation. With more credit providers expecting into comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) throughout 2016, it means that more credit information about each consumer is being shared and retained, so it’s imperative that we help educate consumers about how to protect their credit reputation.We are focused on continued growth of our membership base, which has already reached over 100,000 Australian members and continues to grow by thousands each week.We also want to keep bringing on board more credit providers to our comparison marketplace. We already work with over 30 credit providers across our home loans, credit cards and personal loans verticals and are working on establishing more partnerships.


FST Media: What is the role of Credit Savvy in helping drive Australia’s competitiveness of innovation in the fintech sector?

Hofman: The fintech sector in Australia is one of our most promising in terms of innovation and growth. As one of the businesses in that space, we are passionate about finding new and smarter ways of doing things and giving our members the best possible experience when it comes to learning about credit, accessing their credit score and finding a better deal on our marketplace.


FST Media: What can be gained from bridging the knowledge gap between every day Australians and understanding their credit behaviour?

Hofman: Ultimately, when consumers are better educated about good credit behaviour, they are more likely to make smart, informed choices about credit. In that situation, everyone wins – if you have a better credit history, you’re more likely to be approved for the credit products you want, while credit providers would be able to approve more products if people are in a better position. Knowledge is power. We want to even the playing field and give consumers the knowledge to improve their credit reputation and use it to their advantage.


FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the single biggest game changer for start-ups?

Hofman: There’s been a lot of talk about the emergence of ‘big data’ in recent years, and now we’re seeing business and startups really understand how to leverage it. In financial services this has to extend to being able to classify risk and identify behavioural patterns through the massive amounts of data available.


FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation within your organisation?

Hofman: Encourage every single person in the team to contribute ideas, it doesn’t matter if they’re an analyst, a developer or a marketer – innovation can come from anywhere. We also have short sprint cycles to ensure that ideas are actioned quickly so that something you discussed three months ago isn’t still waiting to be implemented.   


FST Media: What disruptive skill set or innovation is the most in demand in the fintech industry?                                                                                   

Hofman:  Data science. The ability to mine the rich data available and leverage it to optimise the user experience and business efficiency is key to the fintech sector.


FST Media: What is the ideal innovation ecosystem?

Hofman: A large part of it is about having the right team and culture, as well as open communication. You need switched-on people that are passionate about the business, willing to bring ideas to the table, challenge the norm or status quo, but also have the dedication to see the ideas through and execute.


FST Media: How can start-ups and big corporations effectively collaborate?

Hofman: There is quite a lot they can learn from each other, although true collaboration may be difficult. If you consider things like complexity, structure and the need to protect and grow existing revenue lines you will find start-ups and corporates operate on opposing ends of the spectrum. It is relatively straight-forward bringing in some corporate experience into a start-up, but bringing a start-up mentality to a corporate is a challenge due to complexity, culture and and risk factors.     


FST Media: What business and technology trends do you hope to see emerging in the next 2 years?

Hofman: We expect to see more credit products that offer risk-based pricing for Australian consumers. There are already a number of personal loans in Australia that offer better rates for consumers with a good credit history, and we hope to see this increase across other product verticals, including credit cards and home loans.We also expect to see more entrants in the fintech space and even greater investment from Australia’s banking sector in this space.


FST Media: What is your golden piece of advice for younger emerging start-ups?

Hofman: Get it right when it comes to hiring people. Your first hires shape your direction and your culture and will set the tone for the future.