UX Insider Interview: Tom Crossman VP of Product at Habito

Can you tell me a bit about Habito as a company?

Sure. We’ve been around since April 2016. We’re essentially an online mortgage broker. But we’re not a mortgage broker that is looking to use technology, we’re primarily a technology-focused company. So we use computers to help our experts and help our team deliver better products and deliver efficiencies in the mortgage journey. We’re very strong on building that human connection and it’s all about using computers in the right way and using AI in the right way, to help efficiently manage that customer journey. Because mortgages are complex, especially for a first time buyer, we try to make you feel comfortable. If you go to a bank directly Natwest will never say go to HSBC, it’s better [for your situation].

It’s very rare you’ll find someone that matches the whole of the market. Whereas the technology that we’ve built means that we can take your customer details and match you up with over 20,000 mortgages from 75+ lenders and give you what we believe is the right one.

What is your role as VP of Product?

At a high level, my responsibilities are to work with all areas of the business to determine what our customer-focused and expert products look and feel like.

So, there are two distinct areas we’re working with. We build proprietary technology, the sourcing engine and the admin portals; which is how the experts talk to customers when they’re in the journey, which is all back-office facing. My role is working with the operations and expert teams to build a product that is fit for their needs. Working out how we can efficiently take the customers through. How quickly we do KYC (know your customer); how we manage documents; how we surface results from mortgage products to them; how we get them to recommend them; how we automatically fill in an Agreement in Principle on a lender’s website; how we get that data back to the customers and show them on the dashboard. That then matches up with the customer experience, which is guiding them through to what is, essentially, a very large form in order for us to get the right details so we can surface those mortgage deals to them.

I work very closely with all areas of the business. I’m working with Customer Services, to get feedback from customers, engineering, obviously, to spec out and design what they’re actually building, our experts, to determine what exactly is the priority of the features and request they have. I also manage the engineering products and design team. We have a team of 12 engineers and product and UX designers and it’s my role to lead the vision for the products. It’s quite encompassing and I work very closely with Will, who’s our VP of Engineering. He will look after the code quality and languages that we use and how we build stuff. We will work together to determine the priority of what we build, when we build it and who’s going to be building it along with reporting that back to the business.

Can you tell me a bit about Habito as a company?

Sure. We’ve been around since April 2016. We’re essentially an online mortgage broker. But we’re not a mortgage broker that is looking to use technology, we’re primarily a technology-focused company. So we use computers to help our experts and help our team deliver better products and deliver efficiencies in the mortgage journey. We’re very strong on building that human connection and it’s all about using computers in the right way and using AI in the right way, to help efficiently manage that customer journey. Because mortgages are complex, especially for a first time buyer, we try to make you feel comfortable. If you go to a bank directly Natwest will never say go to HSBC, it’s better [for your situation].

It’s very rare you’ll find someone that matches the whole of the market. Whereas the technology that we’ve built means that we can take your customer details and match you up with over 20,000 mortgages from 75+ lenders and give you what we believe is the right one.

To read the full interview go to dock9.com

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