Tue | Nov 13, 2018

NCB goes agile with one-month loan

Published:Sunday | August 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
A National Commercial Bank branch at the entrance to the New Kingston business district. NCB is entering the micro loans market through its digital platform.

National Commercial Bank Jamaica, NCB, has rolled out a second loan product on its digital platform, this time a pay advance loan that has no interest charge attached but comes with a monthly flat fee and is repayable in a month.

The bank said on Wednesday that PayAdvance was developed in May of this year as a microfinancing loan solution.

Brian Boothe, senior general manager for the retail banking division, confirmed Friday that the product is the first micro loan to be offered by the bank. It's also the only known product of its type in the banking sector.

The other loan available on NCB's digital platform is a preapproved unsecured facility which offers customers up to five years to pay. The funds are accessible instantly after the offer is accepted online.

As to how much business they were targeting through the online platform, NCB's communications arm resorted to talking points about 'delighting' customers with simple solutions and faster processing, while avoiding a direct response.

Across the banking system, NCB tops eight commercial banks with a loan portfolio valued at $236 billion in March 2018, according to the most recent industry data from the central bank. It gives NCB nearly 38 per cent of the $624 billion loan market.

Based on disclosures by parent company NCB Financial Group Limited, the commercial bank is estimated to have spent around $5 billion in the last three years on digital initiatives, including agile technology, which is intended to address customer pain points.

One such challenge, tackled by the bank's digital team, was the long process for loan applications.

As to its latest innovation, the bank said that no documentation is required for the PayAdvance loan "and the funds are available within minutes of accepting."

The process requires the use of acceptance codes - which are emailed to customers who have been selected for the preapproved loans and who are then invited to accept the offer online - as well as confirmation of identity. The loan is delivered to the customer's account a few hours after approval.

The loan is for one month only, but can be tapped again every month with the use of the assigned code.

NCB says it is assessing the feasibility of adding other loan types to the digital loan portfolio, but aims to add more products in the future.

Currently, preapproved, digitally originated loans are offered exclusively to the bank's customers.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com