GoBear, Asia’s leading financial services and data platform and UnionBank of the Philippines (UnionBank), a leading digital bank in Southeast Asia, have launched a first of-its-kind Lending as a Service (LaaS) partnership in the Philippines. This comes on the heels of GoBear’s recent acquisition of AsiaKredit in May 2020 to drive growth through digital lending.
Under the partnership, GoBear and UnionBank will offer e-commerce loans on Lazada Philippines through GoBear’s eShopaLoan loan product, allowing consumers to purchase items in installments. eShopaLoan is available on GoBear’s pera247 mobile app, which can be found on the Lazada website or in the Google Play Store.
The collaboration is particularly relevant amid the surge in digital loans due to the global pandemic. This demand has been challenging for digital lenders as default rates increased and financial institutions in the Philippines were mandated to grant a two-month grace period for the repayment of loans.
“GoBear and UnionBank share a common ambition: to make new inroads in providing responsible financial services offerings that are more accessible to underserved consumers. This deal will be gamechanging – we are bringing together sophisticated data-driven underwriting and a servicing capability with real financial scale to the market,” said Mike Singh, chief lending officer, GoBear.
“UnionBank recognizes the crucial role of digital lending especially as COVID-19 has prompted many fintechs to either shut down or slowdown in their lending. Through our collaboration with GoBear, we can fill in this gap being left by other financial institutions, as aligned with our goal of continuously enabling businesses and the public to cope with the crisis,” said Manuel Santiago, UnionBank’s chief mass market and financial inclusion executive.
GoBear has become even more prudent with its underwriting evaluation. For example, some tangible steps taken on pera247 have included increasing risk cut-offs and bringing more manual verification into automated processes. pera247 has also taken extra precautions to verify and validate income stability and employment of potential lenders, in addition to assessing their existing debt.
“The partnership will provide the best of both worlds: you have fintechs’ behavioral scoring combined with the bank’s stability and traditional checks. This will allow us to offer even lower rates to consumers. We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership with GoBear,” said UnionBank digital product business head, Harvey Libarnes.