Match With The Right Bank For You: Why We Built a Loan Marketplace That Personalizes Digital Banking

November 12, 2020

The current online loan comparison system has some obvious flaws. If you want to apply for a loan, today’s marketplace presents you with several frustrating hurdles: You can’t customize your research of all bank products You can’t apply quickly because documentation uploads are complicated You can’t get rewarded for being a repeat customer on loan comparison platforms You can’t understand the entire loan application process (without actually speaking to a banker) Let’s face it: The inherent problems with today’s online financial system makes bank product shopping much more difficult than it should be. Ultimately, this prevents online banking customers from quickly getting the funding they need. To solve these issues, numerous loan comparison platforms have been created. But these platforms (Yallacompare, Souqalmal, etc.) have aggregated banks without providing the personalized banking experiences of the traditional system. Instead, these platforms: Only aggregate banking products without considering unique customer profiles Omit personalization of the bank product shopping experience Lack the consultancy services afforded by traditional bankers Do not provide any built-in rewards So, instead of improving our banking system, the financial status quo has only replaced the old model with a soulless loan comparison system that is blind to our individual needs. This negatively impacts our ability to shop online for banking products, which should naturally come with personalized services akin to the importance of the activity they are funding — supporting business growth, urgent personal needs, a new car and, in the end, our life-transforming dreams. Unfortunately, these obstacles are found in all types of banking products, including those that are essential parts of our lives — health insurance, auto financing and other products are all difficult to shop for because they lack personalization. But what if there was an app that brought back the best of customized banking services to the digital space, providing you the same experience you have become used to when shopping for a flight or vacation rental? We built it, and named it FinFirst. Our loan marketplace was built for the digital age: it is available across devices, including on a mobile app (that we call the Super App) and on desktop, through our newly reimagined website. Unlike a loan comparison site, we have built an app that offers so much more. There are a few things we do differently here: We employ matchmaking algorithms to match bank criteria and customer profiles We have an on-app recommendation AI to optimize future purchases We give rewards to users who signup and bank through us We offer end-to-end digital banking services — a digital branch for ALL banks in one place. Customers can follow their entire application without leaving our platforms Customers can buy cars through our digital showrooms of all brands and get financing in one application within 10 minutes When we set out to develop our Super App, we were sure that we wanted to offer these specific services and solve the most common problems that loan applicants face. We organized these features in the following categories: Personalized product matchmaking: We’ve created a personalized experience that allows you to customize how you connect with the best banks in Kuwait and the Gulf region, right in the palm of your hand. If we can shop for flights of every global single airline in smartphone apps today, then it’s time you should have the same personalized experience when shopping for loans and other bank products. Product-first online bank shopping and AI recommendation: The traditional banking system puts the banking institution in front of the product. We decided to flip this system on its head, putting the product before the institution. Moreover, we use an AI-driven recommendation system to suggest the best product for you based on previous searches and purchases. Quicker loan application process: Banks use different forms that are often unclear. We’ve streamlined that process and made it faster. You can now apply for a loan in less than 10 minutes on our Super App. That is a revolution. Intuitive documentation uploads: It was important to get this step right. The way that we submit documentation today changes with each bank, but each bank needs the same information, including ID verification, licenses (for business loans), proof of income/revenue, etc. Our tool now makes this process seamless. Fast final offers and community rewards: Waiting for a loan application response can cause great anxiety. That’s because there is little transparency with how long it should take to respond. On our app, we inform each applicant of the average time of response. Afterwards, account holders can build points on our platform and get future rewards from popular banks. Our objectives were clear. So we set out on a mission to solve the biggest pain points the banking industry faces today and improve upon the loan comparison status quo. With the help of new technology, we were able to relaunch a fintech company that we believe will revolutionize how banking customers think about loans, auto financing and insurance in the Gulf region. Below we’ll take you through the journey of how FinFirst users can expect to experience this new way of bank product shopping. Each of these sections are divided by the product experience that we aim to communicate. 1.Conveniently Match With Bank Products Like You Shop For Flights Just like banking, how we used to shop for airlines and hotel rentals on our smartphones needed to be completely reengineered. More customization was needed to make the experience less mechanic and more personal We decided this revolution should now come to banking products. It would require adding personalization filters before the loan matching even begins. This way, you are only presented with products important to you, and the bank knows that they have found a qualified match as well according to your profile details. Just think of Tinder, AirBnb or We are all used to shopping by matchmaking on our smartphone. But the financial system has lagged in providing such a personalized service. This was perhaps the biggest inspiration to relaunch FinFirst and develop our Super App. Shouldn’t buying a potentially transformative banking product be as easy to shop for as your summer vacation rental? We certainly think it should. Personalized Product Selection: Step One of the Loan Marketplace Journey First, let’s take a look at what this new banking experience journey will look like. Below is an example of what an auto loan selection experience looks like. (Note that