RCBC’s Diskartech expands to loan services

Diskartech, the digital bank arm of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and the first and only digital bank in the Philippines available in local languages, has expanded its services by offering loans to users with targeted disbursements of as much as P500 million in partnership with at least 20 lending partners. 

Lito Villanueva, executive vice-president and chief innovation and inclusion officer of RCBC, said the loan feature will be formally opened after the Holy Week or early April, next month, to its users. Diskartech will be offering 11 different product loan types from doctor’s loans, cars, tricycles, trucks and motorcycles, targeting individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises. 

Villanueva said that Diskartech will initially work two partners — Asialink Finance Corp. and Cepat Kredit Financing Inc.— but will eventually onboard around 20 lending partners. The interest rate would be 7-10 percent or an effective rate of 8-12 percent depending on the type of loans. 

Maturity of the loan would also vary depending on the product type of loan and provider although it could be a duration of 3 months to 60 months. Diskartech and partners will have a revenue sharing that would still make them the most affordable in the market. There are an estimated 10 new digital banks this year. 

Villanueva, who is also the chief digital transformation for the Yuchengco Group  of Companies, explained that the partnership with third party loan providers is just part the Phase 1 of its loan service offering. Diskartech will follow through with its own loan feature towards the third and fourth quarters this year. 

“This is a good timing for us so we can showcase the small lending institutions,” he said. 

He explained that RCBC has not really positioned Diskartech as a payments or loans app, but as a savings deposit to develop that savings culture among its users especially during the pandemic although the digital bank is designed for other services such as loans, insurance and payments. Thus, they offer an attractive interest rate of 3.25 percent to all depositors regardless of the amount. 

He also stressed they made sure that its customers would first get the service they need the most, which is savings deposit account, and not to clutter them with services that they don’t need at the moment. “So our strategy is we did not present at the onset Diskartech as payments app nor a loans app but a savings app but plus plus because want to build a behavior of savings among Filipinos,” he said. 

In fact, its savings deposits also posted a robust growth of 135 percent in February this year versus January this year for a total value of P23.1 million. Total deposits now for Diskartech users already reached over P45 million. 

At present, Diskartech has close to 4 million mobile app downloads and 2.8 million registered users but the basic deposit account holders or those verified depositors already reached one million. 

Even during the pandemic, Diskartech aggressively partnered with other entities to push its financial inclusion initiative. 

It has partnered with the Social Security System wherein Diskartech users can tap the SSS portal for the disbursements of their benefits. It has also partnered with the Department of Education for its Ipon Galing campagin to promote savings mobilization for an estimated 27 million students and teachers

It has also strongly campaigned for financial inclusion by offering a Cebuano dialect for the Diskartech app taking note of the huge Cebuano speaking market, estimated to account for over 25 percent of total Philippine population, mostly in Visayas and Mindanao. Previous to this, Diskartech adopted a Taglish (Tagalog English) version in the app. 

Diskartech has also a collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in cooperation with the Blas Ople Training Center to enable OFWs to register and create a Diskartech account using their passport for verification purposes. 

RCBC’s Diskartech is also the first local and universal bank to collaborate with Viber on financial inclusion initiative with Madiskarte Filipino sticker pack for free. Viber has 44 million users in the country. The collaboration will be launched this Friday and has now attracted 6,000 users onboard a few days before the actual launch.