Iñigo Castillo Badia
Managing Director
Uniclick
/
View from the Top

Fast, Accessible Loans Can Help SMEs Grow

By Antonio Gozain | Mon, 08/15/2022 - 10:00

Q: What role does Uniclick play within Unifin’s business strategy?

A: The company was created two or three years ago as a first step in Unifin’s digital transformation after analyzing how to become a digital company to start competing with other businesses in the industry. Unifin’s core product is leasing, which despite being a large market, has a visible ceiling because it involves delivering hard assets.

Unifin decided to use the data gathered from almost 30 years of experience to offer products to SMEs, which have historically been underserved. We took this opportunity to offer smaller companies an easy and fast way to access the best financing and financial products available on the market.  

Q: How important is digitization to promote the penetration of financial services among SMEs?

A: It is essential to build technology that increases financial inclusion. SMEs are what makes the country move, especially as nine out of 10 companies in Mexico are family owned. It is key for these businesses and entrepreneurs to adapt to new technologies. We have seen a rapid acceleration of technology aimed at this sector since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

We are starting a positive cycle for both SMEs and Uniclick because more people are starting to adapt to digital platforms but it will take time to fully adapt to these new technologies.

Q: How has Uniclick built its risk model and how does the company leverage technology to offer credit and financing in such a short time?

A: We have two pillars to make this system work. The first is our onboarding process, a platform that allows SMEs to ask for a loan in a simple, fast and easy way . Our risk assessment tool is embedded in the platform. This technology incorporates all the data that Unifin has collected over the years plus the know-how of the business. We are complementing that technology with a data-driven approach and a robust team of data scientists. Our in-house built technology is one of the best things that we have done, as well as the recruitment of technically capable young Mexican talent.

Q: What metrics do you use to measure the risks within credit requests?

A: The inputs that we require are simple; we ask for the tax ID of the SME and maybe two or three more pieces of information to review their credit score and taxes. From there, we can draw on multiple data points, including revenue, leverage ratios, company age, target demographics and credit score. While this process traditionally takes days, Uniclick has made it agile and quick, taking only about five to seven minutes.

Q: What are the challenges and opportunities of offering finance and leasing solutions through technology in a country such as Mexico?

A: There are still many challenges. Mexico is a large country and reaching all its corners is hard. The process of issuing a loan is pretty different depending on where the customer is based. Access to credit is still a big opportunity for Mexico, which needs to reduce interest rates. Generating a competitive environment is also a pending problem but addressing it would only benefit the end consumer.

Another problem is that regulations for this technology are still pending, so the government does not know what the fintech sector is doing while preventing Mexicans from gaining access to these tools. Mexico has the largest financing gap in Latin America.

Q: What is the average credit provided by Uniclick?

A: Our average loan is MX$1.3 million (US$63,731) for unsecured loans up to 24 months. These are called Working Capital Loans that provide SMEs access to capital to grow their business, renew their place of business or buy new equipment.

Uniclick began operations in late 2019 but the pandemic started before we had our official launch. We had a small client base at the time, so we decided to stop promotional activities to focus on those clients. We continued to improve our services, technology and operations. By December 2021 we had over 1,200 clients. 

Q: What digital and traditional advertising strategies is Uniclick implementing to reach potential clients?

A: We are backed by Unifin’s experience and have inherited its traditional marketing strategies. Our goal is to highlight the resilience of the Mexican people, which we do through ambassadors such as F1 driver Sergio “Checo” Pérez.

Q: How does ArrendamientoPYME work and what makes it the ideal solution for SMEs looking to boost their operations?

A: The leasing element is a great example of how Unifin has benefited from Uniclick’s technology. It is almost impossible for this product to be fully digital because it involves a physical asset but it is possible to digitize many of the processes involved. This agile process benefits companies that need to lease assets.

Q: What are Uniclick’s main plans and strategies for the near term?

A: We will continue to roll out new products that address the needs of SMEs. There is still a big opportunity regarding our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy to be more focused on financial inclusion. We also plan to expand to other countries in Latin America while becoming more independent from Unifin to have more room for growth.

 

Uniclick is the digital arm of financial services entity Unifin. Uniclick is focused on providing more agile finance solutions to SMEs through its fintech platform.

Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst