[04 JANUARY 2018] FINTQ–the financial technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations–saw loan disbursements processed through Lendr, its digital lending platform, balloon by nearly a third in 2017 from a year ago with most of the borrowers coming from the ‘starting out’ segment, an executive said.
“Loans disbursed through Lendr for 2017 reached more than P12 billion, nearly a third higher than the volume recorded the year before, bringing our total loans disbursed to about P27 billion since we went to market in 2015,” said Lito Villanueva, FINTQ Managing Director.
The tremendous year-on-year performance, Villanueva said, was mainly propelled by business synergies with both banks and non-bank associations sealed throughout the year and the regulatory support given to FINTQ. He also noted that applications through Lendr registered the highest loan approval rate at around 40% last year due to “digital efficiencies.”
“Lendr’s feature of filtering of loan applicants based on the bank and non-bank partners’ credit parameters enabled them to quickly generate quality leads and approve eligible borrowers,” he said.
As of end-2017, FINTQ has inked agreements with a total of 70 institutions. These include: the Landbank of the Philippines; China Bank Savings; RCBC Savings Bank; Philippine Bank of Communications; Producers Savings Bank Corp.; Camalig Bank, Inc. (A Rural Bank); PNB Savings Bank; Maybank Philippines; EastWest Bank; CARD Bank, Inc.; CARD SME Bank, Inc.; Rizal Bank, Inc.; First Circle; Esquire Financing, Inc.; ALGO Leasing and Finance; Cebuana Lhuillier; Atram Trust Corp.’s Seedbox Technologies; Radiowealth Finance Company; Chamber of Thrift Banks; and the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines. FINTQ will also be working with CoopHub to offer Lendr services to over 26,000 cooperatives nationwide.
“Majority of those who borrow through Lendr are single, female, employed, and are the so-called millennials or those born from 1982 to 2004. Such borrowers are what we call the ‘Starting Out’ segment–or the young adults who are just beginning with their careers. At this stage of their lives, they only have need for relatively simple financial products such as a transaction account and/or a credit card. From time to time, they utilize basic banking products to fund their R&R activities (e.g. travel, new gadgets, or hobby) or invest in the financial market,” Villanueva said.
“Borrowers who use Lendr are those with profiles that are targeted by banks. This only goes to show that our platform is really beneficial for our bank and non-bank partners as we work together in providing the financial needs of consumers,” Villanueva said.
However, he also pointed out that “8 out of 10 of our borrowers are from the provinces and about 26% are residing in low-income cities and municipalities. This only shows that there is really a huge untapped market by formal financial institutions in rural communities and with our digital financial platforms such as Lendr, wherein we also offer micro-loans via Pera Agad, we are able to service their financial needs,” said Villanueva.
FINTQ and Voyager Innovations are strongly committed to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to promote the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion. It targets to include 30 million Filipinos in the formal financial sector by 2020 through KasamaKA–its grassroots-based financial inclusion program–and Lendr, which also offers Pera Agad–a micro-loan service for the unbanked and underbanked without or has limited access to finance. Through Pera Agad, qualified Smart and Talk and Text prepaid subscribers can apply for loans ranging from P2,000 to P10,000 with a term of 4 to 36 weeks.
In terms of types of loan applications received, Villanueva shared that majority are for salary loans. There were also a number of applications for microfinance and business loans. He noted that nearly 50% of the transactions are done after banking hours, which signifies that “digital platforms that provide banking products and services have absolutely eased doing banking transactions for consumers.”
“Through Lendr, our digital lending platform, prospective borrowers can apply for a loan and can closely monitor their loan accounts anytime of the day and wherever they are,” Villanueva said.
Lendr has the most expansive loan offerings. On top of the traditional salary, personal, home, and auto loan products, it offers mobile crop loan, medicine loan, mSME loan, overseas Filipino loan, and truck and equipment loan, among others.
With all its efforts, Lendr is the first non-bank product to win the Consumer Finance Product of the Year at the recent Asian Banker Philippine Country Awards. It was cited for being a trailblazer in digital lending service in the country with the most extensive reach in the countryside. It showcased how it has become a pervasive and useful platform for financial inclusion and inclusive growth.
A rosy outlook for Lendr
“For 2018, we are confident that with the deployment of a number of our Lendr partners, we will keep our double-digit growth and could even double last year’s performance,” Villanueva said.
Overall, he said: “While we are accelerating our digital lending initiative through Lendr, several game-changing platforms will also be launched. Other key digital platforms for various financial services will be introduced in the market come 2018. These will further galvanize our position in the industry as the leading fintech company with the largest digital footprint in the country. We will also be expanding our operations outside the Philippines.”
“2018 will be a banner year for FINTQ as we are going beyond lending,” Villanueva said.