Despite revoked license, lending firm Robocash to launch digital bank in PH

Singapore-headquartered online lending firm Robocash Group has announced it is now raising funds to finance the launch of its digital bank in the Philippines called “Una Bank” by September 2020.

This is the despite the fact that its authority to operate as a financing company has been revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December last year. The SEC stripped Robocash’s permit for running several branches without the necessary license.

But in a press statement on Thursday, July 2, Robocash said it is now ready to plunge headlong into digital banking with a focus on serving the underbanked in the Philippines. Similar to its other products, Robocash said the development of Una Bank will be completely in-house.

Aiming to start activities by September 2020, Robocash said it is now raising $5 million to be used as regulatory capital for a Philippine banking license. Later, in December 2020, the funding round will be followed by an IPO (initial public offering) on the Australian Stock Exchange, it said.

“Expecting to attract $70 million during the float, the company will use the proceeds to support the further development of the online bank and accelerate expansion on the existing and new markets in Asia. For a financial services business, such raising would imply the post-money market capitalization of over $340 million,” the company said.

Robocash claims it has 11 million customers across several countries as of June 30 this year. It provided 3.5 million loans worth $303 million in 2019, the company said.

“The target this year is to hit $197.7 million by issuing 4.2 million loans by the end of 2020. The company expects that technologies and procedures improved during the Covid-19 outbreak will allow it to continue growing the net profit after tax up from $17.3 million in 2019 to $28.4 million in 2020,” it said.

In launching a digital bank in the Philippines, Robocash Group founder and CEO of Sergey Sedov said his company aims to fill the “gap in the range and quality of services available” for the underbanked sector in the country.

“Moreover, it seems rather odd that people who are tech-fluent and use digital solutions regularly remain underserved by traditional financial institutions. For instance, 95% out of two-thirds of Filipinos with access to the Internet use smartphones for that purpose. However, only 37% use banking apps. We are willing to change it and aim at delivering premium financial services to these markets. We expect to have 40,000 active cardholders in a few months after our online bank goes live in the Philippines,” Sedov said.

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