At present, India is standing at a threshold of innovations and revolutions, especially in the payments sector. Besides the massive efforts being taken by the government alongside many key financial bodies, BigTechs and Fintechs too are heavily engaged in introducing new and improved banking services to build streamlined payments and lending processes.   

Amidst the saga of revolutions comes another wave introducing a newer trend – Lending-as-a-Service or LaaS.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the very definition of LaaS, how it’s transforming the lending journey of both lenders and borrowers, benefits pertaining to various stakeholders, and its future scope in the Indian market.

Let’s get started! 

What Is Lending-as-a-Service?

Lending-as-a-service is one of the newest trends that’s gaining popularity in the Indian banking and financial sector. It’s a technique wherein a bank or service provider like Cashfree Payments helps financial institutions streamline and accelerate their lending process. 

According to experts, LaaS service providers offer cost-effective digital tools,

  • To run credit and background checks and shorten the verification process
  • Access to data that helps make rapid and better quality decisions
  • That reduce manual work and shorten the loan disbursal cycle by a great extent

Besides these, landing-as-a-service also helps financial institutions build a happy and loyal customer base which translates into higher win rates and increased revenues as well. 

Let’s take an example here to understand the concept better. 

Most banks run an extensive corporate credit process when dealing with SME lendings. This takes them anywhere between four to six weeks to make credit decisions for new money applications. 

With lending-as-a-service technology embedded in their systems, banks now can complete this entire process much faster than usual. 

  • Almost instantly in the case of small lendings
  • In about five to seven working days in the case of larger lendings 

This helps banks enjoy pricing power as well. This is because, if a bank is able to put an offer on the table to a customer within 24 hours and competitors are taking anywhere between three to four weeks, there will be less price negotiations and more deal closures.  

Many evolved Fintech players such as Cashfree Payments understand the importance and power of lending and hence, are extending LaaS tools to reduce the market’s high credit gap.

These service providers are leveraging data from various sources, applying AI and ML algorithms to check credit scores, and utilising innovative underwriting methods to help financial institutions complete the lending process in a minimal time period.

What Are The Benefits Of LaaS?

Lending-as-a-service brings along a series of benefits both for the lenders and the borrowers. 

Let’s take a look at the top five benefits.

Lower Customer Acquisition Cost

LaaS helps lenders automate their entire lending process. 

By harnessing the power of data along with AI and ML algorithms embedded in the LaaS tool, lenders can,

  • Easily and quickly gauge the creditworthiness of the borrowers
  • Entertain higher number of borrowers and take faster decisions   

This means, LaaS eliminates many unnecessary steps, ensures a decreased customer acquisition cost, and boosts productivity.

Speed To Decision Making

LaaS significantly increases a lender’s ability to perform straight-through-processing and take decisions quickly, even in the case of large ticket-size loans that demand multiple approvals. 

From a borrower’s perspective, LaaS helps them cut-short the entire loan process and access funds faster than ever before, adding the much-needed working capital and liquidity to their business. 

Objective Decision Making

LaaS also brings along objectivity in taking the right decisions. The use of data and algorithms eliminate all the ‘maybes’ and ‘gut feelings’ of underwriters and force them to make sound decisions. 

Customised Solutions 

Financial institutions vary tremendously in terms of infrastructure and needs. This means, they demand customised solutions to cater to their specific customer base. Many LaaS providers such as Cashfree Payments help offer such customised solutions to ensure least hiccups in the lending cycle and more prompt solution offerings. 

Improved Customer Experience

LaaS providers understand the importance of customer experience. And hence, they leverage the latest user interface (UI) trends to build customer-centric tools. 

  • interactive and responsive designs 
  • minimal clicks
  • intuitive user journey 

These ensure a smooth and great customer experience.  

How Lending-as-a-Service Is Transforming The Lending Journey 

The Indian lending market stood at INR 156.9 lakh crores at the end of FY 2021, marking a growth of about 100% from FY 2017 and 2021. Despite the growth, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals still struggle to qualify for loans due to many stringent requirements specified by the banks. 

Meanwhile, many NBFCs and alternative revenue financing lenders are entering this space and offering loans to this deprived segment. Not to miss, at present, India is a home to 42.50 million SMEs. This means, banks are losing out on huge opportunities due to their legacy systems. 

Lending-as-a-service is providing these banks with a cutting-edge tool to tap into this huge potential market and boost their service offering. It’s helping them embed a financial structure that will accelerate and streamline their loan processing system.  

The growth of lending-as-a-service is also being fueled by open platforms in India. They’re enabling Fintechs and Bigtechs to build and launch better lending tools with an aim to benefit both the lenders and borrowers at every step. 

Meanwhile, as explained in the section above, it’s also giving rise to competition amid lenders, with an aim to help borrowers get loans at the best rates. 

Many financial institutions are already in the process to leverage lending-as-a-service and owing to the problems LaaS aims to solve, it’s no brainer that its impact will only continue to increase in the coming years.  

Wrapping Up

Technology is enabling Fintechs and BigTechs to introduce new and more innovative ways to streamline and digitise the entire lending system. Lending-as-a-service is one such byproduct which is gaining much popularity in the Indian lending landscape. 

Though still at a nascent stage, its overall infrastructure is already enabling lenders, especially the banks, to reduce time and efforts and provide better lending services to customers. It’s only a matter of time to see LaaS penetrating to the roots and becoming an integral part of the Indian lending ecosystem.