GoBear has announced the acquisition of end-to-end digital consumer lender AsiaKredit to expand its business and regional reach, following its 2019 announcement of having raised $80 million to date.
The acquisition accelerates GoBear’s plans to drive growth through digital lending, which is one of the three key business pillars alongside digital insurance brokerage and the company's financial supermarket, all built on the foundation of alternative data.
AsiaKredit provides consumer finance products to underserved consumers in the Philippines. Through its flagship mobile app pera247, the company has processed over one million loan applications via fast and convenient lines of credit not provided by traditional banks.
With robust risk management and automation, credit assessment decisions take place in a matter of minutes and time to cash disbursements in hours, bringing AsiaKredit more than 100 times growth in loans disbursed in the last two years.
“The establishment of an industry-leading lending business is a critical component of GoBear’s strategy to support our banking partners in providing loans to the many underserved consumers in Asia,” GoBear’s chief executive officer Adrian Chng commented. “With AsiaKredit’s sophisticated data-driven underwriting and collections capability, which sets them well apart from lenders in the region, the acquisition will allow GoBear to accelerate strategic plans by giving us access to end-to-end digital lending capabilities.”
Access to credit remains a challenge for many in Southeast Asia, with more than 70% of the region, or 296 million people, currently underbanked or unbanked, according to a study by Bain & Company. With economic growth in developing countries set to decline sharply in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, providing consumers with access to credit will become increasingly important.
The acquisition will see GoBear improve financial inclusion by introducing lending as a service to its network of more than 100 partners. It will also see the expansion of a direct consumer lending service through pera247.
“Both GoBear and AsiaKredit share a vision to offer accessible and responsible financial services to those across the region. This acquisition represents a fantastic opportunity for AsiaKredit to leverage GoBear’s regional presence and expand the reach of our credit lending services to Southeast Asia and Hong Kong’s underserved consumers. We are excited to take the AsiaKredit platform beyond the Philippines in the next phase of our growth,” AsiaKredit’s chief executive officer Mike Singh said.
In the last year alone, GoBear has seen its revenue from consumer finance products increased by over 100%. By giving its users more access to financial products and services, GoBear will be able to leverage this data and insights from both banking and insurance verticals to better assess price risk. The result is the development of more appropriate financial products with partners to match consumer needs in the region.
“With AsiaKredit as part of the GoBear family, we will be in a stronger position to fulfil our mission of improving the financial health of the underserved across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. GoBear and AsiaKredit, together with our banking partners, will be able to offer millions of consumers access to an alternate source of credit and ethical lending,” Chng added.
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker