Building a Healthy Credit Culture Through Tech
Kreditbee is a digital lending platform that provides instant personal loans to salaried individuals and the self-employed
“It is highly essential for a country's growth that its citizens have access to responsible credit,” says Madhusudan Ekambaram. However, credit in the time of need eludes the majority of Indians not because of the dearth of capital but due to lack of access to it.
“The main reason for the credit gap is the traditional lending models’ inability to effectively assess them, and this is accentuated by the tedious processes consuming a lot of time and documentation. To promote financial inclusion, a lending firm should possess the ability and agility to utilize alternate data points, enabled by technology,” says Ekambaram.
Through KreditBee, Ekambaram along with his two co-founders Karthikeyan Krishnaswamy and Wan Hong is doing exactly that.
Launched in 2016, Kreditbee is a digital lending platform that provides instant personal loans to salaried individuals and the self-employed. The company follows a tech-based credit evaluation approach to process loan approvals. From checking the eligibility fit to application to disbursement and repayment of the loan, the entire loan process is online.
“It helps our customers acquire our credit solutions from their smartphones directly into their bank account without any requirement of paperwork or physical branch visits,” says co-founder and CEO Ekambaram, who is also co-founder of FACE (Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment), a not-for-profit representative body of consumer lending fintech companies.
Enabling Financial Inclusion Through Tech
KreditBee extensively utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning and profound data sources to underwrite customers. This approach enables the company to serve first time loan seekers as well as gig workers who do not have a regular income. ”Leveraging alternate lending data points apart from salary and bureau score, we are able to disburse to young professionals who are new to credit, and to those who are non-salaried like the gig workers. including part-timers, freelancers and self-employed.”
Not just loan disbursals, the company’s collections practices too are heavily tech-enabled. It uses robotics, automation, and many other techniques in addition to calling agents that vastly improves the reach of the customers and provides numerous options to use for collections.
On being asked how the company’s tech solutions can change the future, Ekambaram says technological integrations such as KreditBee’s have the potential to contribute towards building a healthy credit culture in the country. “This will in turn promote a high degree of financial inclusion, a process which has already begun and is only expected to pace up going further.”
Explaining further, Ekambaram pointed out that the impact of their service offerings have been multifold. With a completely online customer journey, the company has been able to eliminate extensive paperwork or branch visits involved in a loan process. “We help people to get loans from their smartphones directly into their bank account at any given point,” he said. Further, the company’s alternate lending model has enabled them to extend credit solutions to young professionals who are new to credit, and to those who are non-salaried. “ These customers are greatly underserved when it comes to credit.”
Kreditbee claims to have disbursed loans to over 5 million customers as of today. The company plans to diversify its product offerings to include digitally-enabled secured loans, home loans and credit-line backed cards with services like Buy-Now-Pay-Later and insurance.
Staying Ahead in a Changing Marketplace
As part of the fintech revolution, several digital loan platforms have mushroomed lately. Additionally, tech keeps evolving by the day. So, ask Ekambaram how KreditBee plans to stay relevant in this constantly changing marketplace and he has one simple answer - by constantly adapting.
“Technology has taken the role of an enabler so that organizations can operate in the changing circumstances. Hence, we need to ensure that the organization’s technology upgrades are in line with our basic goal of solving our customers’ credit gap,” he said. “It is now more than ever essential to emphasize on product customization and personalization.”
Further, there’s been a massive data outburst with digitization and while leveraging the same, it’s important that organisations strengthen its security, said Ekambaram. “Key fundamentals to consider while devising data security architecture are regular backups of their data, encryption of personally identifiable information and other sensitive data points to stop data loss incidents, implementation of multi-factor authentication and use of VPN service.”