This is what I found out!
I discovered WhatsLoan through an article of common interest that I had written before. Amongst other emerging FinTech players, LinkedIn bio of Timmana Gouda D (Founder and CEO at WhatsLoan) caught my eyes as I could see that he brings his 20 years of consumer lending and mortgage banking expertise to this venture. After hours of digital crawling and few phone conversations with him, I discovered that he is building something unique. I was motivated by the pain-points addressed and the vision towards finding the solutions for the loan consumers.
After a few days, I interviewed both the founders and here is the narrative. The interview spans over their previous experience, their present venture, and their future vision. I’m pretty sure you will find their vision to solve the persistent problems in consumer loans interesting and inspirational.
🕴Your expertise/ background?
Timmana Gouda (CEO and Founder at WhatsLoan)
I bring more than 20 years of varied experience in Investment Banking, Corporate Finance, Consumer Retail Finance. I was with the Axis Bank nearly a decade at business leadership levels.
I did one of the first mortgage securitization deals in the country, for Weizmann Homes Ltd, after HDFC and LIC and sold portfolio to UTI Bank(now Axis Bank) eventually joining them to head their Retail Consumer Loans for Karnataka.
I launched innovative loan schemes such as Initial Deposit Loans for BDA Bangalore, DDA Delhi and MAHADA Mumbai that garnered more than 40,000 Crs of business to Axis Bank over 8 Years. I also conceptualized various innovative housing loan schemes such as First Home Buyers Scheme and Home For All with No EMI/Pre EMI for Axis Bank way back in 2006, and Home For All in 2009 with No EMI/Pre EMI for Axis Bank ,which made Axis Bank one of the Top 3 Banks in Home Loans in South India.
Vidya T G (Co-founder and Head of Operations at WhatsLoan)
I ventured into financial services and loans space with CITI Group personal loan vertical. Post this I joined HDFC bank and managed Bangalore Location, Tamil Nadu Region in personal loans, and worked in credit quality and channel Management at National Level. My 10 years of banking experience in the loan space made me encounter the ground level problems for loan consumers and different sourcing channels.
♠️ ♣️ The connecting dots of WhatsLoan…
Timmana: We belong to a generation where we have seen and executed the conventional lending practices as well as have witnessed the digital banking transformation but all these were internal to banks operation and were not touching the customer needs.
The consumer loan journey is still entangled with physical documents, verification and a long TAT (turn-around-time).
Though lenders have solved the post-login TATs with tight processing, have made sanction, documentation, and loan delivery processes to be tech-enabled, and have pushed the internal sales teams or DSA channel to achieve their sales numbers, but the TATs before the login are still not measured. This makes the entire turn around time to be considerably long and cumbersome.
Being at the various decision making levels, we tried to shift the paradigm inside the banks to meet the customers’ expectations and to make it easier for them to borrow while working on products, credit policies, underwriting rules, and operational processes, but the ease of borrowing was not achieved with the ease of lending owing to the banking structure, regulations, policies, and processes that focused on efficiency of internal processes and TATs(Turn Around Time) measured by bank’s front metrics but not the customers’ experience metrics.
Soon we decided to work on the idea of solving the borrower’s problem with a vision to change lending from selling loan products to buying loan needs as we believe that “ For Every Borrower, there is a Lender”
💭How do you find the #LendTech placed in the current #FinTech segment?
Timanna: LendTech is still a very nascent sector and this will take time to mature and to be ubiquitous. The shift towards tech in finance has introduced multi-fold initiatives including peer-to-peer payments, mobile banking, and omnichannel payments. And, with the rise of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, tech meeting finance and lending space has increased to a great extent.
However, there are verticals under lending that are still not very customer friendly yet. The intersection between the lenders and the consumers is still not a very happy place.
❓ Which problem are you addressing?
Loan Need to Login Problem
When it comes to borrowing for a home purchase, the end to end experience is not seamless.
- Unorganized loan space (more manual, less automated, long TAT)
- Individuals unaware of their financial ability (past, present and future)
- Lack of self-knowledge while the banks do KYC (Know Your Customer)
The consumer borrowing space involves the bank to sanction and deliver the loans. The turn around time to disburse a single loan is an average of 2–4 weeks (loan need to delivery).
Before the loan process, the banks do the KYC on each customer. KYC is a process to validate the customers’ authenticity by gauging their identity, financial reports and statements, identifying personal and demographic status to either approve or reject the loans based on the verified data.
