AsiaKredit, a leading digital consumer finance fintech in the Philippines, is spearheading financial consumer protection and empowerment in the Philippines via the world’s first financial consumer protection standard, the Smart Campaign. The Smart Campaign is a globally recognized initiative by the Centre for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI), a U.S-based think-tank for financial inclusion.
AsiaKredit is developing an internal Code of Ethics framework in line with the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles. Since launching in 2017, AsiaKredit has identified over 60 initiatives across eight major Client Protection Principles that are relevant to the business. These include prevention of over-indebtedness, need for transparency, fair and respectful treatment of customers, data privacy management, and complaint resolution mechanisms.
Michael Singh, co-founder and CEO of AsiaKredit, said, “The recent surge in fraudulent and unethical lending behaviour among digital lenders in the Philippines has prompted much-needed measures from fintechs serving over 80% of the nation’s adult population who are in need of credit. It is encouraging to see our policymakers and regulators mandating financial inclusion as a national interest and introducing policies with that vision, and it is just as much our responsibility, as entrepreneurs and fintechs, to build financial solutions that are delivered safely and responsibly to the people who need it most.”
“We are proud to be among the first digital lenders to pursue these Principles in the Philippines. But we can’t and we don’t want to succeed in isolation. We call on our industry peers to join us in working together to put consumer protection at the core of our business and to continue to advocate for transparent and responsible finance practices.”
Each Client Protection Principle is assigned to a specific member of the AsiaKredit executive team, where he/she “owns” the principle and its execution. The team meets monthly to review the principles and report on the initiatives that have been launched, are in development, or are to be developed. The goal is to reach 100% execution of the principles. AsiaKredit is currently working towards full certification of its internal Code of Ethics.
AsiaKredit has also recently joined the Centre for Financial Inclusion at Accion’s FinTech Protects Community of Practice (CoP) that convenes practitioners worldwide to build industry will and know-how to address emerging consumer risks in digital financial services. The community helps advance the Smart Campaign vision of ensuring that digital financial services offer the greatest value to consumers while maintaining adequate client protection.
To date, over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 42 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Smart Campaign’s industry-accepted Client Protection Principles. Credit Suisse is a founding partner of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion.