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Canadian fintech startup and credit assessment company, Periculum, has launched in Nigeria to tackle the challenge of domestic credit in underserved markets. The company is focused on improving financial inclusion in emerging markets through automated credit assessment tools that close the consumer credit gap and help financial institutions provide credit facilities to the financially excluded while making smarter decisions.
Michael Temitope Collins, Periculum’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, said “Africa needs domestic credit to stimulate real economic growth. And this is not only bank-to-business credit; it can also be digital lending for short-term credit as well as “buy now, pay later” schemes. The absence of tech-enabled credit assessment infrastructure has limited the quality and quantity of lending and may be behind the risk premiums borrowers have to pay, and the harassment practiced by predatory lenders in countries like Nigeria. Periculum will change that. We are a top provider of data analytics and credit assessment services targeted explicitly to underserved markets. We help our customers to reduce their lengthy loan application processing times and loan default rates and offer loans to the underbanked and unbanked consumers as well as micro, small and medium-scale enterprises. With reliable, tech-enabled, credit assessment services, financial institutions can increase lending to those that need credit.”
The availability of domestic credit is a key requirement for consistent economic growth in developing countries.
Nigeria’s domestic credit market pales in comparison to similar countries of the same size. Credit to the private sector in Nigeria is about 12% of the GDP, lower than South Africa’s 129% and Malaysia’s 134%. High ratios of credit to the private sector in these countries have helped to ramp up real sector growth, create innovative innovation possibilities for technology-enabled businesses, accelerate financial development, ensure the efficient functioning of the economy and guarantee the prosperity of the private sector.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other development partners including the Bank of Industry (BoI), the Bank of Agriculture (BoA), among others have embarked on significant credit injections to support the critical sectors of the economy, but the scarcity of credit assessment infrastructure ensures many potential borrowers are denied access to loans, and when they do, they can be charged as much as triple the base interest rate. This financial exclusion has significant outcomes for the real sector as lack of access to credit can be a disincentive to entrepreneurship, investment, and economic growth.
In October 2021, Periculum raised a $620,000 (R9 539 165,00) pre-seed funding round to help it expand its team, improve product development and scale its operations in Nigeria and other markets. The company currently delivers services to customers in Canada and Nigeria and plans to expand to Ghana, Kenya, and Egypt before the end of 2022.