First Citizens announced today, that it has acquired a 19.9% minority stake in the web-based credit institution Term Finance (Holdings) Limited
In a media release issued this afternoon, First Citizens said it began their banking relationship with Term Finance in 2015 when Term Finance disbursed its first loan through First Citizens’ online banking system in Trinidad & Tobago. Since then, Term Finance has processedover 38,000 loan applications without ever having to meet a customer face-to-face.
“In just five years, Term Finance expanded into Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and St. Lucia by leveraging their totally web-based platform and acquiring the various licenses required to support their operations in each market. Every application passes through the Trinidad-based Lending Team and all customer service and collections operations are centralized to their head office in Port of Spain.”
First Citizens said the acquisition opens the door for it to fully leverage its digital capability and suite of banking services through Term Finance to thousands of under-banked individual customers and small businesses across the region, without requiring any shop-front footprint. Similar strategies have been executed in recent years by US based banks who invest in FinTech start-ups to acquire technology and access younger and underserved segments of the banking market.
Term Finance’s suite of products include consumer credit (www.mytermfinance.com), small-business credit (www.sme.tt), eCommerce with product financing (www.mytfshop.com) and pre-paid MasterCard servicespowered by First Citizens (www.mytfcard.com).
The investment gives First Citizens a minority stake inTerm Finance Holdings Limited, which owns and operates subsidiaries involved in micro-lending businesses in Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and St. Lucia. The company has minority partners in Jamaica, St. Lucia and in the newly established small-business (SME)lending arm in Trinidad & Tobago.
First Citizens’ advisors on the deal were Pan American Finance, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fitzwilliam Stone Furness-Smith & Morgan (Trinidad and Tobago), FloissacFleming & Associates (St Lucia), Cameron & Shepherd(Jamaica), Chancery Chambers (Barbados) and Patterson Mair Hamilton (Jamaica).