When KiaKia launched its digital lending platform along with other pioneering fintechs in 2016, the aim was to enable credible individuals and businesses to access consumer and business loans as quickly as possible. Nothing more. We just wanted a way to quickly underwrite credit to individuals and MSMEs that couldn’t access this service from the banks because of many nagging and unresolved reasons within the financial polity. We did just that, and we did it well.
As Globacom revolutionised telecommunication in Nigeria by introducing the per-second billing system, we have introduced the provision of the same-day application, approval and disbursement. This was in recognition of time and the value of money without compromising our ideal of promoting responsible borrowing, which empowers and liberates, rather than sink under the burden of debt.
While gamification was the practice by our contemporaries, by limiting access to credit for those who really have the capacity due to blanket micro-loan size offerings, KiaKia has tailored accessible loan to determine the financial capacity of applicants.
It is on record that while the prevailing rates for unsecured consumer and payday online lending of our contemporaries is 30%, ours is a record at 10%. The testament is digitally preserved on the social media pages of each company and in the minds of users in the early days of the fintech lending revolution. While a novice may prematurely scream with objection, “but these rates are too high”. It is necessary to embark on a basic reading.
The interest rates for unsecured consumer lending anywhere in the world is intricately high, and the reason is obvious. This should perpetually lay to rest the common refrain of payday loan applicants who assume and expect interest rates to be a single digit. No need to explain the academics and economics of that.
It is four years since we embarked on the mission to make consumer credit and business capital accessible to those who critically need it, especially to differentiate and grow. We want to deliver the maximum number of good to the maximum number of people through the use of technology and common sense. Four years, we have helped thousands of credible ordinary Nigerians to meet unexpected financial needs, and created prosperity and massive employment for thousands of Nigerians by giving them working capital, especially MSMEs.
Our achievements are modest in the face of the huge gaps and immense opportunities in the Nigerian and across the African markets. In spite of booking, originating, structuring and facilitating over N5 billion in personal and business loans, which represents barely 17% of Nigerians who are qualified to access capital out of 200,000 plus registered users on our platform.
Our emphasis remains responsible for lending and not growth by all means, which is the philosophy of cancer. Our mission is to give access to capital to empower economically and liberates socially. Our goal is not to sink millions of people, especially young people who don’t have career paths yet into a debt hole. This is why our approach to lending, though simple, is not indulgent.
We do not want people to access loans they do not need because it is convenient. We want people to get loan because it is useful and helpful. We are committed to delivering value, comfort, security and good yield to our trusted lenders and investors. This is why we have refrained from the growth vanity that does not translate to an improved bottom line.
In our operations, we usually apply security where it is necessary. We apply social collateral when it is what will deliver the results. We apply effective common-sense technology to enhance the efficiency of value delivery across all our business models.
In 2019, we clinched IFINCA Award as the Best Peer-to-Peer Platform in Nigeria. It is a testament to our pioneering effort and sustained creation and delivery of value to the supply and demand end of the service. MSMEs have timely access to capital and fund owners get value and security for their funds committed to us.
Since three years that this service has been in operation, no individual or corporate body that entrusted funds to us as a tool has lost a dime. We are proud of this record. This has been possible through the shrewdness of our judgement and decision making, and the efficacy of the proprietary systems and simple but innovative processes we have instituted.
We aim to be the reimagined and locally adapted Lending Club of America, Racesetter and Zopa of the UK and Europe for the Nigerian and African MSMEs, which the IFC puts at $331 billion. This is why we have mobilized private lending investments from Nigerians in Russia, United States, UK, Qatar, Canada and a vast number of Nigerians to fund the small fractions of the immense funding gaps to the real sector in Nigeria.
Our work is not done, though it is clearly defined and cut out. When we introduced the Peer-to-Peer, the minimum threshold investment was N1 million. The thinking was that that shouldn’t be an all comers affairs. Besides, the emphasis was on affordability. In addition, no single investor and lender was solicited. If there is such phrase as “cold call investing”, that would be it. Individuals with savings began to approach KiaKia with offers. What would I get if I gave you this amount?. We had a rapidly growing loan book that was difficult to fund. The harvest field of MSMEs credit needs was huge but the funds were in short supply like every other financial institution that doesn’t have infinite resources.
Thus began the KiaKia Peer-to- Peer lending system.Through one satisfied lender or investor came the next and the next and the next and the next. We did not advertise. We did not make any solicitation. We have established that we could profitably put people’s finances to work without any risk of loss. We have rejected offers below N1 million even when faced with paucity of fund.
This is because we wanted to maintain quality of quantity. The quality and character of lenders and investors is as important, if not more important than the quality of borrowers. As lenders and investors increased, the cost of funds also decreased. The benefits were passed on to the borrowers.
With the growing accusation from some interested lenders and investors that the lending and investment packages were economically discriminatory, effectively marginalizing those who did not have up to N1 million, we had to provide an all inclusive service. That way, we were able to accommodate everyone from the ages of 18 years. But such persons must have kosher source of income. They must be interested in lending and investment to earn decent returns. That decision has led to the creation of the KiaKia Peer2Peer lending and investment app.
As such, anyone who has as little as N50,000 can contribute to the funds we aggregate to lend to, and fund our, qualified borrowers and businesses and earn decent interests and share in the profits. Packages ranges from N50,000 and N2,500,000 and can be done in multiples.