EDUCATION

INTERVIEW: JUMO World is extending digital loans to more than 2.5 million Ugandans

Wilfred Wabwire, the JUMO World Country Manager for Uganda

Wilfred Wabwire, the JUMO World Country Manager for Uganda

With the worsening economic situation in the country, on top of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, most Ugandans have resorted to seeking short-term loans from friends and family to make ends meet.

But this is an unsustainable scenario because even those friends are struggling too, trying hard to survive with the little they have.

And that is where JUMO World comes in, to facilitate digital quick loans and mitigate the financial burden one would impose on their immediate circle.

Since 2017, JUMO World has been acting as an integrator for Uganda’s top telecoms Airtel and MTN to provide soft loans and saving platforms for Ugandans. To date, more than 2.6 million subscribers have benefitted from Airtel Uganda’s Wewole and MTN’s MoSente platforms.

On the 9th Day of the 2022 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative, Season 3, we speak to Wilfred Wabwire, the JUMO World Country Manager for Uganda. Below is what he has to say.

QN: What is JUMO and what do you do?

ANS: JUMO is the market-leading banking as a service platform, enabling real-time access to funds at the lowest possible operating cost. Integrating into JUMO’s platform enables our partners to offer loans, savings and a wide range of financial choices to a new group of customers.

QN: How is your Wewole Product in partnership with Airtel Money performing? How did COVID-19 affect it?

ANS: JUMO has been offering Wewole loans in partnership with Airtel Uganda since 2017. The product is available on Airtel Money by dialing *185#, select option 8 for Wewole and follow the prompts. Covid-19 impacted people’s lives in ways previously unimagined. In response to the pandemic, JUMO World Uganda, implemented several initiatives to minimize the impact of covid-19 on borrowers including waiving the late payment fee given the situation at that time.

In terms of performance, Wewole Loan product has been used by over 2.5 million unique customers since its inception. This year to date, we have disbursed loans worth UGX 32 billion.  In April 2022, we opened-up the Wewole product to new eligible Airtel money customers.  Customers can borrow between as UGX 3,000 – UGX 1,000,00 and Customers with good repayment behavior gradually qualify for incrementally larger amounts.

QN: You recently launched MoSente with MTN Mobile Money. Congratulations! Tell us more about MoSente. What it is, how it works and everything else your clients ought to know.

ANS: MoSente is a convenient way for MTN MoMo customers to access credit services. Customers can borrow from as low as UGX 3, 000 and can chose either 14 days or 30 days to repay back the loan depending on their preferred loan term. To access Mosente loans, a customer simply dials *165*5*5# and follow the prompts. Money is instantly deposited in the customers MoMo wallet. To qualify for higher loan amounts, customers need to repay their MoSente loans on time, every time and keep using MTN MoMo account.

QN: What has been the impact of your credit products to the people of Uganda since you launched? How much cumulative credit have you given out on both Wewole and MoSente? How many borrowers are on both platforms? Etc.

ANS: JUMO World Uganda has collectively served about 2.65 million unique customers on both MoSente and Wewole since inception. This year to date, we have disbursed loans worth UGX 55 billion. A borrower shared with us that he “no longer looks for someone to borrow money from because they are using our service”. Another one said that he ‘used the first JUMO loan to pay school fees; he used the next loan for farming, and harvested much which helped him greatly to improve his household income”. These are some of the examples of the real positive impact our loans are having on the people of Uganda.

QN: What is JUMO doing to enhance Women’s Financial Inclusion? How are you supporting start-ups and informal businesses?

ANS: One-third of JUMO borrowers are Women.  For every ten borrowers on the JUMO Platform, six are MSMEs. One of our female borrowers, shared with us that “her life had improved with JUMO loans, by harvesting more on her farm and being able to pay her workers.”

Eligible Customers who are either starting up or in informal businesses can access MoSente Loan on the MTN MoMo menu or Wewole loan on Airtel Money Menu. Customers simply need to frequently use their mobile money wallets and register for the services.

JUMO through our Wewole Agent loan also offers access to unsecured Credit facilities to Airtel Money Agents to enable them to manage their float and serve their customers. Agents can borrow between UGX 10,000 and UGX 1, 600, 000 and repay back in 30 days.

QN: As a big player in FINTECH, is JUMO implementing Level One Project Principles such as Tiered KYC, Accessibility on Low-Quality Devices, Same Day Settlement and Real-Time Payments?

ANS: JUMO loans can be accessed on any type of mobile phone including feature phones and on qualifying and applying for a loan, customers get the funds instantly. Similarly, when a customer settles their loan, the transaction is processed in real-time 24/7 and the loan is cleared there and then.

QN: In your opinion, what is the state of Uganda’s FinTech industry?

ANS: The number of Fintechs in Uganda has been steadily growing from a handful to approximately 70 to-date. Events such as 40Days40FinTechs and Fintech conferences have enabled FinTechs to be seen and heard. Regulatory developments such as the National Payments Systems Act, Data Protection Act amongst others have further helped to streamline and formalize the industry. However, there is still opportunity to attract more funding, customer advocacy, and diversifying into more sectors including RegTech, Buy now Pay later, Savings and Budgeting solutions.

QN: Knowing the issues facing the FINTECH Industry, what role does the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative play in shaping the industry?

ANS: The 40Days40FinTechs initiate has given Fintechs a platform to showcase how their solutions are transforming livelihoods as well as the contribution of FinTech towards economic development. 40Days40Fintechs is also creating the much-needed awareness in the industry and ultimately driving usage/utilization of the innovations by the end-users as well as attracting funding/investment in the FinTech space.

40-Days 40-FinTechs

Now in its third edition, #40Days40FinTechs has quickly grown into one of the world’s premier showcase events for the innovations that are enabling ever more people to join the digital economy space.

That is surely going to remain the case, in large part due to the inspiration and collaboration that our partners Level One Project, Mojaloop, ModusBox, and Crosslake Technologies generate, but mostly because of the continuing generous support of the Gates Foundation.

Digital Innovators and FinTechs around East Africa should be more eager to embrace 40 Days 40 FinTechs as Season three covers physical destinations in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

Run under HiPipo’s Include Everyone program that also encompasses other initiatives such as FinTech Landscape Exhibition, Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit & Incubator and the Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit and Digital Impact Awards Africa; the #40Days40FinTechs platform aptly provides a setting for the various players and stakeholders involved in digital and financial technology to exhibit their products & Services and also share their ideas on how more of us, especially those unserved and underserved by the present financial systems, can be brought into the fold.

The 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative offers participants useful tools and an introduction to the industry’s emerging technologies, such as Mojaloop Open Source Software, and guidance from Level One Project foundational material. The skills gained from this initiative cover Level One Project Principles, Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), Inclusive Finance and FinTech in general.

HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya appreciated Jumo as one of the top FinTechs in the country changing millions of lives.

“It is very promising to hear that Jumo has disbursed over Shs 50bn in soft loans to both individuals and businesses. It shows an improving trend of use of digital financial services in the country,” he said.

Kawooya added that this year’s edition will cement the achievements of the previous editions – where over 60 FinTechs have been transformed – but also build on them to leverage digital financial inclusion in East Africa and beyond.

“As HiPipo, our extensive effort and advocacy is partly for the intention of championing digital innovation and interoperable instant and inclusive payment systems (IIPS) in Africa to a point where our innovators enjoy and achieve sound profit margins to help them keep designing and deploying affordable and inclusive financial services for the poor,” he said.

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