Voyager Innovations, the digital innovations arm of PLDT and Smart, introduced Lendr, the country’s first online marketplace platform for consumer loans, to members of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) during the group’s 58th Charter Anniversary Symposium held at the Mariott Hotel, Pasay City.
Lendr is a fully digital, multi-channel, telco and bank agnostic solution that financial institutions and credit providers can use to reach consumers planning to avail of loans. Through Lendr, consumers will be offered 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.
Any consumer 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.
In the event attended by more than 500 rural bank presidents and CEOs from across the country, PLDT, Smart and Voyager Innovations Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan led the launching of the service and the signing of the partnership agreement with RBAP together with Voyager Innovations President and CEO Orlando B. Vea, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. and RBAP President Enrique Abellana.
Voyager Innovations is collaborating with RBAP and its individual member rural banks to further expand its reach and drive financial access in the countryside through Lendr. Aside from the partnership with RBAP, more than 50 individual rural banks already signed up to be part of Lendr.
“PLDT and Smart strongly believe in enabling broader financial access to Filipinos. By bringing digital services to the countryside, we help our partners like RBAP extend their reach and enhance their efficiency,” said PLDT and Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan during his keynote speech.
“Leveraging on mobile technology is a great equalizer where small banks could compete with even large industry players; it simply levels the playing field,” Pangilinan added.
“The BSP welcomes digital financial innovations that are responsive to consumer needs while further promoting interoperability, which is one of the pillars of our soon-to-be rolled out National Retail Payments System,” said BSP Deputy Governor Espenilla.
“As the leader in digital financial innovation, we’re committed to helping the unbanked and underserved segment of the population so they can participate in the economic mainstream,” said Voyager President and CEO Orlando B. Vea.
In data published by the BSP for 2014, rural banks are seen as growing despite the smaller individual reach and scale. Rural bank industry 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. Total domestic deposits increased to P144.5 billion in 2014 from P135.6 billion in 2013.
“With this digital partnership, we are helping 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,” said 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.
PLDT Smart SME Nation, a long-time partner of RBAP, will also be collaborating with both RBAP and Voyager Innovations to help provide a wide range of technology and connectivity solutions for rural banks across the country.