eCompareMo.com holds second annual Finovation 2019 forum focusing more with collaboration and upgrade on fintech services for consumers
eCompareMo.com, a leading online financial marketplace solution, held its annual Finovation 2019: Real Problems, Real Solutions last September 25 at the Manila Peninsula, Makati City. It gathers some of the key industry stakeholders, policymakers, regulators, and cooperatoves to discuss financial trends, industry challenges and possible solution to improve credit access and help the financially underserved Filipinos.
The event started with opening remarks from Stephanie Chung, Co-founder and CEO, eCompareMo.com followed by a keynote speech from Gov. Benjamin Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The discussions and issues that was tackled involved on consumer rights, industry challenges, regulators projects and platforms. Angel Dimitrov, Chief Innovation Officer, FinScore shared ideas on the best practices under the topic “Lending to the Underbanked.” Finally, the closing remarks was done by Ched Limson, Chief Operating Officer, eCompareMo.com that officially ended the successful forum.
The highlight of the Finovation 2019 event is the presentation and demonstration of eCompareMo.com’s new innovation the “Digital Onboarding” discussed by J.P. Ellis, Group CEO and Co-Founder, C88 Financial Technologies Inc., and Anne Yosuico, Head of Business Development, eCompareMo.com.
We are fortunate enough to have a one on one interview with J.P. Ellis which he further explained to us about digital onboarding the new fintech technology being offered by ecomparemo.com.
Can you explain about the company and the new service presented today at Finovation about digital onboarding?
Basically we operate in the Philippines as ecomparemo.com since 2014. So we were among one of the first fintech companies in the Philippines. Actually prior to that, we’ve been operating a technology company in the Philippines since 2008. So we very much been in the Philippines for a long time doing this stuff. So what we presented today basically was what we think is the next generation of our platform. So as we all saw it today obviously not the future but the present is digital right.
Consumers are on there and obviously doing things in an old way let’s say paper based or tele or branch based right. While that still has its place it’s not the consumer’s expectation and it results in higher costs and longer processing times. Come on. It’s 2019 Manila’s probably the capital city for digital on planet earth. We think we can do better right. So what we present today again was the digital onboarding family of products. And basically this represents a customizable sequence of fintech steps that a financial institution like a bank or not big financial institution an insurance company a rural bank literally any financial institution can acquire customers validate them underwrite them score them in a customizable sequence.
The best way to think about this is basically a series of Lego blocks. We can construct the Lego blocks based on who the customer is. So for instance, if we’re dealing with let’s say a BPO employee in Cebu we might have a different sequence versus if we’re dealing with somebody who works in a top 500 corporation let’s say in the metro. Now of course those sequences can also be different if we’re talking about a loan, a credit card, a mortgage, vehicle loan, insurance policy and so on.
So we have basically digital Lego blocks that we can work with our financial institution partners to create these steps and again for the consumer that then feels native it feels logical it feels very kind of what you’re used to day to day. And for the financial institution they can be relevant here. They can also reduce costs reduce processing time and protect data.
Does it involve artificial intelligence?
Yeah absolutely! In fact, we’re in partnership with Experian so experience one of the world’s largest credit scoring software and A.I. companies.
So a lot of Experian technology is here. In fact, Experian and A.I. technology is part of the Lego blocks. In addition to that ourselves basically within our software teams that have been here in Manila since 2008. We do have data science artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities and these can again be employed across a wide spectrum of use cases for lending. Most certainly insurance as well. So there’s a lot of things that can be done here.
How secure is the new digital onboarding service?
So we think that cybersecurity data security and the consumer’s right to that data is the number one most important thing. Basically there’s you know, in many cases a lack of security is doing it by the conventional way. If we fill out paper or forms or give our information over Viber it’s very difficult to track and trace where does that data go. It’s like once it’s released it can go anywhere right. But if we actually operate on digital onboarding principles then again those Lego blocks can be customized. But guess what, we also have audit logs we have tracks over that. So if something happens or one of those boxes is compromised you can actually see that very clearly.
We think data security is a big thing in the world right now. We think it’s going to be a big thing in Southeast Asia. It’s becoming a big thing in the Philippines and to adopt a digital onboarding solution basically means to leap immediately into a higher security standard.
What are the steps/process that consumers will undergo with the digital onboarding?
Basically it’s something that goes across a sequence of steps right. If you’re interested what we did in the demo was purchasing a new smartphone. So it can go from here’s the device I’m interested all the way to. ok let’s check if I’m eligible for it right…and depending on what Lego blocks and or a right get somebody working for a top 500 hundred in the metro might be different from somebody working in a BPO and Cebu. It all depends on the underwriting procedures that make. So they need to then establish I’m eligible for this. Then the next step is pricing. So at what interest rate right then you go through that application underwriting step which includes algorithms and API is in one time pins and perhaps connect your Facebook account or perhaps a credit bureau check. We heard from the credit bureaus earlier the CBI the trans unions. And then basically the output is if a customer is accepted. Fantastic and you go right you’re accepted.
