First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Jared Lim: Malaysia is coping pretty OK outbreak wise. But it’s economically challenging times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined Finology
Jared Lim: My name is Jared Lim. I’m the co-founder of Finology. Loanstreet.com.my is one of the media brands under Finology.
How does Finology innovate?
Jared Lim: Innovation is part of our DNA. We are always thinking about how best to make lending and insurance more seamless. Whether it is via an online information aggregator touch point. Or via the use of our APIs. Or our onboarding software. We currently hold patents in 2 countries for our technology on how to help people get loan approvals instantly from various financial institutions but only by going through a single underwriting process.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Jared Lim: Our main business is in digital distribution of mortgages and insurances. Mortgages has been quite affected with volumes coming down significantly since the pandemic struck. However, digital insurances have conversely benefitted and grown in terms of volume. To adjust, we’ve had to quickly redeploy most of our resources to more profitable areas where we think the pandemic positively affects the business.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Jared Lim: Yes. Revenues were immediately affected. We’ve had to implement broad pay cuts across the organization. One thing we’ve learnt is it pays to be an empathetic leader and have been consistent about it. If you had always been empathetic, tough decisions in times of crisis can galvanize the team and they’d be more willing to make sacrifices and share the burden of group survival. But if you had never been an empathetic leader, expect it to be a lot more difficult than it has to be.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Finology in the future?
Jared Lim: I’ve my off days. I believe digitized services like ours at Finology is better placed for a post-pandemic future despite the short to medium term challenges.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jared Lim: Our primary competitors are really the sign up / application / underwriting / sales processes for Financial Services products that haven’t yet moved to digital. Because most of the onboarding still happens non-digitally. So regardless how many digital operators in the space, we are all fighting to make this change happen on an industry scale. We continue to remain relevant through our API marketplace. As opposed to selling products only via our channels, our API marketplace allows us to have product merchandising on a wider range of 3rd party marketplace platforms.
Your final thoughts
Jared Lim: Banks and insurers that are not yet investing into learning how to harness the digital revolution will be left out in time to come. More and more FSIs have come to this realization. Hence, Finology is well placed in this future of digitized financial services.