So, over the past few weeks, I have been taking the CBA LOOP product for a spin having latched on since its launch (covered here) and relaunch (here). From its early days, their service promise seemed to extend beyond what others were putting out, but first time round it was not fully baked with some key features still "coming soon."
My recent tinkering had me struggling with how best to articulate the lens with which I believe they have looked at the consumer until Michael Kimani wrote a thread on his analysis of a 3-year-old social group on Facebook called – 52 Week Savings Challenge Kenya that has over 379,000 members.
In its description, the 52 Week Savings Challenge is "a community of people who want to cultivate a culture of saving, investing and creating, growing and maintaining wealth. Where they share and get helpful ideas, discuss challenges and solutions and generally help members reach their financial goals."
In my last article on "Second wind for Commercial Bank of Africa’s LOOP?", I opined that it is smart to build for long-term relationships that compound in shared value so that consumers start to view platforms and services as trusted sidekicks with a different and more relatable personal finance offering.
Here is what resonated with me:
With the crushing economic situation in Kenya, the majority of the population want to both preserve and grow what they have in their possession. This means that they are willing to look at investment opportunities and other vehicles tailored for cash at hand and also smart credit to plug any deficits or life’s curve balls without sucking them into a vicious cycle of debt and dependency. They are also looking for financial management and literacy; tools that give them visibility on spending, leads on where to get great value for money, understanding investment products, "habit lockers" that help realize life milestones, unbiased product comparison etc.
Lending in the way that it has been positioned and exploited is but a part of the holistic service portfolio that consumers want, as dictated by their actions and conversations.
Other service providers across Afrika for example RIBY Finance ,who reached over 1 million users in February 2018 and Piggy Bank , who raised $ 1.1 million in May 2018 seem to have caught the scent of this opportunity albeit in a different market and flavor – user experience and unique selling proposition.
A B2C operation, Piggybank.ng securely makes saving possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to make users grow savings and better manage their finances while earn 10-17% Interest.
A B2B operation, Riby provides a simple and smart finance management platform that helps co-operatives, company groups, employees, individuals, associations, and financial development institutions with features to manage their financial activities.
This playbook is hidden in plain sight and the only logical strategy post inclusion that all and sundry talk about, is empowerment. A step up from pure play loans for FinTech startups is investing in the goals, aspirations and dreams of customers.