According to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey by Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, over a third of adults find it difficult to obtain loans from formal financial institutions for a variety of reasons including documentary requirements, lack of collateral, lack of necessary ID, and level of salary. These factors leave Filipinos with little options but to turn to informal sources such as friends, family, relatives, and other informal lenders for loans.
However, to guarantee security and yield for both parties, there’s a grueling high cost that comes with hiring lawyers to draft legal documents and the headache of finding trustworthy intermediaries to facilitate the loan process. This often open vulnerable Filipinos to be exploited by the schemes of 5–6 lenders and loan sharks. With 40% of the borrowers acquiring their loans from informal sources, there is an imminent need for a better solution to microfinance loans. For those living paycheck to paycheck without any savings for medical emergencies and for starting a new business, a friendly loan can be life-changing.
Credovita, a startup under the Launchgarage portfolio, recently released a financial platform seeking to put an end to the legal and intermediary inconveniences currently existing in informal loans and introduce friend-to-friend lending to the masses.
Introducing Flapp: The Friendly Lending App, a loan facilitation app that helps friends and families make friendly loans without relying on flimsy legal agreements or expensive lawyers. With Flapp, loans are simplified down to a facilitation app that allows family and friends the freedom to lend money to each other on their own terms such as the interest rates, payment schemes, and transfer method of funds in four steps.
The team behind Flapp understands the human element of trust when it comes to lending, coming to the realization that no amount of background checks, security bonds, or borrower data could evoke that feeling of trust. Julian Patdu, Co-Founder and Chief of Engineering of Credovita, proves the point saying that no one will lend to a stranger just as a bank will not invest in a market they don’t understand. Hence they’ve targeted friends and family who have already established that sense of trust for their service.
“It took us countless iterations of solving the problem of “How to get financing from X to Y” before ending up with the idea for Flapp: What if we just target people who already trust each other, ie. Friends and Family?” -Julian Patdu, Co-Founder and Chief of Engineering, Credovita
When asked on the vision and strategy of Credovita for 2019, Patdu expressed high hopes and goals for the startup. The Luxembourg-based financial technology startup mark 2019 to be a significant pivotal year for them moving forward to become the leading arranger and primary financial platform for friendly loans. They hold their ground as a disruptive player in the lending space in Southeast Asia while simultaneously being the largest first point of contact with formal credit history and credit interactions with a majority of underbankeds in their market.
To upgrade their platform to handle more complex loan arrangements, more legal services, and more ways to transfer and recover loaned funds, Credovita is looking into investing heavily in partnerships and engineering. This includes having their eyes set on emerging technologies such as blockchain and other cryptographic means to integrate to their platform to secure data and eventually facilitate cross-border transactions.
“[We believe] access to financial services and information truly drive not only individuals but entire economies forward. Sustainable and responsible economic growth is truly what will bring us all to a more equitable world where we can tackle the big problems on a common footing.”-Diego Manalastas and Julian Patdu, Founders, Credovita
Credovita has come a long way since they’ve garnered international recognition as the winner of the Massachusetts Institution of Technology Global Startup Workshop last March 2018. Since then, they’ve been gaining momentum with their agency banking service and most recently, the release of the Flapp app. Both creations have pioneered groundbreaking concepts to their respective market and industry. Surely we can expect to see Credovita on the rise in the coming years.
Credovita backed by two premier startup accelerators across continents, Luxinnovation from Luxembourg and Launchgarage Innovation Hub from the Philippines. To get started on friendly loans, check out their website and head on over to the Credovita Flapp Loan Builder.