Singapore’s GoBear snaps up fintech AsiaKredit
GoBear, a Singapore-based insurance and banking marketplace, has acquired local fintech AsiaKredit, which offers consumer lending products, Tech in Asia reports.
The acquisition will see GoBear introduce “lending-as-a-service” to its more than 100 bank partners, which span Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, as well as Singapore.
These partners, through GoBear, will be able to tap underserved consumers in these regions. GoBear will also expand its own direct consumer lending offering through AsiaKredit’s Filipino consumer lending app, Pera247.
AsiaKredit says it’s processed more than one million loan applications and grown the number of loans it’s disbursed in the last two years by one hundred times.
“The establishment of an industry-leading lending business is a critical component of GoBear’s strategy to support our banking partners in providing loans to the many underserved consumers in Asia,” says CEO Adrian Chng in a statement.
“The acquisition will allow GoBear to accelerate strategic plans by giving us access to end-to-end digital lending capabilities.”
The deal follows the financial marketplace’s $80 million funding from VC Walvis Participaties and financial services provider Aegon in May last year.
It also arrives the same day GoBear’s co-founder Marnix Zwart moves to Standard Chartered, heading up the banks’ partnerships in its retail banking division.
To date, 2015-founded GoBear says it has served more than 40 million users, and that its consumer finance revenues grew 100% last year.
Southeast Asia is historically an underbanked region. In 2018, only 47% of adults in the region had a bank account, and only a third of Southeast Asian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) had access to loans or lines of credit, according to CB Insights.
But tides are turning quickly. The region also has one of the fastest growing internet and mobile penetration rates globally, and in 2018 fintech start-up funding across Southeast Asia hit a record of $485 million invested across 68 deals.
And now, with an imminent global recession as a result of the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, GoBear says it will become increasingly important to provide people with access to credit.