Mongolia's best digital bank 2019: LendMN
It’s hard to think of any four-year-old company that’s shaken up Mongolia’s financial sector more than LendMN. The fintech sensation’s start in 2015 is the stuff of legend: Anar Chinbaatar and two similarly successful friends – including chief executive Boldbaatar Ochirsuren – became so tired of buddies asking to borrow cash that they figured: why not make the dynamic official?
What started as a kind of digital payday lender has since morphed into a microlending powerhouse with designs on cornering the payments game. LendMN’s steady growth is forcing the nation’s biggest and oldest banks to raise their own digital offerings – as any good startup should.
But chief financial officer Delgerjargal Bayarjargal says LendMN is just getting started, and in ways sure to benefit the Mongolian economy. Already, it has pivoted from pioneer to market leader, with more than 656,000 registered users, over 2.1 million microloans issued and at least $164 million of loans disbursed so far. Its Wallet app, arguably Mongolia’s answer to China’s ubiquitous AliPay, has over 294,000 users, with 3,600 merchants.
With 21 mobile apps and counting, users can borrow, shop, plan vacations and even make donations.
As Bayarjargal explains, LendMN is also making a big push into supply-chain financing to simplify interactions between small and medium-sized companies and suppliers. It is expanding its remittances services, which so far can be used to move money to 13 nations in Asia. It also has forged partnerships with Facebook Messenger and Viber to offer new services and products.
Perhaps LendMN’s biggest disruption is to Mongolia’s archaic and bureaucratic lending practices. Mongolia’s credit-scoring system is woefully underdeveloped, a big drawback considering the prevalence of itinerant herders.
Traditionally, banks have been reluctant to share data on customer transaction history. Loans tend to involve plenty of paperwork, face multi-day lags and labyrinthine collateral assessment norms, hence the preponderance of loan sharks across the nation.
LendMN’s proprietary credit assessment process, powered by artificial intelligence, has been a game-changer. Its repayment rate, after all, is better than 99%.
There’s no telling where LendMN might venture next. Suffice it to say, though, Mongolia’s entire banking system will likely have no choice but to follow.