LenddoEFL is a social fintech with the mission of improving financial inclusion, trough creating, collecting, and analyzing data from a wide array of consent-based alternative data sources.
The company started their operations in the Philippines in 2011 and is currently in over 20 countries, they are focusing on the emerging middle class in developing markets.
The fintech found that a large proportion of the population in these markets lack credit history. Nevertheless, most of these people have access to smartphones and other devices. That is where the idea to offer loans by providing references from their social networks emerge.
At the beginning, they verified identities using Facebook data and getting friends to vouch for them. With their learnings, they have created a more sophisticated product.
“At LenddoEFL we see things differently. We build products that help make the invisible, visible.”
Lenddo launched their second product, LenddoScore in 2014, it offers a more insightful credit score to lenders. The LenddoScore is a patented scoring method which combines traditional underwriting with additional unstructured data.
With their software, the startup looks at an applicant’s entire digital footprint. They claim to have 12,000+ variables for each profile. Lenddo said not to share this personal data with lenders, only the result of their analyses, in order to protect their clients’ privacy.
The company uses big data from social networks, browser histories, E-commerce transactions, geolocation data and other smartphone info – with the user’s consent – to create more insights.
Artificial Intelligence technology analyze all this data, creating predictive features in the process. The outcome is a credit score between 1-1000 which banks and other lenders can use for clients which would have previously been left unserved. This includes a 50% increase in application approvals by their lending partners.
This social FinTech boasts of providing more than seven million people with greater financial inclusion.
- 2017: The company wins MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge Grand Prize and is chosen to be part of Endeavor Global entrepreneur network.
- 2019: LenddoEFL launched partnership with Oxfam International in the Philippines.
- 2020: Despite most of the countries going into lockdown, LenddoEFL’s models have shown strong resilience throughout the crisis and continue to successfully discriminate customers based on their risk level, enabling their lending business to continue at a critical time.
In our previous article Banking the Unbanked, we touched upon some data privacy concerns about the Kiva Protocol which is a joint initiative by Kiva (a Silicon Valley microloan startup), and the Sierra Leonean government which have a blockchain database of fingerprints. We also write about Aadhaar, that has the biometric data of 90% of India’s population with 1,2 bn the fingerprints and iris scans, which has also aroused many privacy alerts.
However, Lenddo’s gray area is different as they are creating sophisticated profiles based on analyzing each customers’ digital footprint. This social FinTech creates profiles so sophisticated that banks trust them enough to part with their money, even if the traditional credit scoring method would advise them not to.
Although, each client must give consent for this data use. Would they be happy seeing the intricacies of what data is used and the profile that is created? Will this pose for a problem in the future?
A few years ago, Facebook scolded insurance firm Admiral for basing insurance rates on Facebook posts. Admiral had to pull the plug on releasing their new tailored insurance plans. But was this Facebook’s job, or should regulation not have permitted this in the first place?