To realize the vision of financial inclusion across the country, regulators and industry players must work together to fast-track the digital transformation of rural banks, which play a key role in developing the countryside, an executive from financial technology firm FINTQ remarked during a conference recently.
FINTQ managing director Lito Villanueva stressed how digital can level the playing field and enable rural banks to compete with the bigger commercial banks.
“Just recently, FINTQ launched the first rural bank on Lendr through Camalig Bank in Bicol, which will help borrowers from around the region to lessen travel time and have their salary loan applications approved in as fast as 24 hours. Providing access to finance to the farthest reaches of the country is really where digital can help bridge critical gaps toward a more inclusive Philippine economy,” Villanueva said. FINTQ is the financial technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations.
Aside from Camalig Bank, Lendr recently launched the country’s first digital agri crop loan on Lendr in partnership with Producers Bank, which helps farmers gain access to finance for purchase of various crops and seeds.
One of the keys to unlocking inclusive finance, he added, is disrupting the high cost of credit assessment and verification for borrowers, which can only be realized if banks are able to digitize their processes and turn customers’ digital trails into financial track records.
To help rural banks embark on this digital journey, FINTQ through its pioneering and award-winning digital lending platform Lendr has launched a shared-services program in partnership with RBAP, which will help small rural banks gain access to game-changing technology platforms at a much lower cost and investment. Through Lendr, rural banks will be able to offer a variety of loan products to customers wherever they are in the country, and evaluate and decide on their loan applications.
To date, Lendr has signed up close to 40 banks and non-bank financial institutions on its platforms. Since launch, FINTQ’s various digital lending platforms–including Lendr, LANDBANK Mobile Loan Saver (with LANDBANK), and Pera Agad (with Cash Credit)–helped disbursed close to P20 billion in loans to borrowers, around 70% of which reside outside Metro Manila.
FINTQ currently has the most extensive digital lending footprint in the country today, with loan transactions coming from all 81 provinces, 90% of the 145 cities and 8% of the 1,490 municipalities.