By Ram Superable Agustin
The parent company of pawnshop operator Cebuana Lhuillier recently announced an investment with an undisclosed amount in fintech company Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) Ventures.
SCI is Filipino-led startup known for building blockchain technology services and ecosystems in the local business scene.
The investment means SCI will now be bringing blockchain-powered solutions and services for the 4,000 domestic partners of Cebuana Lhuillier.
“Our goal is really to try to make sure that we’re accessible 24/7 and we want to achieve that digitally with SCI. Fintech is definitely a space that we’re looking at,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, president and CEO of the PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies.
Miguel Cuneta, SCI Ventures co-founder, said going digital is a natural step forward for the pawnshop operator and remittance firm.
“We’re happy to be backed by an institution like Cebuana Lhuillier. We are well-aligned in our goal to provide better inclusive financial services in the Philippines. Their extensive brick-and-mortar network is unmatched in reach and efficiency. SCI is excited to be part of this journey as a technology partner,” Cuneta said.
Lhuillier said fintechs could address the challenges facing the financial industry such as facilitating payments between buyers and sellers and ensuring money transfers are sent securely to intended recipients.
Digital transformation, he said, is only a natural step for Cebuana Lhuillier as the company has successfully diversified into micro-lending, micro-insurance, and money transfer and remittance.
“We have a strong presence with over 2500 outlets,” said Lhuillier. “Our partnership with SCI Ventures aims to widen our reach to continue serving the un-served and underserved communities as we enable them to transition from subsistence living to more sustainable economic conditions by improving our services and providing them with more affordable, more simplified, and more efficient financial access to allow their small business to grow,” he added.
Lhuillier said Cebuana Lhuillier is aiming to be the preferred digital financial services provider for the 80 million Filipinos who are not serviced by the banking industry.
Currently, Cebuana Lhuillier has 11 million active users of its Cebuana Lhuillier 24k Plus Card loyalty program and serves over 25 million Filipinos in the country and abroad.