Aafaq Islamic Finance forges transformational partnership with The Social Loan Company to drive financial inclusion

The Social Loan Company (TSLC), a Singapore-based AI/ML-powered cutting-edge big data-driven credit enablement platform company, has forged a transformational partnership with Aafaq Islamic Finance to set up a trend-setting non-bank, mobile-first loan platform to deliver financial access to the underserved young digital natives in the MENA region. At a press conference at The Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, the two parties announced plans to launch the industry-leading platform across chosen markets in the region to deliver appropriate, affordable, accessible and differentiated financial solutions to drive the inclusion of credit-thin, new-to-credit and credit-invisible everyday consumers.

Rashed Mahboob Al Qubaisi, CEO of Aafaq Islamic Finance said: “We are pleased that Aafaq was selected by TSLC as a strategic partner in the MENA region. This partnership allows Aafaq to connect more deeply with its customers by providing differentiated Sharia-compliant financial transactions in an environment that is end-to-end digital, safe and secure.”

Al Qubaisi pointed out that “what distinguishes this new partnership between Aafaq and TSLC is the new possibility of extending our client base to include the young and underserved digital natives in this region.”

“TSLC is looking to usher in a new era of Artificial Intelligence-based financial services in the MENA region. There is no doubt that our current and future customers will reap rich rewards from the formidable combination of our legacy infrastructure with their proven expertise and track record of success in financial technology.” added Al Qubaisi.

Deepak Saluja, Co-Founder, Group CEO & Board Member, TSLC said: “At TSLC we are laser-focused on bringing in strong in-house R&D and building a unique technology-based, big data-driven, mobile-only digital-first alternative global financial services organisation. To launch in the Middle East, we needed a super-progressive institution with an impeccable track record, connected with us on a common mission to bring the underserved, everyday consumers into mainstream banking. Our partnership with Aafaq is a testimony to our global advocation of a JV-driven win-win model of co-operation between incumbents and challengers. Our hyper-inclusive proprietary platform, nuanced for this region, is designed to serve the moderate income, near-prime consumers. This transformational partnership is expected to bring about a paradigm shift in the fundamentals of credit assessment and delivery, anchored on the joint objective of building a more inclusive financial system.”

He added: “Together with Aafaq, we will redefine the financial landscape, transform the world of online lending in the Middle East and fundamentally change the way everyday people approach their relationship with money and banking in this region. We are proud to have partnered with Aafaq as our Social-Loan Partner, as we recognise a shared commitment to building a mission-driven enterprise that can help transform traditional financial services for the average-income underserved consumers in this region. Our ground-breaking ML-powered alternate data-driven credit-scoring engine will enable faster and better credit decisions, lower the barriers of borrowing and deliver access to honest, affordable and transparent credit.

TSLC recently set up Digital Collective Technologies Ltd., its wholly-owned subsidiary in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) for its centralized world-class tech and product leadership teams to operate from its regional headquarters at One Central, Dubai, UAE.

TSLC is currently fully functional in India as an end-to-end tech enabled, integrated, fully-automated diversified millennial consumer finance company under the brand name, CASHe – India’s leading consumer lending platform supported with proprietary AI-driven underwriting, and straddling the entire value chain of digital lending from in-app loans to embedded finance and BNPL. TSLC is on an ambitious global expansion drive, looking at key markets in West, South and Southeast Asia, as well as Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa.

Saluja added, “UAE’s regulatory framework is designed to foster innovation within this region. Given that MENA region has amongst the highest smartphone penetration and Fintech adoption rates in the world, going end-to-end digital has moved from being a side-show to the front and centre as a ‘must-have’ and a key strategic imperative to help achieve the digital transformation in the most holistic way possible. We are here for the long haul, committed to building a top-notch centralised tech innovation and R&D centre in this region and leading from the front of the battlelines to contribute significantly to the fintech landscape and help achieve breakthrough growth in the digital transformation of this region.

TSLC and Aafaq will enable Personal Loans, Pay Later and Virtual Credit Lines all in one digital wallet. Bundled-in, splitable and consumable within minutes of origination designed for middle-income borrowers who need help with essential day-to-day purchase decisions, paying down and consolidating high interest debt, or to meet unexpected expenses. The partnership will be committed to democratising access to banking tools to secure affordable credit, borrow and spend responsibly, build wealth and save smartly, all within a hyper-inclusive platform.

Saluja added, “We are proud to have partnered with Aafaq as our Social Loan Partner as we recognise a shared commitment to building a mission-driven, futuristic, open-banking-ready platform that can help transform traditional financial services and improve economic freedom for the clear whitespace of average-income, underserved consumers in this region. The TSLC competitive advantage resides in our scalable and portable tech infrastructure, culture, talent, track record of sustained execution and operational insights. We are on a mission to democratise banking and credit, and make it more inclusive leveraging digital and AI. Traditional brick and mortar banks have left large segments of population underserved. We aim to rewrite the relationship with money and banking for the digital natives as longer-term partners on their journey to financial independence.”

TSLC is rethinking the fundamentals of banking, leveraging newer alternative sources of data to better predict credit risk and repayment behaviours, thus aiming to open up and offer almost the full banking experience to mainstream consumers. In India it reinvented underwriting for millennials seeking access to affordable credit via appropriately packaged in-app solutions. Over the past 4 years since inception, its flagship embedded lending brand, CASHe, has had a phenomenal upward trajectory.

Saluja concluded, “By taking many of the same operating principles and DNA and applying it to a much broader set of financial products and targeted demographics across large underpenetrated markets, we can now have an even bigger positive effect on customers to help change and improve their lives.”