Historically a lending institution would need to evaluate their customer’s credit worthiness before giving a loan. This can be a somewhat difficult proposition when one does not have a bank account, gets paid daily wages or does not have a stable employment. A bank or a similar entity might short circuit those credentials by asking the hopeful customer to bring someone trusted, who in proxy, could provide such credentials. However, in reality, the chances of a fisherman from a fishing community, being close to someone who has such credentials are extremely low.
Rukula accepts this and NEVER asks for a third person or community guarantee. We believe that our customers need to stand on their own, educating them towards better financial discipline.
Traditional loan documentation and processes are at best cumbersome and at worst incomprehensible to the customer. The use of banking jargon and ‘legalese’ confuse these types of customers. Rukula’s approach has been to simplify the process.
We only require our customers to sign a single paged agreement in their mother tongue. Upon signing the legal agreement and settling the first installment which can be little as Rs. 600, customers are free to take full ownership of the product.
A traditional finance institution using an interest-based model always has the ‘interest-clock” ticking – meaning in times of non-payment, the customer’s outstandings to the institution increase.
Given we know that majority of these customers will default at sometime or another – is this fair? Just imagine, that a customer loses his job, misses his payment and then next month he is still unable to find employment. He now owes more to the institution than before – yet the institution hasn’t provided any more services. This is never conducive to getting the customer to pay.
The Rukula model is a fixed-fee model. No matter when the customer makes his / her payments, the total amount is always the same.
Rukula’s fixed fee for credit means a customer always knows exactly what he will pay over time
Rukula understands that sometimes customers want things that they just can’t afford. And whilst we really want to help them, we have to draw a line in the sand for their own benefit. Be it, rejecting a customer upfront or reducing what they can repay each month, we believe that prevention is better than the cure.
Our assessment of a customer is intrinsically linked to their family circumstances which dictates the customer’s ability to deal with their financial problems efficiently. Our evaluation of potential customers to be granted support is through the use of a proprietary algorithm which utilizes different attributes in order to calculate their ‘’stability”. Counter-intuitively the scoring never factors their income level.
We insist that no customer pays Rukula more than 10% of their income per month, no matter how much they might want to reduce the number of payments. We also use bench-marked incomes for those cash-based employments that do not have proof of income. Consequently even good customers who pay on time cannot increase their credit limits (as traditional credit card companies work) but rather are rewarded through lower service fees and longer repayment times.
Rukula starts with two key assumptions that (a) everyone will want to repay and (b) all customers will have multiple financial crises to deal with.