Gerd is one of Australia’s most experienced and successful digital business leaders. In 2008, Gerd founded UBank (www.ubank.com.au) for National Australia Bank, one of Australia’s big four banks. UBank quickly became Australia’s 9th largest deposit taker and now has 400,000 customers and a balance sheet of $20b In 2011, Gerd established Telstra Digital for Telstra (www.telstra.com.au), Australia’s incumbent telco and largest consumer company. Telstra Digital built a comprehensive set of digital sales & service channels serving all customer segments covering all products. Gerd also sponsored and lead Telstra’s enterprise-wide digital transformation agenda “Digital First”, transforming operations such as the retail stores, contact centres and field services by the intelligent application of digital tools and methods. At Telstra, Gerd also lead the launch of Belong (www.belong.com.au), Telstra’s low cost broadband provider which now has over 150,000 customers. Most recently, Gerd was CEO of Tyro Payments, an SME focused payments provider and bank, valued at over $500m and employing around 400 people. In the early stages of his career, Gerd was a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group in Sydney, Los Angeles and New York and a banker with Citigroup, BankWest/ HBOS and National Australia Bank. Gerd has a master degree in Engineering (robotics) from the University of Stuttgart and an MBA from the Columbia Business School in New York. Gerd is now a digital business consultant and Fintech entrepreneur under the banner of BGA Digital. Recent projects include the creation of a new digital financial services business, the review of a new consumer financial management app, the creation of a go to market strategy for a technology business, as well as the creation of a new online bank for a South East Asian bank. Recently, Gerd has been appointed to the Federal Treasurer’s taskforce for the digitisation of the SME sector in Australia.
Pollari opened saying he thought a lot of the regime complexity that generates profit for these banks will go away. They’ll have to give a better customer experience and lower their fees.
Bouris replied if you’re a non-bank lender you’re looking at a big premium on the borrowing side meaning the banks can underprice you. Yellow Brick Road, the company he started, could not do what it did today. The only model that works at the moment is being a broker.
Schenkel added that having a better product doesn’t mean you’ll be a successful fintech. And fintech lenders have been forced into the margins offering sub-prime unsecured small business loans which are small and risky.