Vietnam: Loan comparison platform BankGo raises seed funding

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Vu Viet Hung, founder and CEO of BankGo.

BankGo, Vietnamese loan comparison website that follows the model of CompareAsia, has raised an undisclosed seed round to acquire more users and develop its product offerings, it announced Tuesday.

Financial details of the funding were not disclosed, but the startup said the investor was a director at a local investment fund.

Having launched in closed beta version in March 2016, it has recently started operating in open beta version, the platform allows borrowers to compare and select financial services at best interest rates for personal loans (including housing, car, consumer loans) and credit cards.

The company said that it has already seen $250,000 worth of loans booked via the platform and has secured partnership with almost 40 local banks. It targets to help lend $4 million to the domestic small business within the next 12 months.

Acting as a selling arm for banks, BankGo charges a commission fee on each successful loan application or the opening of a new credit card account, while the service is free for borrowers.

Rather than simply listing different services offered by banks for comparison on the website, the startup’s system suggests the most relevant loan conditions for users based on their profiles, as well as helps banks easily connect to more customers.

As more financial institutions in Vietnam are looking to tap into the retail banking sector, consumer lending has become a huge market with $15.12 billion sales volume in 2015.

“We want to contribute to making the financial information system in Vietnam more transparent, with better banking services, and making financial products in Vietnam easy to buy,” said Vu Viet Hung, founder and CEO of BankGo.

The Vietnamese central bank has said the country’s credit growth this year could reach 21.82 per cent, surpassing the target of 20 per cent set earlier. It is also higher than last year’s growth of 17.26 per cent.

In Ho Chi Minh City alone, loans worth a total of VND178.11 trillion ($7.98 billion) have been disbursed to more than 19,150 businesses so far in 2016.

The growth of the bank lending sector, buoyed by the increasing capital demand, has seen the rise of fintech startups to a number of over 30 companies in Vietnam, with business models expanding to a variety of verticals instead of focusing on payment, such as personal finance, bitcoin, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

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