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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 16 January 2016
NEWS 2 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 16 JANUARY 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Moula: Australia’s fintech future Business loan pioneer Aris Allegos named in top movers and shakers MICHAEL SWEET Technology and financial services have been interrelated for years, but a new word - 'fintech' - is now used to describe a revolution in the financial services sector, with the pioneers including Melbourne's Aris Allegos - co-founder of Moula. With Fintech growth a direct result of innovation in accessing data, Allegos, of Cypriot heritage, recognised the difficulties faced by small businesses in accessing finance, and set about building Moula to solve the problem. Key to Moula’s success is the speed at which a business can have a loan approved, often not more than 10 minutes, with funds received within 24 hours. As co-founder and CEO of the company, Allegos, who has an MBA from London Business School and a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from Monash University, spent more than 15 years working in banking. Prior to that he experienced the challenges faced by small businesses first hand in his own family's retail food business. Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Allegos says 2016 will be a vital year for his company. "This year promises to be an exciting one for Moula, and financial innovation in general; we've now established ourselves as Australia's leading data-driven SME lending platform, with 2016 being the year we become more mainstream." To illustrate the health of the fintech market, Fairfax Media this month chose Moula as one of the most likely companies to transform the financial services market. Established three years ago, Moula has 25 staff in Melbourne offering average loans to small businesses of between $40,000 and $50,000. With Moula's loans approval process entirely online, its credit checks involve accessing the applicant's online data sources - cloud- based accounting software and bank accounts - to enable real-time underwriting. Key to Moula's success is the speed at which a business can have a loan approved, often not more than 10 minutes, with funds re- Moula co-founder and CEO Aris Allegos. ceived within 24 hours. Last year the company snared $30 million in equity funding from Liberty Financial in its first major deal to finance its loans. It has also linked up with accounting software maker Xero to boost its market presence. Allegos says despite much media coverage of fintechs, most businesses are ignorant of alternatives to the banks, and distrust the new financial services kids on the block. In an effort to combat false impressions, Moula recently teamed up with Digital Finance Analytics to produce the first index of the impact of fintech services on the Australian market, raising the profile of the new lending options among borrowers and to establish data to influence government policy. One of the fintech industry's most articulate spokesmen, Allegos was one of the signatories of a recent submission to the federal government, arguing that it risks losing billions of dollars of taxation revenue unless it reforms laws to enable Australia to become the leading fintech market in the Asia region. The warning was sent to ministers from 32 financial technology start-ups who are calling for the Turnbull government's recent innovation statement to be amended to make developing a thriving fintech industry a priority. The submission highlights the need for reform by pointing to poor policy settings in Australia compared to the UK, US, and Singapore. 19 against one for the Greek Community board Members of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne are voting tomorrow at Alphington Grammar It's election time for the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV), as its members are called to vote for the new board of management tomorrow. The elections were called by the Electoral Committee, consisting of Kostas Spyridis (chairman), Sakis Zafiropoulos (secretary), Harris Zaverdinos, Cathy Alexopoulos, Dimitris Grivokostopoulos, Anthea Giannakopoulos, Christos Papadopoulos, Anastasios Kalamovrakas and Peter Horn. The EC was appointed at the Community's annual general meeting in December, which saw the need for an election to be held, with the date set for Sunday 17 January. The ballots will be open for all current financial members of the GOCMV, provided they have been enrolled for at least six months prior to the date of the election. Voting will take place at the multipurpose hall 'Andrianakos Centre' of the Alphington Grammar School (Old Heidelberg Rd, Alphington), from 10.00 am to 6.00 p.m. For some time it seemed that an election would not be necessary, as the number of candidates matched the number of board members. How- ever, a 20th candidate came forward, setting in place the course of action provided in the organisation's statute. According to the announcement of the Electoral Committee, the 20 candidates for the new board are: Phillip Vassiliadis, Leonidas Vlahakis, Angela Georgalis, Vasso Zangalis, Tammy Iliou, Voula (Stavroula) Kallianis, Michael Karamitos, George Koletsis, Nick Koukouvitakis, Alexis Costa, Theo Markos, Costas Markos, Jim Bosinakis, Nick Dallas, Spiros Papadopoulos, Bill Papastergiadis, Nick Parthimos, Marinis Pirpiris, Christos Sikavitsas and Constantinos Tsakoumis. All but five are current board members - among them, current president Bill Papastergiadis. working together." With the exception of the newest candidate, 19 out of the 20 candidates are affiliated with the current president. "One of the hallmarks achieved by the current board is that we are unified," Bill Papastergiadis has told Neos Kosmos. "There have been no internal rivalries; instead, we remain focused on the project that we have undertaken. I've been surrounded by talented people from a broad political spectrum; we have people from the far left to the right, The task of an 'opposition' party falls to the 20th candidate, Constantinos Tsakoumis. His candidacy sparked debate among the members of the GOCMV, as many tried to dissuade him, stating that the cost of the elections is too high. In a letter addressed to Neos Kosmos (published in Thursday's edition), Mr Tsakoumis condemned this attempt to abort elections and states that he was personally insulted by members during the AGM. Stating that he expects a formal apology for this behaviour he writes: "I have the right, as any other member, to offer to the organisation, given that I have served the Community as an educator for many years."
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