Financial technology has been on the march in Nigeria. There are now around 200 fintech startups in the country, and the sector raised more than $600 million in 2021, amounting to nearly a quarter of the total funds attracted by African tech startups.
Digital lending now accounts for around 25 per cent of the nation’s fintech scene, and among consumers, demand is high.
The dramatic journey digital finance has been on in Nigeria is reflected in the success of institutions like FairMoney and Creditville.
At a recent event in Lagos, Oradian’s CEO and Co-founder Antonio Separovic caught up with Henry Obiekea, Managing Director of FairMoney, and Richard Rotoye, Managing Director of Creditville, to discuss their journeys to success.
Creditville: Digitalisation driving change and innovation.
Creditville is today one of Nigeria’s leading fintechs , delivering loans, lease, finance, investment, asset management, banking, and real estate to consumers across the country.
But it wasn’t always that way. Digital transformation enabled Creditville to grow, innovate, and expand, and, as Richard Rotoye explained, it was driven by the need to remain competitive.
“Ten years ago we started with paper records, filing cabinets, drawers, excel sheets. We were growing year-on-year but we needed to change direction. The best way to go was technology, so we were looking for partners to help us do it. That’s when Oradian came in, to make us look different, do things differently, and achieve results but in a magnificent way.
“If you are a tiny profitable financial institution in a massive world, you might be doing well in your own small corner, but one day you’re going to be swallowed up by a more innovative competitor. Visionary leadership can see into that future and determine if there is need for change. That’s what happened with Creditville: the leadership knew that times would change, and technology would take over.
For Rotoye, technology was the starting point that ensured Creditville could keep innovating, growing, and evolving.
“The growth doesn’t end. The innovation doesn’t end. If you stop here someone will overtake you. If you don’t build, you will be out-built.”
“Fintech,” he explained, “is a short-cut to service delivery. Technology can do so much for you that you probably have no thought of. That what has really helped us in the last two years, ensuring that we keep changing.”
FairMoney: Growth mindset.
FairMoney boasts five million clients, 10 million app installations, 11 million loans disbursed, and 85 million dollars raised in three different financing rounds. Managing Director Henry Obiekea explained how this growth has been driven by a strong growth mindset.
“There are certain values we’ve always had since our inception,” he said. “We have a growth mindset, whether it’s our own personal development or the development of the company.”
Technology is an important part of that approach to growth.
“Tech, for us, is the platform to achieve the goals that we have set for the company. How does technology help us in our ability to serve our customers at the end of the day? And is it flexible? We need our technology partner to be flexible.”
Selecting the right technology partner was therefore a pragmatic choice for FairMoney.
“We considered the usability of the service, how flexible it is, and how responsive the service provider is. Just as our customer needs are changing, we also have dynamic company needs. Every point in time we are talking to our partners about our needs and what we can do to improve. We want a partner that does that with us.
“Looking at Oradian we were able to see all that: we didn’t want to build a core system from scratch, we needed something new and something fresh. It’s been a nice experience so far.”
Obiekea also identified some of the challenges faced by the sector, in particular noting the uncertain regulatory environment.
“The sector is fairly new,” he explained. “The regulators came up with different rules and guidelines, but the rules weren’t designed thinking about digital models. There has been a change and that change also affects the mindset towards regulating the sector. Should the rules designed for traditional banks also affect digital lenders?
“There needs to be some kind of fit-for-purpose regulation – and there’s also questions about what license is required for the industry,” he concluded.
Oradian is an extensible, cloud-native core banking solution optimised for financial institutions in emerging markets. It was founded to enable financial businesses to reach more clients, move faster and unlock growth. Oradian powers financial institutions in 12 countries, who are serving over 10 million individuals and SMEs. This advanced banking system integrates seamlessly with your business via APIs to provide automated lending, risk management, scoring, accounting, compliance, messaging, reporting and more.
For more information about Oradian please visit: www.oradian.com