“Our mission is to empower customers in financial difficulties and reduce their stress and mental anxiety caused by managing debt issues and dealing with multiple creditors” – Dylan Jones, IE Hub CEO.
IE Hub is a free, online application that makes completing an Income and Expenditure easier and more convenient, allowing customers to share Income and Expenditure information with multiple companies, putting them in control of their financial situation.
IE Hub’s added intelligence means customers answer the questions that are relevant to their personal circumstances. Manual and Open Banking completion methods mean fewer mistakes and a true Income and Expenditure profile.
Tell us about yourself?
Having moved on from over 20 years experience in the Global Corporate world of Software for Credit Risk Decisioning and Data, I am now focussed on driving the growth of a Fintech For Good.
A Fintech that just does the right thing to support consumers experiencing financial/mental anxiety and helping their overall financial wellbeing.
Looking to work alongside business leaders, founders and organisations that want to integrate sustainable social and financial well-being into the core of their business and create a positive impact on some of the biggest consumer debt challenges facing today’s society.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I would say to my younger self to be more bold, take more risks if the purpose is clear and start off much sooner.
I would tell myself to understand the problem well! Identify the market and find the right mentors in that space.
What problem does your business solve?
It’s fair to say that the last 18 months have been unlike any other time, both personally and in terms of business. And when you have uncertainty, the smallest of issues can have large repercussions. Especially when it comes to financing.
Most of you reading this will be in business. You are likely to have customers. You are also likely to have had customers who can no longer afford your product or service. Some customers may even be falling behind on their payments.
It’s an unnerving time for you, bearing in mind that you also have bills to pay yourself. And, it’s an extremely worrying time for your customer.
Thankfully, there is a way to help you AND your customers.
IE Hub provides customers with the tools necessary to manage their finances, and let’s face it, anything which helps people control their financial situation can only be a good thing.
Income and Expenditure is a juggling act which, in an ideal situation, sees Income exceeding Expenditure. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
The last thing responsible businesses want to do is push customers further into debt, however, firms need to know what a customer’s financial situation is so that they can set payment arrangements. This is where IE Hub comes in.
“IE Hub connects customers with creditors in just a few clicks,” said Dylan Jones. “The pandemic has taken a financial toll on people and families across the UK but accessing financial support isn’t easy.
Most customers have to fill out multiple Income and Expenditure assessments (I&Es) before a payment plan can be set up, while simultaneously, creditors struggle to validate the information from customers’ various I&Es. On both sides, the current system is inefficient and costly.”
Wouldn’t it be handy if all of the information was in one place which allowed the customer to contact all of their creditors in a digital format?
That is precisely what IE Hub does. Customers log onto the IE Hub website www.iehub.co.uk and create their own completely free IE Hub account.
“We’ve ensured that the questions are carefully worded so that the customer only answers questions relevant to their circumstances,” adds Dylan. “Once they’ve completed the form, all of the information is stored digitally which allows the customer to share their Income and Expenditure information with multiple companies. It’s simple, it’s quick and it’s free to the customer. It also means that the creditors can instantly see a customer’s financial state and take the relevant action. If it’s obvious that a customer simply cannot afford what you are asking it means both parties can come to some sort of agreement and devise a payment plan. It also encourages the customer not to bury their head in the sand because the problem is not going to go away….it needs to be managed.”
Companies who would like to be part of the scheme pay a small fee per customer statement or take out a CRM licence with IE Hub.
In other words, the customer and the business are both working from the same, accurate set of figures. It gives the customer confidence that their difficult situation is being handled sympathetically, and it prevents the company from having to spend time and money on repeated phone calls and letters.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The inspiration of IE Hub came from our founder, Kapil Madan.
He was trying to make sense of some data that a client had provided me regarding customer’s affordability.
This led him to listen into some calls between the customers and his client’s agents. It became rapidly clear that the agents focus was to get detailed information from the customers while the latter wanted to get out of the call as soon as possible.
The answers provided were from memory and not being verified (or challenged) and he felt that these could be different if the same question was asked again at a later time.
One discussion happened while the customer was in a launderette and another was when she was on a bus.
He knew right then that this well intentioned process was actually working sub-optimally both for the creditor and customers and could be improved with better outcomes for the customer and less mental anxiety for them.
What is your magic sauce?
IE Hub offers a fresh, customer-centric digital approach to debt collection. It provides the customer a single platform to engage with all their creditors and share their affordability information.
This will help both customers, who will have an easier digital process, powered by open banking, that puts them in control and helps with mental health during difficult times, and creditors, who benefit from massive savings in operational costs as well as more accurate and timely information.
Creditors also get the opportunity to verify the data provided by the customer against that held in the credit bureaus. Customers can share their data with multiple creditors.
If a creditor is not on our platform then we will post the affordability data to them, if instructed by the customer, completely free of charge!
Moreover, if a creditor on our network enters from scratch or changes the information provided by the customer (say over the phone) into our system, then the information is available to the customer so that they can share with other creditors – thereby ensuring consistency in treatment.
Essentially our network is our secret source! No other I&E company allow a customer to share their financial information with ALL of their creditors, in one quick and easy process. We are the only real customer-centric affordability assessment platform.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our plan for the next 5 years is simple. Help more people who need financial support. Our team is made up of tenacious employees who’ve all come from humble beginnings.
Each and every person at IE Hub understands how quickly a person can fall into debt, and how lonely that situation can be. IE Hub brings together insight and resourcefulness to deliver a ground-breaking Fintech solution, to businesses and individuals across the UK – who need it most!
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge was to launch the product into the market and get early clients who could refer their customers to the system.
Almost everyone we talked to were very excited and interested in our solution and saw the tremendous benefits for themselves and their customers – but were reluctant to be the first users. It took us much longer than expected to break through that initial barrier.
The thing that helped us crack the above has been our unrelenting focus on solving this problem. We have a great team who kept the clients and prospects engaged and slowly and surely converted them into regular users.
Another of our early challenge was to get the right pricing model. We believed a transaction based pricing model would work well but that made clients nervous as they could not get open ended commitments approved by their finance directors.
We have solved this problem by fixing their price for the year based on expected usage for the year.
Lessons learnt were to listen keenly to the unspoken words from clients and to not only get overly excited by their positive reactions.
Sometimes our prospects, especially those at large corporates, get bogged down by their internal processes and if we engage with them well we can help them overcome their hurdles by providing them the right deal structures.
We now have a partnership approach that helps us link our success to that of our clients and users.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
At IE Hub we are a Fintech for Good and in high growth mode. We are focused on expanding our I&E network and have discussions underway with financial services, housing associations, local authorities, utilities companies and telecoms, amongst other sectors.
We are constantly in discussion around enhancing the customer and agent journey with a heavy focus on addressing increased regulatory scrutiny on best customer outcomes, whilst obtaining accuracy in I&E data to reach mutually agreed and sustainable payment arrangements.
Any company who would like to join our network can do so by visiting www.iehub.co.uk