Fintq, the financial-technology arm of the country’s largest telecommunications and digital- services firm PLDT, is launching a financial-inclusion movement that turns members of the low-income classes into promoters of formal financial services as part of a community of self-help entrepreneurs, which is seen to grow by over a million by the end of the year.
Fintq will officially launch the movement, called “Kasama Ka”, on September 6 at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to introduce its 21 loan products on Lendr, a mobile-based one-stop loans shop that is accessible online, along with savings, deposits and insurance services, among low-income earners, especially vendors of sweetened tofu with tapioca balls, or magtataho, and fertilized duck egg, or magbabalut, and tricycle drivers.
The individuals will be integrated in a referral system where they can share information on the financial services by Fintq’s partner banks and other financial institutions with their customers and earn additional income from it.
This year Fintq plans to attract at least 1 million referors and clients belonging to the financially inclusive community. The firm sees its members expanding to 60 million, as the Philippine population increases more than the current 103 million and basic information on Lendr spreads through word of mouth in the next years.
“We are building a base of shakers and movers at the bottom of the pyramid. It is an income-builder movement where multisectoral, self-help individuals will now be given a unique referral code that will be used by their loyal customers, or suki, or whoever wants to apply for a loan or insurance. The referred persons then can enter the code and, if the loan is approved, the referor will get a commission of P300,” Fintq Managing Director Lito Villanueva told the BusinessMirror.
Villanueva said among its objectives, the movement was created to stop informal lending through 5-6 to members of low-income classes who are demanded by the lender 20-percent interest rate on fast but exorbitant loans.
“To be able to address [the so-called] 5-6 lending, we can now make the referors, who travel about 6 kilometers to 10 km a day to sell, be promoters of financial inclusion, as well, through products and services of formal institutions, such as banks, cooperatives,
insurance and micro, small and medium (MSME) lenders. Through their own efforts and Fintq’s financial incentives, we also promote a culture of self-help and entrepreneurship and sustainable growth,” Villanueva said.
Fintq has a network of 50 global partners, which also include government agencies, development organizations and multimedia firms, and a market coverage of 100 percent of the country’s provinces with 20 partner-rural banks, 93 percent of cities and 14 percent of municipalities.
With its business model anchored on the firm’s mission to engage and empower people to experience innovative financial services, Fintq has received 35 local and international business and social development awards. Thus, another primary objective of the movement is to promote awareness of innovative, accessible, easy and cheaper tools of acquiring financial services among lower socioeconomic groups, who are part of the unbanked and financially underserved sector.
With Kasama Ka, Fintq aims to emphasizes the firm is not a bank but an enabling agent for banks and other financial institutions to reach all segments of the market needing additional money for their various needs and endeavors.
The effort to strengthen this objective was a response to some individuals who visited the firm’s office to ask for loans.
“Kasama Ka is an extension of Fintq’s contributions to and collaborative steps toward financial inclusion nationwide and across all sectors. Fintq will continue to make systems more efficient because sustainable growth is not solely and simply reacting in opposite ways to the current system but building new ones,” Villanueva said.