Paylater.ng, a Nigerian startup that offers small loans has announced that is now issuing 1,000 loans daily. In the announcement, the company said it was disbursing about 200 loans a day at the beginning of the year.
“We set ourselves what we felt was an aggressive target of 1,000 loans issued on a daily basis. We felt it was ambitious not because of a lack of demand (who hasn’t got a friend that needs a loan?) but rather the challenge to risk-assess 1,000 people that we had never met, living in all states of Nigeria and then disburse within a short time frame to their bank accounts,” the startup said via its Medium page.
Today, the startup said over 60% of these 1,000 loans are disbursed within 1 minute with the rest all under 5 minutes and they span a range of N7,500 to N200k for first time borrowers.
“The inevitable question is “yes, great but are you profitable? Any monkey can give out loans — but are you collecting?” Our mothers taught us not to boast, so let’s say that our default is between 10% and 20%, but trust us that its a manageable number. If you don’t believe us then look out for us early next year — if you are right, then we won’t be around.”
The company admitted that it only gives loans via smartphones so the 60% of Nigerians that have feature phones are excluded hence the problem of financial inclusion is not yet solved.
“Moreover, for most local banks, “financial inclusion” is just another way of saying “let me provide another channel to take your savings”. Less than 10% of customers have accessed loans from any formal financial institution but you don’t see banks showing the same energy to grow their retail assets as they do their retail deposits. We are also unhappy with the cost of borrowing but with a cost of funds at around 30% and inflation running at around 15%, we have no choice.”
Looking forward, the startup is looking to partner with the African Development Bank, the World Bank Group and other international financial institutions to be able to offer low interest loans.
“Trust us when we say that if we get this Christmas gift, we will match the rates the commercial banks give to their customers for secured loans.”
Now the startup wants to continue to grow.
“Our next goal is to keep amassing large numbers of customers so that we can break the stigma that the so-called lowly worker is not trustworthy. Our next goal is to keep amassing large numbers of customers so that we can break the stigma that the so-called lowly worker is not trustworthy, or that if you give that first-time entrepreneur a loan (s)he will not pay back.”