Interview: Zoe Feltham, Head of Product at Trussle

Author Livia Thimotheo
  • Date August 13, 2018
  • Reading Time 7 minutes

  Trussle Zoe

Can you explain what Trussle does as if you were explaining it to my mother?

Trussle is a free online service that makes home ownership more accessible and affordable for everyone. We're starting with mortgages where we have access to more than 11,000 products from over 90 lenders. We're combining technology with human interaction to provide people with the best possible mortgage for their needs, with no hassle.

There are other online mortgage broker services around, why should people choose Trussle?

We're not just a technology provider, we place a huge amount of value on human interaction. People absolutely love interacting with our service, as you can see from our Trustpilot reviews, but it goes deeper than that. Every single person here at Trussle cares deeply about the customers and will go out of their way to make sure that the customer has the best experience and gets the best possible mortgage deal.

We aspire to be much more than a mortgage broker, which is why we recently rebranded to “the home of home ownership”. Right now, that means that we continue to monitor our customers’ mortgages for life, so once you use Trussle, your mortgage is taken care of forever. But as we continue to grow, we’ll start offering even more services to take the hassle out of home ownership.

There seem to be a lot of new online brokers in the market, why do you think all this innovation is happening now?

When we started out in early 2016, we were the first online mortgage broker, and now there are new competitors popping up all the time. It’s actually not surprising, because the process of getting a mortgage is one of the most confusing and convoluted areas of finance. We did some research last year and found that 1 in 10 people admitted that applying for their first mortgage had reduced them to tears!

There are also a lot of new advancements in financial technology, like Open Banking, automated ID verification and automated income verification, which enable services like Trussle to provide more and more value.

Trussle Zoe

How is Trussle making it easier?

Trussle customers can start their application online in their own time, 24/7. They can also upload any documents that we need for their lender online, at any time. So it's all about giving that convenience to customers. They don't have to go and see a mortgage broker in their office to provide all their documents. Combine that convenience with our incredible team of case managers and mortgage advisers who are in the office here behind us. They'll apply for the mortgage, keep on top of the lenders, and keep customers updated on what is going on with their application. The customer, once they've given us the information and had a chat to one of our advisers, really doesn't have to do anything other than wait to be updated.

What was the most interesting thing you've learned at Trussle?

One thing that's really struck me was how inconsistent the mortgage process is. I've been through it as a customer, but before I joined Trussle I didn't really know much about mortgages from the lender or the broker perspective. What caught my attention is that so much of it is down to underwriter's opinion. Certain lenders will have rules like "we may lend on ex-Council properties, but only in these specific London postcodes and on a case by case basis". Or, "we'll lend on high rise buildings but subject to underwriter's opinion". So it literally comes down to the decision of one individual - in the world we're living in, where everything is powered by data, that seems very old-fashioned.

Trussle Zoe

How does Trussle measure success?

We have a few measures of success as a business. We care, first and foremost, about our customers. So we look at NPS (Net Promoter Score) and Trustpilot as two measures of that. We take both the scores and the qualitative feedback from our customers very seriously, and suggestions from our customers go directly to the product teams.

From a business perspective, it’s really important to us that we never charge our customers to use our service, so we also need to focus on keeping our costs down so that we can keep offering our service for free. We have 2 cross functional squads focused on this, each with a North Star metric they are trying to influence. The acquisition team focuses on acquiring customers at a low cost, and the scalability team focuses on reducing the costs to serve our customers through automating a lot of manual tasks.

How do you imagine the mortgage process to be in 10 years?

The dream is that you go online once when you first buy your home and you enter a few details. You connect up a few different services such as online banking, credit reports, land registry, and it pulls in all the data and finds the right pre-approved mortgage for you instantly.

Then, you leave it to Trussle. We continue monitoring your mortgage against the entire market and as soon as there's a better deal available we switch your mortgage automatically, so you’re never paying more than you should.

Trussle Zoe

I read about this feature on the way here and I thought it was very interesting - and  something I don't think your competitors have. What would you say is your favourite feature? Would this be it?

The mortgage monitoring service is the feature I’m most excited about because I think it's got huge potential and you’re right, it's unique to Trussle. I'd actually hope that other competitors in the market will start offering a similar service because it's the best thing for consumers. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about.

We don’t want our customers to see Trussle just as somewhere to come to get a mortgage, we want to be the home of home ownership. It's all about that lifetime relationship. So we built a calculator that will monitor your mortgage everyday and compare it to the other mortgages on the market. That's around 11,000 mortgages every day. We'll calculate the cost of switching and tell you as soon as it's a good idea for you to switch your deal.

In the slightly uncertain financial climate that we have in the UK at the moment, this service is really important.We can all make predictions about what will happen to interest rates after Brexit, but no-one really knows, so a service that tracks the market and stays on top of what, for most people, is their biggest financial investment is really powerful.

What are the plans for the future?

In the mortgage space, we want customers to be instantly approved on the best deal for their needs. That’s what we’re working towards. We also think that there's a real opportunity for some really underserved people in this market, contractors for example, as it’s actually quite difficult to get a mortgage as a contractor. In a world where we have masses of data between us and the banks, there’s a huge opportunity to make sure that those people can access much better rates and deals.

But we have aspirations beyond mortgages as well. We want to help people with every aspect of their home ownership journey. Imagine you walk into your first home, you’ve financed it through Trussle, they’ve taken care of all the conveyancing too so you didn't have to worry about anything. When you walk in for the first time, your energy supplier is taken care of and somebody’s been in to do the cleaning. And when the time comes to remortgage, or move home, that’s all taken care of too. That’s the future Trussle are working hard to create!

To experience Trussle for yourself check them out at www.trussle.com

If you're interested in enhancing your online offering then speak to the mortgage website experts at hello@dock9.com or call us on 0207 977 9230.

 Pictures by Judit Toth