By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
Singapore-based digital lending provider GoBear said it will expand coverage in the Philippines following its acquisition of end-to-end digital consumer lender, AsiaKredit.
Adrian Chng, CEO, GoBear, said in a statement that the acquisition bolsters GoBear’s plans to expand its business and regional reach, following its announcement last year of having raised $80 million to date. It also accelerates GoBear’s plans to drive growth through digital lending; one of 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 1 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 100x 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. 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,” said Chng.
Access to credit remains a challenge for many in Southeast Asia, with more than 70 percent 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 (“LaaS”) to its network of more than 100 partners, helping them provide loans to underserved consumers in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. 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,” said Mike Singh, co-founder and CEO of AsiaKredit.