Sweden’s mortgage industry is today worth around 3 trillion krona ($370 bn), according to Statistics Sweden, and most of the interest on these loans end up in the pockets of big banks.
A new fintech venture called enkla.com has today launched a potentially game-changing service. The Swedish online lender offers consumers a 0.95% fixed mortgage rate for three years, which is considerably less than the 1,6% average for similar loans among Sweden’s major banks, according to Di Digital.
Enkla.com doesn’t issue any new mortgages, but only targets borrowers who are willing to transfer their existing loans onto its platform. Anyone with a Swedish bank-issued mortgage of up to 5 million krona ($610 k) and a maximum loan-to-value ratio of 85% is eligible for the service.
‘’Ten years ago, someone would fill out an application at home and post it the next day. Now it’s click, click, move,’’ said Alexander Widegren, CEO of enkla.com. ‘’We have digitized and streamlined the application process and made it easier than ever for customers to take control over their mortgages.’’
Enkla’s self-stated goal is to borrow 100 billion SEK ($12,2 billion) worth of mortgages in the next 18 months by issuing mortgage bonds on the international markets, Di Digital writes. If the target is met, Enkla.com would be looking at a 3 percent share of the Swedish mortgage market.
The service is an instant hit among Swedish homeowners, according to Alexander Widegren: “We are receiving one billion krona worth of applications per hour,” he says to tech publication Breakit.
The service enters a market where Sweden’s household debt has exploded from 66 percent to 87 percent of GDP in the past decade, driven by soaring housing prices. Consumers are evidently hungry for a cheaper deal than what banks can offer. Currently, Sweden’s four biggest banks – Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB – have 75 percent of the country’s mortgage market, Breakit reports.
Enkla.com takes a 0,35% cut on the mortgages. The modest fee is enabled through an automated service that screens applicants hundreds of times faster than a bank clerk would, the company says. Seeing that the borrower will already have passed a credit assessment with a bank, the burden on Enkla’s due diligence is smaller.
Alexander Widegren, a software engineer, started the service together with his brother Marcus Widegren, an ex-Lehman trader and banking industry veteran. The two are hoping to grow their service by tapping into the 20,000 homeowners who currently use Lånbyte.se, a loan restructuring service they ran prior to founding Enkla.com.
Both Lånbyte and Enkla are part of Simplex, which was founded in 2012 by Alexander Widegren and counts Collector Ventures and NFT Partners – both fintech industry specialists – as investors.
Enkla.com’s launch comes as the Swedish mortgage market is getting disrupted by new online players that undercut bank rates. Two other companies – Stabelo, backed by online broker Avanza, and Hypoteket, owned by publishing house Schibsted – have recently launched their online lending platforms, which are financed by pension- and insurance giants instead of banks.