Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas joined forces with Asia-focused financial services startup Oriente to build a new platform, Finmas, in Indonesia The platform aims to provide loans to the unbanked in Indonesia, especially to those who live in rural areas.
Oriente says it plans to spend an initial US$105 million on its Southeast Asia expansion.
In its press launch in Indonesia today, Peter Lydian, the president director of Finmas, said that the firm’s mission is to “accelerate financial inclusion to all Indonesian people”. It aims to do so by not only offering fast and reliable lending, but also by holding a series of financial literacy education programmes.
“Finmas is one platform that covers three financial products; lending and installment payments for individuals and capital loans for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). We are registered with Indonesia’s financial authority (OJK), recently received our ISO Information Security certification, and are fully compliant with all prevailing regulations set by the government” Lydian said.
According to Lydian, although more Indonesians are aware of digital innovation and non-bank financial services, financial digital literacy has not spread evenly in smaller cities in Indonesia. Therefore, Finmas provides satellite offices in various cities to reach out to more communities and to build public trust.
“We want to bring fintech to the offline societies and introduce them to digital financial products,” Lydian continued.
Finmas is the third fintech product from Sinar Mas, that also owns Danamas and Pinjaman Go. Its partner, Oriente, is in charge to build the platform’s tech infrastructure.
“With Finmas, we aim to build new infrastructure designed to serve the unbanked population in Indonesia,” said Geoffrey Prentice, co-founder of Oriente. “Advanced technology enables us to build reliable alternatives to traditional credit valuation models that are made specifically for the consumers and MSMEs in Indonesia.”
Based in Hongkong, Oriente was founded in 2017 by Geoffrey Prentice who was part of Skype’s founding team; and former Lufax CTO and COO Hubert Tai, as well as the founder of BlackPine Private Equity, Lawrence Chu.
In November 2018, Oriente raised US$105 million initial funding round by members of Malaysia’s Berjaya Group, The Philippines’ JG Summit Holdings, and Indonesia’s Sinar Mas. The investment was considered as one of the largest initial funding rounds in fintech globally.
By utilising tech support from Oriente, Finmas promises accurate data analysis and protection that guarantees users to obtain loans in accordance with their abilities so they won’t get caught up in debt bondage like many cases found in Indonesia.
“We as regulators hope that Finmas will not only become an important industry player but also become a responsible and ethical role model and an active partner of OJK in educating the public about the risks and benefits of digital financing,” said OJK’s Director of Regulation of Licensing and Supervision of Fintech, Hendrikus Passagi in the press launching.
Currently, there have been many cases related to unethical debt collecting methods, high-interest rates, and data leaks by unauthorised fintech players in Indonesia, even leading to a complaint by the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute against the financial regulator OJK.
OJK urges people to only use fintech platforms that have been registered and lists these on its official website.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad
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