PLDT’s fintech unit going beyond lending
FINTQ, the financial technology (fintech) arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, disbursed more than P12 billion in new loans through its digital lending platform, Lendr, last year or nearly a third higher than the year-ago level.
Lendr opened up a new financing channel especially to the unbanked segment of the population.
Lito Villanueva, FINTQ managing director, said Lendr would likely sustain a double-digit growth in business in 2018 and might even double last year’s performance.
“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,” Villanueva said.
He added: “2018 will be a banner year for FINTQ as we are going beyond lending.”
In 2017, Villanueva said growth was propelled by business synergies with both banks and nonbank associations sealed throughout the year and the regulatory support given to FINTQ. He noted that applications through Lendr registered the highest loan approval rate at about 40 percent last year.
With more than the P12 billion disbursed last year, total disbursement has reached about P27 billion since Lendr came to market in 2015, Villanueva said.
“Lendr’s feature of filtering of loan applicants based on the bank and nonbank 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.
“The 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 need 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 (rest and recreation) 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.
Eight out of 10 of Lendr’s borrowers are from the provinces and about 26 percent are residing in low-income cities and municipalities. “This only shows that there is really a huge market still untapped 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,” he said.
In terms of types of loan applications received, he said the majority were for salary loans while there were also a number of applications for microfinance and business loans. He said nearly 50 percent of the transactions were done after banking hours, signifying 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.
On top of the traditional salary, personal, home, and auto loan products, Lendr offers mobile crop loan, medicine loan, micro, small and medium enterprise loan, overseas Filipino loan, and truck and equipment loan.—DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA
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