13/09/2023 Banking Innovation


Many people dream of having their own place, but buying property is becoming increasingly out of reach. This is where HappyNest, the rental and purchase solution from BNP Paribas Fortis and Matexi comes in. HappyNest allows the dream of home ownership come true step by step for those without enough savings to buy right away. HappyNest makes sustainable living accessible to more people by allowing prospective buyers to rent an energy-efficient new-build home until they are able to purchase the property. The rents are then partly deducted from the purchase price.

Innovation presentation

As leading bank and major credit issuer, BNP Paribas Fortis has the responsibility to build a strong sustainability strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of our residential real estate portfolio and support our clients in the transition to green.

Driving an energy transition in our residential real estate market should be realized with limited exclusion, focusing on both environmental and social angles whilst keeping bottom line profitability for BNPPF intact. The road toward Net Zero requires a joint effort from all income classes.

HappyNest fits in this vision as it only offers newly build, energy efficient units, with the best practices in energy and resource efficiency. HappyNest offers a rent-to-own formula, in which customers will first rent the real-estate, before buying it. At the moment of purchase half of the rent (of the last 4 years) is refunded in the form of a discount on the purchase price. This formula makes green residential real estate more accessible to a wider audience.

With this cross-industry platform we bring innovation in the real-estate market by introducing a new product. The bank (BNP Paribas Fortis) brings the financial accumen of financial leasing whereas the construction company (Matexi) delivers real-estate expertise and product offer. HappyNest offers a 'Phygital' user experience in which we cover most of the customer journey on our digital channels, whereas physical visits are done with our local sales agents. The full sales funnel is managed through a CRM system from qualified lead up until contract signature.

Uniqueness of the project

HappyNest is unique in the market as it creates a new product in residential real-estate by combining Financial Services with classical real-estate products, some call it rent-to-own, others call it financial leasing in residential real-estate. In the context of high inflation and high interest rates, this product offering is becoming highly relevant. After 4 months in the market we have strong commercial results, a lot of press attention, and have actively engaged with the relevant politicians to get support for this highly needed market initiative.

The project is unique as it covers the ESG agenda of different industries while delivering a positive business case for the shareholders (BNPP Fortis and Matexi). HappyNest covers the E in ESG as we only invest in newly build, energy efficient units, with the best practices in energy and resource efficiency. HappyNest covers the S in ESG as we make green residential real estate accessible to a broader audience of people who would not be able to buy real estate in the regular market and would be stuck in the rental market for the rest of their lives.

HappyNest is a beautiful example of beyond banking eco-systems creating market impact by collaboration of different partners. On the Strategy side Accenture plays a strong role as partner of the bank in its beyond banking endeavors. In a truly collaborative manner the project was realized from strategy to implementation and market impact. This is one of the first cross-industry ecosystems in Banking where we successfully and pragmatically approached the 2-speed IT challenge. For core banking processes (such as KYC, etc.) we remain on the existing BNP Paribas Fortis infrastructure and systems. For processes related to the real-estate transaction we remain outside of the BNP Paribas Fortis infrastructure to be nimble and ensure a high speed-to-market at low costs. We believe this approach is a key success factor for cross-industry initiatives in financial services.

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