Paving the road to recovery

The Direct Lending online financing platform.

THE aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic is set to leave an impact on all Malaysians, even after the movement control order (MCO) in its various forms ends.

Not only has the pandemic changed the way we live, it has also affected many Malaysians financially as it has dragged on far longer than anyone could have anticipated.

So how do we, as a nation, help Malaysians to financially weather this stormy time? By providing them an avenue to affordable financing.

According to the World Bank, there are only 25% of working adults in Malaysia who have formal borrowings or own at least one credit card. Accessibility to formal bank borrowings is even less among the lower income group – which leaves this group vulnerable, especially in financially distressed situations, as evidenced during this Covid-19 pandemic whereby many of those in this group had their livelihood negatively impacted.

These lower income hardworking adults, whose applications are declined by formal banking channels, have limited viable financing options.

Compounding that, in the initial months when the movement control order was implemented, a rash of news hit the headlines, of loan scammers who request upfront payments before loan approvals or unscrupulous money lenders who charge sky-high interest rates, targeting common Malaysians.

Their solution would be Direct Lending, an online personal lending platform that acts as an intermediary between borrowers and legal lenders.

Founded by ex-banker Hui Yik Seong in 2016, Direct Lending’s mission is to enable every hard-working adult citizen the access to simple, safe and affordable financing.

The platform enables the borrowers to find, compare, apply and receive financing that best suits them in a fast, simple, safe and affordable manner. Direct Lending offers a “one-stop centre” borrowing experience to civil servants and private sector workers alike, allowing them to receive loan eligibility instantly.

Dedicated loan consultants will work closely with eligible borrowers and provide full services – from formally applying for financing and all the way until the money is received in the bank account. What’s more, the service is 100% free to borrowers.

The financing on Direct Lending’s platform is shariah-compliant and underwritten by over 10 reputable financial institutions, credit companies, cooperatives and licensed money lenders. This includes the likes of RCE Capital Berhad and Co-opbank Pertama.

With over 35,000 loan eligibility checking processed to date, Direct Lending has a fairly accurate credit algorithm assessment in suggesting the eligible financing products to borrowers.

So far, Direct Lending has achieved a 90% loan approval rate once application is sent to lenders formally for processing and underwriting. This provides efficiency to the lenders and in return, a good user experience to borrowers.

(From left) Direct Lending chief technology officer Lim Soon Tak, senior loan consultant Nadia Akma and founder Hui Yik Seong.(From left) Direct Lending chief technology officer Lim Soon Tak, senior loan consultant Nadia Akma and founder Hui Yik Seong.

Growing from a small office space of only three workers, Direct Lending is today a strong team of 15, with a 200% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in quarterly loans disbursed value.

To date, over RM90mil worth of personal loans have been disbursed with over 800 five-star reviews from borrowers across Direct Lending’s Google Business and Facebook pages.

The Direct Lending team speaking to potential borrowers during a pop-up event.The Direct Lending team speaking to potential borrowers during a pop-up event.

The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) played an important role in Direct Lending’s journey since its inception.

The agency provided a co-working space when they first started, and training and mentoring through programmes such as Stanford Go2Market and Global Accelerator Programme.

The Direct Lending team members.The Direct Lending team members.

The tremendous support they received has enabled Direct Lending to reach a product market fit stage.

As of now, Direct Lending continues to fly higher with its continuous vision to provide value to both borrowers and lenders, and be the go-to financing platform for every hardworking adult across South-East Asia.

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