step 1 in this experience will be different if you are selecting a business or personal loan, etc.) To begin, you need to choose your car or simply indicate that you are only looking for the loan. As shown in frame 1 above, our app helps to filter your car search by asking several important questions: What is your lifestyle like? This will help us find the category of car that best suits your day-to-day needs and values. From here, we’ll be able to define if an eco-friendly EV, sports car or family-friendly vehicle will be the best to showcase for you later. What top 2 features are most important for you? Here we ask you to select the type of car features that will make or break your decision to buy the car. Not surprisingly, there are a wide range of features to consider when shopping for a car. Our tool will allow you to select two, including safety, design, entertainment, parking or engine specs features. What is your budget? So how much are you ready to spend? Enter in the price range that best suits your budget. You’ll be prompted on the button at the bottom of the screen with how many cars fit into the criteria you have entered up until this point. You’ll then be taken to an on-app car marketplace that shows you recommended cars, their features, a carousel slideshow of photos and pricing ranges. This makes your car selection process completely customized. This selection process works in a similar way with all of the main loan products: personal loans, business loans, mortgages, and insurance. In FinFirst’s Super App, we wanted to make it clear: Not only should a loan marketplace allow you to easily shop for car loans; we’ll also personalize your product selection to make that experience tailored to each person. Now let’s see how we’ll be able to shop online for these loans. 2.AI-Driven Matchmaking Built To Optimize The Best Banking Products For Each Customer Banks owe it to their customers to put the quality of their products before their brands. We wanted to build our Super App to underscore this philosophy. Ultimately, this new banking structure is built for the benefit of the customer because it forces banks to compete with each other by product quality and not by brand recognition. The flowchart below best illustrates how our fintech business model is turning the traditional financial model on its head by putting the banking product in front of the banking institution. We believe that a bank has nothing to fear about this new customer experience if they are providing their clients with high quality products. If not, this structure will eventually engender the positive change that the industry and consumers demand. By using AI-driven recommendation algorithms, our technical team was able to refine the bank product matchmaking experience. Much like how Amazon recommends products based on your previous purchases and search history, our Super App will further personalize banking shopping before filters are even added. These principals are at the heart of why we launched the Super App. With this app, you’ll finally be able to shop online by product types like you do in large e-commerce sites — not by visiting the individual branches and websites of each bank. Taking the auto loan experience as an example once again, after personalizing your car loan selection, a screen matching you to several bank loans will appear. These matches will be based on your filters and AI-drive recommendations. Moreover, we knew that the power for our app would come from the quality of the banks that are present. FinFirst’s Super App now includes bank loan products from the top banks in Kuwait, including Boubyan Bank, Kuwait Finance House, Gulf Bank, Ahli United and more. Now you have the ability to personalize how you shop for bank products with the same shopping experience that the best e-commerce sites give you. 3.Fast Loan Applications And Intuitive Documentation Uploads Traditional loan applications take way too long. We took a bold move to cut the average application time down to fraction. Our Super App allows you to apply for a loan on an average of less than 10 minutes. This is unheard of in the traditional banking system. Improving application speed came as an obvious industry challenge that our development team set out to address when designing our app. If we could reduce application times, we’d increase leads for banks as well as improve the banking experience for customers. A win-win solution. However, the real challenge came when we committed to designing a completely new documentation upload experience. Each banking loan product requires different documentation. Each bank had different prerequisites for loans. Each process is slightly different, yet fundamentally important. Basically, after making a loan application, you may be required to upload certain documents that are mandatory for the approval process. Therefore, we wanted to make this experience as straightforward as possible within our app. Below is a screenshot of the documentation upload process we created. Our team built an encrypted system that allows for the secure upload of these private and sensitive documents. All of sudden it became possible to securely share this essential paperwork and photos with multiple banks, all from the comfort of your smartphone. 4.Fast Final Offers And Built-In Rewards The process of aggregating bank products into one app makes for more transparent banking experiences. We knew this would be a big add-on value for customers, who eagerly await loan approvals following their application submissions. Our app prompts each applicant with the average approval wait time after their documentation is submitted. Below is a chart of each average loan approval time per bank on our platform. And then comes approval or denial. If approved, the applicant will receive a message notifying them that the loan is ready, as well as all related financial and legal documents. Our app allows for customers to submit a digital signature of their approved loan(s). This capability is a must-have for all fintechs. Furthermore, all loan and legal documents will be saved on the applicants FinFirst account, making for easy access to records. We knew this was convenience, reimagined. FinFirst loan marketplace rewards Repeat loan applicants get to monitor all rewards from their banks within our app. Building a bank rewards feature on the Super App was an integral part of our long-term marketing strategy. Here, customers will be rewarded when they sign up and buy banking products through our platforms. Banks also benefit from the established loyalty their clients give them based on the merit of their banking products’ quality. We dared to build a loan marketplace that makes banking better. Now you can sign up and judge for yourself.