KAMPALA — Making financial services available to more people by lowering costs and barriers to access is increasingly becoming a key focus area for Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) that seek to ensure financial inclusion for all.
Their transformative power owes to their ability to serve the once financially excluded people, using technology to facilitate mobile payments, provide loans, bill payments and money transfers, among others.
One of the entities with potential of becoming prominent in that space is Enabling Finance, a Najjera-based money lending finance company providing affordable and easier financial services to the public.
The firm started in 2014, offering personal secured loans to university students before venturing into short-term market loans.
However, this saw the company suffer a major setback, as most borrowers did not repay the loans, pushing the company in liquidity challenges.
This, however, did not water down their spirit as they bounced back in 2017 with an innovative solution dubbed FINABLR, tier IV money lending network application that connects diligent borrowers to professional moneylenders under a friendly and enabling environment.
This product, according to Luke Yyeyo, Enabling Finance founder and chief executive officer, has proved to be a game changer to both individuals and businesses that want easy access to loans.
“As we were working to grow our portfolio in 2017, we realised that technology was the solution to lending issues faced in the past and that is when we developed FINABLR,” Yyeyo said.
FINABLR, according to Yyeyo, is flexible, allows private individual lenders to partner with the company since the country’s law does not allow unregistered lenders to get involved in the lending business and any one can apply for a loan.
Additionally, it prepares clients that could be ineligible for the current loan for future financial acceptance, enables lenders to fill in gaps for other lenders that cannot meet their professional take and also offers affordable interest rates to borrowers.
The company’s goal is to provide refined financial services using state of the art technology and methods, delivered through world-class customer care so as to economically empower the population.
To apply for a loan, one is on boarded on the FINABLR application through a website; one submits the loan application on the app, indicating the purpose for which they want the funds.
Enabling Finance is one of the financial players taking part in the 40-days-40-FinTechs project, an initiative of HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.
The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.
40 days-40-FinTechs project
Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.
“We are pleased to be part of the 40-days-40-FinTechs project. As a young company, such engagements help us improve our product and platforms. We are able to learn best FinTech practices,” Yyeyo said.
He added: “We have had a great discussion about Mojaloop and interoperability; our developers have their work cut out. New technologies are available. It is up to us to make good use of them. I thank HiPipo for organizing this.”
The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya applauded Enabling Finance for democratizing money lending, saying that it creates an ecosystem that allows anyone to borrow and lend freely, which will in turn result in a democratic network that will change the narrative, especially about moneylenders as being shrewd people.
“We are talking about an economy that includes everyone; so we are talking about solutions that are enabling the last man at the bottom of the pyramid to access financial services,” Kawooya said.
He added: “We are speaking to how we can collaborate with technology providers and cut your costs and then have interoperable solutions to make it easy for lending from anywhere using technology. It is not something that can be done in one day because it is a long journey but as long you plan ahead of time, you get there.”