This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on Understanding Suerly. In this post, I will explain why we need a solution like Suerly? and what kind of problems does it solve?
Click here for Part 1: What is Suerly?
The Covid Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the world with unprecedented challenges. Countries are closing borders; Governments are implementing strict guidelines for socialising; businesses are encouraged to enact remote working policies. Even traditional mom-and-pop shops are adopting online presence like e-commerce, live-streaming, social media and online ads.
Even the powerful banking industry has not been spared. With fewer tellers on duty, shortened operating hours and limited branch access, this New Normal has made banking more excruciating than before.
Even Before the pandemic, applying for loan in this digital age still requires a lot of manual work. It is estimated that borrowers on average can only spend 26 hours on loan research and application before reaching “search fatigue”, and despite a myriad of financial solutions in the market, 26 hours only give enough time for a borrower to apply from 3 banks.
Also, the time spent in researching for the financial products, comparing loans, repetitive form fillings, making copies of loan documents, meeting loan officers/ brokers etc. can translate into serious productivity lost and it exposes applicants to unnecessary physical contact.
While it is true that most banks have digital presence like online banking, the onboarding and delivery of basic services such as account opening and applying for loans still rely on pen and paper and customer walk in. Thus, it is also inevitable for loan officers to come face to face with hundreds of customers every day! They are too at high risk of Covid exposure.
It’s apparent that in times like this, loan availability is important for an economy to recover. But making loan available is just half the equation. The other half is how do we make it safely accessible?
How’s Suerly doing it?
I believe that we can make loans accessible and safe for both applicants and banks by connecting them under a search-and-match platform. This is where the idea of Suerly comes from.
In Suerly, people with financing need can post a loan request remotely, and banks can access and compete to these requests with their best financial solutions, and being a digital loan onboarding and delivery platform, Suerly let users apply for loans without leaving home, and it also gives lenders a digital platform to acquire and delivery loan offers to customers without physical contact. This model ensures loan applicants always get the best loan deal, and for the banks, we give them a “ready catchment” of interested customers.
I have the honour to speak to the former Group CEO of Affin Bank Bhd Malaysia, Mr Kamarul Arrifin and seek idea validation from him. According to him, one major challenge for smaller banks is, their products are often missing from the customers’ search catalogue. Reason being, given the limited window a borrower has to search for financial solution, the first few banks that came into their minds were often the big ones.
But with Suerly, while it is making it easy for the consumers to apply for loans, it also levels the playing field for smaller banks to compete with the bigger ones. Suerly’s model forces banks to compete with actual loan offers instead of how much money a bank is willing to spend on marketing.
Apart from budgetary consideration, banks should also consider the reputation that comes along with these agencies. Not only that their marketing methods (cold calls, hard sell, roadshows and etc) are not well-liked by the public, external agents and brokers often do not have good track records in keeping customer information safe. Unconsented contacts sharing/ selling by rogue agents are the reasons why we, the consumers, are receiving so many unwanted and annoying calls each day!
Whilst still a challenge, the new normal also present an unprecedented opportunity to digitalise banking. We believe that people now are more ready than ever for digital onboarding and delivery of banking services. Since lesser and lesser people are seeking physical service in bank branches, the banking industry can no longer be ignorant of this phenomenon but to fast forward the digitalisation and Open Banking agendas to meet customer demand.