Keep your e-KYC running without any hindrance. WhatsLoan is here!medium.com
Banks have mandated low approval rates hence loan consumers have higher rejections. The loan applicants are not intimated of the reasons of rejection. This makes it important for a customer to know about himself. We call it “KYS (Know Yourself). Through KYS, you will know your own financial identity and capability to plan better for a loan.
The Loan Need to Login is a problem which is outside the log in with the lender is not measured hence you have to go through a lot to reach there.
👍🏻So How Is WhatsLoan Solving The Problem?
Solution: Unique Financial Identity with a Digital Loan Key 🔑
With IndiaStack and DigiLocker API access, WhatsLoan has built a DIGITAL LOAN KEY, an encrypted unique financial identity for the borrower, which enables you to retrieve all your government issued, self-uploaded documents and share with the lenders digitally through the platform after digital verification from the document and data sources.
The Digital Loan Key has multifold benefits:
- You get your super secure, unique financial identity that reflects your verified personal and financial ability (no need for long offline paper-based due-diligence by the lenders).
- You own this key and can share with the lenders. You can make completely digital, paperless, and presence less loan application for any loan to the lender of your choice.
- This reduces your TAT (loan need to loan application log-in) from weeks to minutes.
- With Digital Loan Key WhatsLoan Platform engages the offline loan lead sources: Real Estate Builders and Auto Dealers that account for >80% of the market while meeting online needs of loan consumer.
- It enables fulfillment partners and connects the lenders to manage and support the entire loan life cycle (login, sanction, documentation till loan delivery).
⛳How did you go about building WhatsLoan?
We both decided to co-found WhatsLoan as our different products domain expertise was complimenting. Vidya brought the ground level customer behavior experience to the table and I brought the deep mortgage and cross-functional leadership in consumer loan experience.
We both have the deep domain knowledge but somebody to comprehend and put it to work was the need of the time. That’s when Pampan G (with 15 years of experience in banking and e-commerce technology with ANZ IT, Infosys and Tesco ) stepped in and established the technical architecture for the Platform, built required technology for Mobile Apps, Chatbots for Home Buying, Mobile Sales CRMs for Builders and DSAs.
We are looking at building Key Management, Technology and Data Science Team with an eye on keeping high quality but low numbers for building lendtech company of the future.
📌How is WhatsLoan different from other lending platforms?
We found that all other FinTech companies in the loan space are selling you loans through lead generation while WhatsLoan is building a technology solution to buy your loan need, to Keep you ready for any time loan with any lender of your choice.
Imagine yourself identifying your need for borrowing a sum of money for your to meet your purchase or expenses. You will explore online, sign up, input your details (name, phone number, email id) and end up getting a number of pesky calls thereafter. This may not be what you want. This is not how you want to spend your time attending those calls, after declaring your need, giving all your personal details!
- to know the potential financial credibility that could empower you to match the lender requirements.
- to own and control this information provided by you.
- to share this info at just the right time to the right lender at your instance.
- to enter into a loan process only once you have identified the perfect lender and spend minimal time on the loan journey.
There is a trending discussion going on asking people if they believe in materialism or minimalism? What is your take?medium.com
We are building a technology platform that will meet your exact loan needs. We are changing the KYC landscape to KYS (Know Yourself) so that anyone can be loan ready.
WhatsLoan is a paradigm shift from selling loan products by the lenders to buying loan needs from the borrowers.
👀 Can I Trust WhatsLoan With My Personal Data?
Your privacy is fundamental to WhatsLoan. You can say, its the lifeline of our venture!
Super secure and encrypted: Digital Loan Key framework is on secure cloud server planned to be on the blockchain. You have complete control over your data, which you own and have the authority to share/release the data at your will and wish.
Your privacy matters to us: Your information is not shared or passed with any lenders or loan service providers, unlike other lead generation platforms where you start getting a number of pesky calls offering you loans once your sign-up. We follow anonymity policy till you accept lenders offer, take your acceptance and permission to disclose your identity to the lender.
🌟Interesting! So How Can I Get The Digital Loan Key 🔑?
WhatsLoan is now issuing the digital loan keys to the builders and DSAs(Direct Selling Agents) and lenders to reduce their customer onboarding time. We will be opening it for the loan consumers shortly with free credit score and report.
Sign Up here to get your early access to Free Credit Score and Digital Loan Key!
You will soon receive the next steps post your sign up!
I’ll keep on digging more into their consumer plans and product development stories. Probably, the next article will detail out how exactly this Digital Loan Key works. Stay tuned for more product stories!
Thanks for reading! 😊 If you enjoyed it, do a little cardio for your fingers and hit👏 as many times in 5 seconds.