• Online loan marketplace eyed


    TECHNOLOGY firm Voyager Innovations has linked with the Rural Bank Association of the Philippines (RBAP) to launch the Philippines’ first online marketplace platform for consumer loans, to give countryside folk more financial access.

    In a statement, Smart Communications subsidiary said the new consumer lending platform would be made through Lendr, a fully digital, multi-channel telco and “bank-agnostic” solution that financial institutions and credit providers can use to reach consumers who want to borrow money.

    “By bringing digital services to the countryside, we help our partners like RBAP extend their reach and enhance their efficiency,” Voyager Innovations Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said during RBAP’s 58th Charter Anniversary Symposium at Mariott Hotel in Pasay City recently.

    Pangilinan said leveraging on mobile technology is a great equalizer, where small banks could compete with even large industry players, leveling the playing field.

    “We’re committed to helping the unbanked and underserved segment of the population so they can participate in the economic mainstream,” Voyager Innovations President and Chief Executive Officer Orlando Vea added.

    Voyager Innovations said it is offering consumers a “convenient, transparent, fast, and secure service through a marketplace that provides an all-in-one account and multiple loan options, delivered straight to the mobile device.”

    It said anyone can apply any time whenever they need money for emergencies, minor house repairs, or school tuition via SMS, mobile app, or online with any device or telco provider.

    Consumers are in full control, as they can keep track of their loan application status, loan repayments, and amortization schedule, Voyager said.

    The digital partnership will enable and optimize the reach of rural banks and at the same time, empower customers who want to avail of loans to make informed decisions as to the best offers and competitive interest rates by just checking out Lendr via their mobile phones or devices, according Lito Villanueva, vice president and head of Fintech, Digital Inclusion, and Alliances at Voyager Innovations.

    “Lendr removes the inconvenience of having to download multiple mobile banking apps or even visiting various bank websites just to look for any consumer loan product—it is a one-stop-loan shop,” Villanueva stressed.

    Lendr was introduced during RBAP’s recently concluded 58th Charter Anniversary Symposium.

    During the event, Pangilinan led the launching of the service and the signing of the partnership agreement with RBAP, including Vea, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr., and RBAP President Enrique Abellana.

    “The BSP welcomes digital financial innovations that are responsive to consumer needs while further promoting inter-operability, which is one of the pillars of our soon-to-be rolled out National Retail Payments System,” said Espenilla.

    BSP data showed that rural banks are growing despite the smaller individual reach and scale. The industry’s assets grew to P203.8 billion in 2014 from P188.4 billion in 2013.

    Total loan portfolio also expanded to P128.3 billion last year from P121.9 billion in the previous year, while total domestic deposits increased to P144.5 billion in 2014 from P135.6 billion in 2013.



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