And then the next step whatever it is. So then you have to go to this branch to pick up your new phone or it could be, ok you’re accepted but that was something that we saw let’s say on your score or there’s something that we saw in some of the social media or the alternative data. So you are accepted but we can’t offer you that interest rate that you saw. So sorry. This is called a counteroffer and it’s around risk based pricing. So we can do that.
Or then ultimately and maybe fortunately for a consumer who maybe chooses the iPhone 11. But they’re not eligible for it. We would then, say so sorry under these conditions obviously you’re maybe not eligible for this now but here are some tricks that you should do in order to grow your credit score so that in the future you can afford that.
And I think this is what we talked about on some of the earlier panels when we talked about sick files and file no final speech from some like reasonable yeah. So yeah. So this is basically this is one aspect of a broader.
Configuration. So this is one Lego block. So we would never advocate when we take one approach. So in that context social media data could potentially provide more insight validation and insight into the customer when it’s needed by the financial institution. And so there’s a range of solutions on the market some of which we have some of which are available from third parties. A big theme today was around collaboration. So basically we collaborate with a lot of companies.
After everything is uploaded into the digital onboarding platform are they automatically approved?
So that that really depends on the individual. So an individual who is credit worthy applying for a product that is suitable for them. Does have the does have the possibility to be approved very quickly like that. But of course there is a lot of question marks within that right. So for instance to give a concrete example on the internet I can say a lot of things I can say my salary is whatever it is that I want it to be right. But through that underwriting process we need to validate that.
And if it turns out that the consumer has represented the correct information well that’s fantastic. Let’s proceed. But if the consumer can’t validate that or the validation turns out that would never be higher probably lower, lower than what they’ve represented then obviously we can’t offer something instantaneous right. Obviously that we’re dealing with an issue where a consumer is perhaps misrepresenting themselves. And I think that’s important to put ourselves also in the in the shoes of the financial institution. Let’s say the lender right. Ultimately they don’t want to be lied to right.
They want to get the information as fast as possible as streamlined as possible to make a good decision. So again for a consumer who is you know representing themselves accurately and honestly and truthfully it can be as fast like that but the system also exists to basically can’t catch let’s say the disingenuous actors right and make sure that those are filtered down the approval.
How long will it took for the approval on digital onboarding?
So right now under general conditions. Financial sector approvals can take up to days or several days. However, thru digital onboarding we observe that it can be as low as ours and sometimes as fast as minutes depending on the configuration and the set up and again who the customer is. So basically I guess the headline is we can drop the processing costs definitely down to ours and potentially down to minutes.
We work with other partners right. We do. Yes. So we’re we’re here to offer Filipino consumers as much choice as possible. So we work with as many lenders insurers et cetera as we can. Also for the institutions we work with. Sure they wouldn’t want the advertising who’s doing what. But I will say that a lot of institutions get a lot of value from our platform.
And launching today digital onboarding. We’re committed to give them even more value.
What is the response of the Filipino consumers in your services?
Oh, it’s been overwhelming! So there’s lots of consumers coming to the ecomparemo platform everyday, every month, millions. And basically there’s lots of consumers wanting access to financial products. And I think that represents the big dilemma and the big opportunity and the honorable governor discussed this earlier today also right.
How do we provide solutions for all of them. This is basically a two sided marketplace right. On the one hand you have millions of customers, tens of millions of customers or one hundred five point eight million customers. If you think about the whole country and then on the other side here, you have many banks many of whom are banks many financial institutions. We need a way to meet. So these two sides need a place to connect to understand each other to ensure that discovery happens and trust us as well.
Loans versus insurance which is popular?
So for consumer demand it’s absolutely loans across a whole spectrum of personal loans, gadget loans, housing loans. I guess are gadgets are very popular.
But in these loans versus insurance I think this is where we are in terms of economic development. We’re at a GDP per capita framework where basically the average Filipino is like starting a family wanting to buy a house maybe start a business right. So it’s actually per capita income for insurance to kick in like more wide scale more wide scale actually has to be bigger. So we can look at this a GDP development per capita and then kind of think about well what are the problems that are suitable in this place.
Any message for the people who attended Finovation 2019?
This is the second convention, so every year it gets getting better. We were incredibly honored that the honorable governor is here and thank you to everyone who came and really looking forward to a great partnership as well.
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