There are many online lending facilities springing up in Nigeria. The more prominent of them are Carbon (Paylater) and Branch.
I’ve been using the two for a while.
The nature of my job entails my taking advantage of credit facilities wherever they are to be found
These online platforms make access to quick loans a breeze with absolutely no paperwork and no collateral, usually within minutes of feeding in some information about yourself. You get money credited to your account, swiftly, if you qualify.
The amount you are able to borrow (as well as interest rates) are tied to your continued conscientiousness in paying back on time. Each time you take a loan and you pay back on time, your credit rating increases. You are able to access bigger loans – as your credit rating increases.
There are about 3 major Credit Bureaux in the country. Financial services supposedly access their records to determine who is creditworthy and who is not .
It is therefore a no-brainer that this will have to be on top of their game by constantly and regularly updating their records – to be continually relevant.
So.. I’ve taken loans from this particular lending platform with no problems for like 8 times. I’ve never been late in payments.. have never defaulted. Meticulous building my credit rating to access bigger loans at better interest rates
So, I was under the illusion that my credit rating will be high up there in the skies.
Imagine my shock when I wanted to access another loan and got informed by the loan app that I have a problem with my credit rating.
The online loan application was declined.
App says there is a blemish in my record with a credit bureau… that I had ₦38 unpaid with my bank since 2008.!
Now this is ridiculous.
This particular bank mentioned is the one I use the most, have funds in it perpetually and I transact on it everyday -with positive cash flow.
₦ 38 debit since 2008 on an account that is used regularly and has funds in it all the time.?
– If I have am existing debit by whatever magic (I have never taken a loan from them), how come this debit has not been nullified since this is an ultra active account?
– I have been transacting with this online lending platform for a while and taken several loans, fully paid on time – in the past. How come this platform never referred to some problem with the credit rating bureau?. It is either they have not been checking with them or something is wrong with the record keeping of the bureau.
I tend to believe the problem is from the Credit Bureau.
On being made aware of this supposed problem with my credit rating, I immediately attempted to contact the bureau through email, and then telephone.
A problem with your credit rating can affect your ability to access loans with other financial institutions – later
The credit bureau never responded to my email and repeated calls to the telephone numbers provided were not picked.
What else can I do?
I put a call to my bank.. complaining.. the bank I’m supposed to be owing ₦ 38 since 11 years ago.
My Bank – unlike this useless credit bureau promptly responded and directed me to come to the bank to collect a Letter Of Non-Indebtedness. as they could see I have a robust bank account with them, and owe them nothing.
The question is – how will I get this letter to this credit bureau? They have not picked calls and didn’t respond to my email. I’m not about to make a journey from Lagos to their Abuja Office on such a fool’s errand.
So .. I gave up after complaining bitterly through email to the lending platform that refused to grant a loan because some shoddy organisation is not doing its job properly.
Fast forward to 3 months later, I was minding my business when the lending platform suddenly contacted me saying that they have resolved the problem with my credit, and I’m now qualified to get a loan from them again if I wish.
What I suspect is – they have realised (probably because many people have been complaining the way I complained) that the credit bureau report is actually a huge joke.
By the way, a friend also inadvertently similarly discovered he had an ‘issue’ with this same credit bureau. He also has a very active account with the bank flagged as being the problem. And many people on the lending platform forum were complaining too.
The lesson to be learnt from all this is that whereas automation is good, there are things that automation will not be able to handle effectively.
Kudos do the lending platform for realizing this and coming to their senses.
There are many situations where the human natural stupidity is superior to any artificial intelligence or automation. It is called, DISCRETION ) common sense . Humans are not robots and I have a brain given to them to think.
The lending platform automatically declines an Application For Loan based on whether there is a blemish on the credit bureau report or not. But in a situation like this my own (where obviously it doesn’t make sense) the software is unable to take the correct decision. Only human intervention will save the day.
This reminds one of the regular complaints of Apps Authors when apps are wrongly removed from the App Store for some ‘violation”‘
The process is completely automated for both the Android and Apple stores. This often results in a lot of injustices being perpetrated because a chance is not given to the software author to explain things to a human.
Clearly, the excessive use of automation can occasionally accentuate our natural stupidity as humans, when reliance on automation is carried to the extreme or not used with discretion.