While the economy is slowly recovering from the brunt of COVID-19, there are still many people who are struggling with financial challenges. As inevitable, finding ways to provide for daily sustenance is still inevitable.
With 36 million Filipino adults remaining unbanked as of 2022, mobile micro loans have emerged as the biggest step forward in terms of achieving true financial inclusion. A recent report on the real world socio-economic impact of Tala, a global digital lending platform with a strong presence in the Philippines, reveals that Tala customers experienced improved quality of life after having utilized the company’s services.
Among the findings of the “Lender’s 2022 Impact Report” is that out of 250 Filipino Tala borrowers interviewed, 81% of respondents shared that their quality of life improved thanks to Tala’s service. The Report was prepared by 60 Decibels, a global, tech-enabled impact measurement company, between October – November 2022. It details the real world societal impact that lending service has had in the countries in which it is present.
The report further showed that the top three self-reported outcomes for the 81% of borrowers who reported quality of life improvements were: 55% talked about having improved access to finance, 31% reported being able to better afford household expenses and 17% reported the ability to face emergency expenses.
“We’re happy to see that our services have granted our customers confidence where they didn’t before, gave them the ability to better withstand emergencies, and provided them the avenue to pursue their dreams. Tala has definitely made a big impact in the Philippines,” Missy Santos, Marketing Manager of Tala shared at the briefing.
Since its inception in 2014, Tala’s mission has been to create a world where even the unbanked and marginalized can have access to basic financial services, enabling them to safely and efficiently manage their finances with ease and confidence. “Tala continues to provide a unique microloan service to the underserved market in the Philippines. Many of our kababayans challenges include paying off their bills, having the confidence to avail a loan, and being able to have financial independence,” elaborates Donald Evangelista, General Manager of Tala Philippines. “Helping them address these challenges has been part of Tala’s mission.”
Apart from improvements in quality of life, Tala respondents also reported improvements in how they manage their finances. As a result of Tala’s microloans, about 45% respondents said they increased their savings, 69% were able to reduce their financial stress, and 89% improved their financial management skills.
Positive impact on women
Sharing the most significant impact Tala has made in the lives of Filipino women, Iona Iñigo-Mayo, Tala’s Senior Director and Global Customer Experience Operations said, “It gives me great pride to share that 70% of female borrowers cite an increase in their influence on household decision-making thanks to financial access. For these women, their financial independence (56%), capability to pay for household bills/expenses (53%), and money for education (15%) improved the most because of Tala. Moreover, the self-confidence of 86% of Tala’s female borrowers increased while another 78% experienced a rise in respect from their household.”
Tala customers’ satisfaction was also rated highly by the interviewees, citing the efficient loan approval process and the reliable and easy-to-use Tala application as one of the key reasons. About 98% of borrowers agree that they understand the terms and conditions of their loan, and 99% of them trust Tala with their personal information.
“The Philippines is a key market for Tala as it provides opportunities for growth. All the figures and statistics we’ve shown today showcase the love, dedication, and care we have for our Filipino customers which, in turn, is returned by them in full. We strive to continue to be a trustworthy, transparent, and life-changing service to all Filipinos,” said Kunal Kaul, Chief Risk & Strategy Officer, Tala.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Sasha Dichter, CEO and Co-founder of 60 Decibels said, “We are delighted to partner with Tala on this important work. It’s exciting to see Tala outperform the 60 Decibels Financial Inclusion Benchmarks on a number of core indicators, including First-time Access, Access to Alternatives and Customer Satisfaction. It also speaks volumes that a market leader like Tala is taking the step to listen directly to their customers about social impact in such a rigorous fashion. It means that the company, and the market, see that offering a service at scale is just the first step. To truly understand impact, we need to listen directly to customers, so we know we are building financial inclusion solutions that solve real problems for people.”
In the report, an average Philippine Tala user was defined: a 37-year-old who has been a Tala member for about 32 months; with 56% of them having to take out loans every two months. They’ve experienced challenges including paying off their bills, having the confidence to avail of a loan, and acquiring financial independence. When asked if they have experienced a similar service elsewhere, 70% said they did not, and 84% could not find a good alternative to Tala’s digital loans.