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FairMoney: Providing Quick Loans With ‘No Excuses’

Seun Oratokhai, Head of Direct Marketing, FairMoney

By Azeez Disu

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In today’s world, getting a loan is now seamless and doesn’t require all the paperwork or collateral, thanks to innovative lending firms that are disrupting the banking sector with their excellent deployment of technology.

Excitingly, the companies, who can also be referred to as instant online loan providers, are solving the difficulties of getting credit and helping people to avoid the stress of asking friends or family members for financial help which they may never get. With this, the companies are making great impact and exploring the situation to reach the unbanked. In regard to this, a leading company offering short-term loans to help cover urgent needs, bills, business costs and much more in Nigeria is FairMoney.

FairMoney gives access to loans anytime, anywhere and provides speedy and efficient loans to all its esteemed customers.

The company recently launched the ‘No Excuses’ campaign to encourage individuals and small businesses to take advantage of its loan offering of N1, 500 to N150, 000.

Speaking on the reasons for the campaign, Seun Oratokhai, Head of Direct Marketing, FairMoney said “FairMoney realised from research that most individuals and small business owners in need of a quick loans first approach their family and friends or try to get a loan from a commercial bank. Unfortunately, they get a long list of excuses such as ‘I wish you asked yesterday,’ ‘I borrowed what I am spending,’ ‘I just paid my ‘Ajor,’ and so on. A lot of these individuals are also unable to meet the lengthy requirements of commercial banks. So, we came up with the ‘No Excuses’ campaign to speak to such individuals or small businesses. At FairMoney, we are saying you can count on us for a quick, short-term loan. There will be no excuses, and no documents or collateral are required.”

The Campaign

“Amazing things will happen when you listen to the consumer,” Jonathan Midenhall once said.

In line with the above quote, the ‘No Excuses’ campaign is aimed at meeting the yielding of customers.

“As stated earlier, the ‘No Excuses’ campaign is based on real consumer insight. The campaign is also a truly integrated marketing communications campaign incorporating radio, outdoor advertising, on-the-ground activations and digital marketing. It has a strong user-generated content-leg and influencer marketing component, dubbed ‘The Friends Loan Test.’ We asked our customers and followers to share videos and messages of the excuses they usually get from friends and family on social media and we reposted those excuses. The fan whose post received the most votes was rewarded. We also had celebrities including Ada Mokaeze, Broda Shaggi, Efa Iwara, Joey Akan, Amanda Dara, Shody and Woli Arole do the same. These made the campaign go viral. Furthermore, we launched the FairMoney Radio Show hosted by Simi Drey on the Beat 99.9 FM, Lagos. It runs every Saturday at 10.30am and it has been a great platform to keep engaging with our customers,” Oratokhai stated.

On the objective of the campaign, she said it was not about competing with other players in the mobile banking sector. According to her, “The objective of the campaign was not to increase competition in the mobile banking sector. Our goal at FairMoney was to reassure consumers that we are their reliable friend, whom they can count on for a quick short-term loan.”

Interestingly, according to Oratokhai, consumer feedback has been positive since the launch of the campaign. “Yes, the campaign has been very successful. The first indication being customer participation in the ‘Friends Loan Test.’ With respect to return on investment, we have seen a spike in app download and registration, applications and visits to our offices.”

She added that “the consumer response has been very positive, and all hands have been on deck to support customers who might have had a challenge for instance, with failure of OTP to deliver without which the application cannot be concluded.”

Empowering Individuals and Businesses

Speaking on the impact of the company’s loans on individuals and businesses, Oratokhai said “You will be amazed at how far a N150, 000 loan can go or what it can help a petty trader achieve. Our customers range from traders to artisans and make-up artistes. One of the recent loan requests we received from a walk-in customer after we launched the ‘No Excuses’ campaign, was for a short-term loan to secure a space in order to get NAFDAC approval for her small-scale custard manufacturing business. Sometimes also, the loans serve as a bridge. We have a retiree who occasionally takes a FairMoney loan to help his wife with her business whilst awaiting the payment of his pension. Some customers secure the loan for school fees or medical bill payment.”

On how the organization is tracking the loans to ensure that customers pay back, she said“Most of the customers who secure our loans pay back because it helps to build their credit score which allows them secure even higher loan amounts. Many customers who default often have genuine reasons. During the application process, applicants are required to provide the phone number which is linked to their BVN. They are also requested to provide a guarantor. At FairMoney, we have a loan recovery team. The loan recovery team sends reminders to customers as their repayment dates approach. They are also able to follow-up with the guarantors in the event of a loan default.”

What to Expect in 2020

Oratokhai disclosed that “currently, besides the loan application, customers can buy airtime and data at a discount and with no transaction fee on the FairMoney app. However, we will be introducing additional services such as electricity and pay-TV bill payment. Another product on the roadmap is the USSD product. With more than 100m clients in Nigeria who do not have a smartphone, it is our mission to provide accessible services to these customers. This USSD service will enable non-smartphone users also access FairMoney loans. It is also our goal at FairMoney to be our customers’ financial mentor. So, expect to see campaigns around these initiatives.”

While speaking on the competitive edge of the company, she said the feedback they got from customers informed the new services they would be rolling out in 2020.

“FairMoney is a very customer-focused business. Whilst FairMoney is a mobile bank, in December, we opened our doors to our customers. It was very fulfilling to know how we are positively impacting the lives of small business owners across Nigeria. It was also a great opportunity to receive feedback first-hand from our customers. Some of the feedback we received informed the new services we will be rolling out in 2020. Previously, customers could only reach us via email and on social media, but we are now providing an additional channel through our customer service call centre,” she explained.

Trajectory of Fairmoney

Oratokhai explained that FairMoney’s journey started in 2017 when the founders realised that banks in Emerging Markets offer poor services. “We started by offering our mobile banking service in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, with our first product, microcredit. The goal is to solve the problems faced by SMEs and individuals trying to access credit and help millions of underbanked people whose access to credit could change their lives.”

“Based on the success of the credit offering, the team is now engaged in building a full-stack neo-bank. FairMoney’s vision is to become the world’s leading mobile bank for Emerging Markets, and the company’s objective is to offer fair and transparent services to help millions of underbanked people who are underserved by traditional banks.”

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