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Commonwealth Digital Lending Markets in Africa | 4th July 2022 Webinar Recording


Mr Michael Bowren; CEO and Co-Founder, Finch Technologies
Ms Julia Charlton; Chairman, Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce

Michael grew up and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. He completed his Bachelors of Science from the University of Cape Town. After completing his degree worked in various positions in the fields of business consulting, management and engineering before he founded Finch Technologies in 2015.

Finch Technologies is a FinTech startup based in South Africa that powers financial access across Africa. It was founded in 2016 with the creation of ‘Fincheck’, South Africa’s first independent financial services marketplace. The company’s marketplace expanded significantly in 2020 when it took over FundingHub, South Africa’s biggest business finance marketplace, through a management buyout. In the subsequent year Finch Technologies also created its own digital onboarding tool, ‘Gathr’, to streamline the technical processes for their partners and clients.

In this webinar, Michael Bowren provides a comprehensive analysis of the digital consumer and business lending ecosystem in Sub Saharan Africa and describes the friction points of traditional lending that results in high costs and application drop off rates as the problem he and his team at Finch Technologies hope to tackle through their modular technology startup that provides digitised lending services from the beginning of the application process all the way to the final step of the disbursement of funds. He explains the many benefits of digital lending in improving process efficiency, time management and consumer experience which results in increased revenues per loan for the lender and an overall improved and accessible experience for the borrower. The most crucial advantage of digital lending Michael highlights is the alternative scoring method employed to assess individuals and SMEs using innovative and big data-driven algorithms for assessing their financial health to offer them loans that they would not have been granted on the basis of non-holistic scoring methods used by traditional lending institutions. Such alternative lending has immense potential to help solve the US$3.4 trillion funding gap faced by African SMEs that make up over 80% of the continent’s businesses and employ 80% of the African workforce.