Tell us briefly about Robocash Group. How is the company developing now?
Robocash Group is an international group of companies headquartered in Singapore. We specialize mainly in alternative consumer lending. Our mission is to provide quick and convenient access to finance for the underbanked population across different markets. We started back in 2013 in Russia launching our first online lending service Zaymer. Since then, we have expanded our operations to 7 more markets in Asia and Europe. For the whole time, we have been joined by more than 12 mln customers and issued over 930 mln USD of loans. Currently, we continue the growth, with the main focus on the expansion in South and Southeast Asia. We also keep working on the development of new products. At the end of 2020, we introduced two new services – Buy Now, Pay Later and Salary Loans in the Philippines.
Why do you mainly focus on the development in Asia?
First, there is a high demand of the population for financial products in the emerging markets of Asia, which we strive to meet with our services. For example, in Southeast Asia, the share of the underserved and unbanked population is 74%. These people cannot receive traditional banking services in full, but can use alternative ways of getting funds. Meanwhile, such markets as SEA provide favourable conditions for adoption of fintech products. This is confirmed by the big number of Internet users (400 mln in 2020) and highly engaged mobile audience. It means that the people can access online financial services and receive funds easily and quickly.
What challenges did Robocash Group face in 2020?
Like for many businesses, one of the challenges for us was to maintain stability when COVID-19 pandemic started. Nevertheless, we optimised our key business processes and took timely measures, such as tightening scoring procedures and focusing on customer quality, as well as cutting expenses. These measures helped us successfully pass the crisis and even improve our indicators in the second half of 2020. As a result, we ended last year with a profit of more than 20 mln USD, which exceeded the 2019 result.
What are your plans for this year?
We will continue developing the existing products and introducing new ones. We have built a proprietary software for online banking, which will be the basis for the launch of a neobank later this year. Besides, in Q1 2021, we are going to enter Sri Lanka with a new online lending service.
In your opinion, how will alternative lending develop in 2021?
We are confident that this segment will keep growing in 2021. First, the demand for loans among the population has been increasing due to the underconsumption during the pandemic. Secondly, it has become more difficult for people to get loans from banks as they introduced more restrictions. Thirdly, during this period, people have become more accustomed to using online services. Obviously, this trend will continue in 202