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Fintechs in Nigeria: KiaKia

Regular people who need the lines of small credit to plug occasional funding gaps are turning to fintech lenders to solve their cash flow challenges. These companies are providing financial assistance to individuals, emerging businesses, and cooperatives, often with less difficult repayment conditions than what banks offer.

One such platform is KiaKia, an AI-powered solution that’s leveraging machine learning to determine creditworthiness and provide funds to persons who it predicts are likely to pay back. It’s also less costly than the traditional banks because it doesn’t charge for transactions done on it as they do.

Perhaps the most impressive part of KiaKia’s loan process is that it takes just a few hours from application to disbursement for new account holders, and minutes for anyone who’s used it a few times.

Olajide Abiola, CEO and co-founder of KiaKia, says he and his team began mulling the idea of the startup in 2014. But it wasn’t until two years later that it came alive. The dream at that point was to fill up the country’s huge lending gap by deploying Big Data and Machine Learning.

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The team had figured out that the banks weren’t lending because they didn’t have enough information about the credit behavior of their loan applicants. Their risk aversion was inspired by a high rate of default on past loans; they didn’t want to lose more money through overly-generous lending.

Abolaji was convinced that this problem could be fixed with a system that could track the financial engagements of the would-be lender and predict their likelihood of meeting their obligations or defaulting on them. He knew that machine learning (ML) could generate the needed information by processing the applicant’s financial data. So he and his team built the KiaKia solution.

KiaKia receives loan applications on its website at all hours of the day from anyone who has registered on its platform. It’s free to sign up. Persons looking to fund loans can also register on the site and get paid an interest along with their original principal when the borrower repays.

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Loans of between ₦10,000 and ₦200,000 can be borrowed on KiaKia, for a period ranging from 7 to 30 days. There’s no paperwork required; everything happens online.

Borrowers on KiaKia will be assessed on an ongoing basis; if they repay loans as at when due, they could receive a high credit score, which qualifies them for more loans in the future. They will also have access to more flexible interest rates. Persons who have taken out a loan get friendly reminders about due dates for repayments in advance.

Interest rates are negotiated. Lenders and borrowers alike can find out what rates they can charge or pay on loans by contacting Mr. K, the KiaKia chatbot.

Featured image source: Becoming Human

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Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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