Transparency, Commitment Push ID Finance's Growth in MexicoBy Peter Appleby | Mon, 02/22/2021 - 05:00
Q: What is ID Finance and who does it serve?
A: ID Finance was born in 2015 in Barcelona. Our financial services rely on data science and credit scoring. Our growth in Eastern Europe led to expansion into Poland and Spain, among other countries, before arriving in Brazil and then Mexico in 2017. Our target countries are those with clear needs for financial services. Here, we can offer sustainable and transparent services. Our main product here is payday loans. These tend to be small loans with short-term repayment dates, which we offer via our app and website.
Q: What sets ID Finance apart from other credit lenders?
A: A main priority for the company is to deliver transparent and sustainable financial solutions that are directed toward our clients’ needs. We assure clients that their data is protected and that the service they require will arrive when we say it will. Our business is based on volume, so we need to continue growing. We control every part of our process, which allows us greater flexibility and speed, plus a 24/7 nonstop issuing platform in comparison to other fintech companies.
We are the fastest company among fintech lenders in terms of getting the required cash to the client. It takes an average of just 14 minutes for users to download our app, sign in, be verified and for us to deposit money to their account. We do this at any time of the day; we are not restricted by normal banking hours. This gives clients assurance that they will receive the proper service but also that they will receive answers to any doubts they may have.
Q: How has ID Finance grown amid the pandemic?
A: Clearly, no one expected the pandemic nor included it in their yearly forecasts. The current nature of fintech means that companies aim at very strong growth rates. The pandemic has only increased this aim because it has pushed users toward digital banking services. We saw the pandemic as an opportunity while other companies were reassessing their plans throughout the year. We decided that it was the perfect time to push ahead.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a dramatic drop in demand for personal credit. Our traffic fell by 35 percent during the lockdown and consumption fell generally. That said, when summer came and the country opened up again, traffic picked up once more. We saw levels of traffic that were far higher than those we had predicted. Since then, despite the continued pandemic risk, we have seen growth rates of over 12 percent month-on-month. We know that those companies most able to adapt themselves to this new trend are those that will come out of this crisis the strongest.
Because ID Finance controls its own risk indicators, we review more often than regularly. This means that we were able to maintain healthy portfolios throughout this volatile period. In addition, our product provides the option for users to extend their payment date if they are unable to pay on time, for whatever reason. There is a small fee to extend the repayment by seven, 15 or 30 days. The payment is then frozen so the client maintains a clean portfolio and their credit score is not impacted. We have applied various measures like this to help clients brave the pandemic and we have seen a strong positive response to these initiatives.
Q: How has investment sentiment changed toward fintech?
A: We are in a very specific situation regarding investment. ID Finance is not a startup that requires small investments nor are we in need of billions of pesos. However, we saw that the pandemic certainly repressed certain types of investment, leading to changes in the behavior of investors. We saw greater attention to detail from investors toward each company they invested in. They preferred to have more solid business indicators to ensure a return on their investments. But there is still great investor appetite for fintech in Mexico. This is partly because of the fact that fintechs have shown their ability to meet or exceed various aims over the last year and partly because the economic situation, while not ideal, has calmed down somewhat.
Q: ID Finance is a carbon neutral company. What actions does the company pursue to achieve this?
A: ID Finance wants to deliver sustainable finance solutions in a responsible manner. However, this leads to higher energy costs. We see that it is important as a business to do more. We are willing to do this, which is why we became a carbon neutral company. We believe that we have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint at a global level. In Mexico, we have achieved ESR certification for the second consecutive year.
In addition to offsetting its carbon footprint with the proposed initiatives in Brazil, plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through changes in its day-to-day operations. The company will set out a plan of action to continue contributing through local action in Spain, Mexico and Brazil, as it has been doing for Covid-19. They will encourage videoconferences rather than face-to-face meetings, reducing CO2 emissions generated by air travel. In addition, they will encourage the sensible use of air conditioners to reduce consumption and environmental impact.
There are various actions that we took to do this, which we applied before the pandemic set in. One is to travel less. Having offices around the world presents a challenge but we have the technology to make due. We have also purchased machines and computers with reduced energy consumption. In every country we operate, we are considered responsible lenders and a sustainable company.
Q: What are the company’s plans in terms of growth and new products?
A: The real effect of the economic crisis remains unknown. We plan to continue growing and essentially double our growth from last year. This is a relatively conservative aim for a fintech company. Additionally, we will bring new products to the market that will better serve our clients. While our core remains payday loans and we are among the Top 3 companies in the market, we will amplify our service portfolio.
ID Finance was born in Barcelona in 2015. It has been in Mexico since 2017. Its core product is payday loans