For This Former Seaman and His Wife, Microlending Is a Crisis-Proof Business Concept
A crisis-proof business is a kind of business that remains stable and, perhaps becomes even more in-demand when a crisis occurs, just like what is happening now during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of those surviving and thriving industries nowadays are delivery services, online businesses, telecommunications, technology, health services, and financing institutions.
Zooming into the financing industry, the most promising sector currently is microfinance, also known as micro-credit or a microlending business.
Since the pandemic has caused a lot of disruptions in our lives, such as job loss, business closure, unexpected expenses, and more, many Filipinos have started to seek out the help of microlending businesses.
“The power of a microlending business lies in its capability to provide help while earning,” says entrepreneurs Captain Eric and May Sheil Rasonable. “In every community, we envision that there is always an Ermay Lending present to serve their urgent needs.”
Eric and May started Ermay Lending Corp. as a small-scale lending business in 2008 in their hometown of Ozamiz City. From lending to close relatives and friends, their starting capital increased exponentially, enabling them to serve more customers. Surveying the growing lending business, Eric decided to leave the lucrative opportunities of being a ship captain, and embraced the noble pursuit of helping fellow Filipinos in their financial needs.
As one of the first-ever salary lending franchises in the country, Ermay Lending Corp. banks on their noble mission to empower everyday Filipinos by giving them access to needed funding or capital through hassle-free and easily approved loan products. Over the years, Eric and May Sheil pivoted into creating more loan products such as seaman allocation loans, salary loans, pensioner loans, and business loans, making the business a one-stop shop for quick and easy microlending needs.
With their goal to help the communities where their branches are located, Ermay Lending Corp. has an outstanding 97 percent approval rate of loans. During the pandemic, the number of loans approved by Ermay Lending Corp. has even ballooned.
“The truth is, crisis or not, people need money,” Eric shares. “It just so happens that the pandemic drove more borrowers to us and while it means good business, for me, this also means goodwill. Having the ability to help them survive and thrive in a crisis is already a mission fulfilled.”
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has recorded P27.3 billion-worth of microfinance loans in 2019, which is a 21-percent growth from 2018’s P22.6 billion. Last year’s numbers are not yet released; however, it is already being presumed by experts that the microfinance loans last year got even bigger.
Lending while earning
During the pandemic, microlending institutions like Ermay Lending Corp. have even been tagged as an essential business. Here are top 3 things that make microlending a crisis-proof business:
1| Constantly high demand from the masses
Crisis or no crisis, a microlending business can survive and thrive. When the pandemic hit, a large portion of the population has been struggling to get by and this has only intensified the demand for microloans.
2| Easier approval and friendlier interest rates
During the pandemic, banks only laxed on their payment and interest collections but their requirements for availing loans stayed the same. Microlending institutions make it very easy for banked and unbanked individuals or businesses to apply for a loan by requiring minimal documents. Reasonable payment terms and interest rates are also in place to make sure that payments won’t be a formidable barrier for borrowers.
3| Easier setup and operations
In contrast again to banks, a microlending business is on the smaller and simpler scale. Microlending businesses usually cater to the community they are in, making it easier to set it up and operate it smoothly. Because of its advantages in being a smaller business than a bank, operating a microlending business is easier and feasible even when a crisis occurs.
“The key to running a successful microlending business is to be well liquid,” May Sheil says. “To be sure to earn more is to be sure you have enough money to lend. She adds that operating during the pandemic has been a challenge but thanks to a strong cash flow and volume of customers in the past, they were able to cater to what she calls “an unprecedented event” in their business.
To be able to start a microlending business, it is important to understand its every nook and cranny from permits, interest rates, CI systems, collection formats and more.
“It took us almost a decade to perfect our system,” Eric says. “It’s really a daunting task, just to even recall it. That’s why we had our business structured and developed for franchising, so aspiring franchisees can easily duplicate our best practices.
“The more Ermay Lending Corp. we have in the country, the more Filipinos will be assisted in their funding needs, eventually, funding their dreams of a better life.”
To know more about franchising Ermay Lending Corporation, please click here. Or you may also contact U-Franchise Sales and Management for a franchise business presentation at 0920 983 0247 or 0917 881 6999 or email us at [email protected].
Sam Christopher Lim is the CEO of Francorp Philippines; President of U-Franchise Sales & Management; Director for ASEAN Integration of the Philippines Franchise Association; and Co-author of the book “12 Strategies of Franchising”.