SHANGHAI: Jack Ma’s online bank is leading a quiet revolution in the way China lends to small businesses, taking aim at a credit bottleneck that has held back Asia’s largest economy for decades.
Using real-time payments data and a risk-management system that analyses more than 3,000 variables, Ma’s four-year-old MYbank has lent 2 trillion yuan (US$290bil) to nearly 16 million small companies. Borrowers apply with a few taps on a smartphone and receive cash almost instantly if they’re approved. The whole process takes three minutes and involves zero human bankers. The default rate so far: about 1%.