The digital lending market is exploding with growing apps and fintechs. As per a report IIFL FinTech, the digital lending market is expected to grow to a whopping USD 515 billion by 2030. Lending services are no longer about hard-copy documentation. The lending process has moved far beyond becoming completely digital. From recording queries and customer financial details to credit underwriting and loan disbursal, the process is increasingly becoming online.
The online lending process saves time and effort for customers from physically visiting the bank branches to either sign the documents or verify their identity. Digital lending platforms have reduced foot traffic in branch offices, increasing the dependencies on digital applications, which leads to frequent updates and changes in digital applications. These regular updates require continuous monitoring to create a secure, scalable, and efficient digital lending application.
Why gradually industry shifted towards digital lending from traditional processes?
The traditional lending process was inefficient, filled with errors, and time-consuming. It involved managing hard copies of required documentation, frequent bank visits, and prolonged verification of borrowers’ loan profile, credibility and repayment history. The issues were further amplified if the borrower did not meet the eligibility criteria and underwriting based on their past credit history. Securing loans from the banks remained a matter of speculation for the borrowers. This is where digital lending came into the picture and steadily captured the market.
The current scenario of digital lending
Factors like unlimited access to the internet at an affordable price, smartphones penetrating the market, and applications and software available for loan applications facilitate digital lending. Digital lending in India is expected to touch $350 billion by the end of 2023.
A report states 36 RBI Approved Loan Apps. These names are independent of banks that already offer lending services at a reasonable interest rate. The lending app comes with instant approval and disbursal within 24 hours, which is extremely convenient for borrowers seeking small and medium-sized loan amounts in case of emergency.
But how the lengthy traditional lending processes become so convenient?
The bank lending apps can access the customer data stored in their in-house server and system. However, the fintech organizations procure this information from various sources like banks and third parties through the Application Programming Interface or APIs.
The fintech applications have to obtain the data from diverse sources. To maintain the turn-around-time and live up to their service reputation, they must send the request data access from multiple sources like credit bureaus for borrower past credit history, link to the bank server for bank account verification and auto debit facility, and more to access borrowers’ details.
The lending process through these applications can be extremely critical if the essential quality checks are not done. There can be rising security concerns, performance & functionality errors, delayed access to customer credit history and a cluttered user interface. Let’s look at the complications or bottlenecks in digital lending applications and what problem it may lead to if remains unresolved.
- Security and privacy – Customer data is the most sensitive. Digital lending applications procure customer data directly from the bank server and from a third-party vendor. These transactions can be highly sensitive, and if attacked by malicious malware, they can lead to terrible issues if unresolved. It is crucial to ensure robust security measures and compliance with data privacy regulations.
- Data protection from risk and fraud – Understanding the current trend of digital lending platforms protecting customer data from risk and fraud is essential but challenging too. Protecting the sensitive credit details of customers are a complex process if the fintechs do not have adequate mechanism to analyze user behaviour and identify the potential risk.
- Scalability – As the number of users and loan applications grows, the application needs to scale efficiently to handle increased traffic and processing demands. Inadequate scalability can lead to slow response times and system crashes during peak usage times.
- Migration from Legacy systems – As per a report, over two-thirds of organizations are still using and relying on legacy systems. Legacy systems are non-adaptable and inflexible. They are not compatible with digital lending platforms. Integrating the digital lending platform with the legacy platform can be challenging and may require extensive effort and expert resources. And yet enterprises cannot abandon the legacy platform as they have been running for more than 30 years with an estimated over £2 trillion transactions every day.
- Integration with the main banking server – This brings us to the next bottleneck. It is a significant effort to integrate the digital lending platform with banks’ legacy platform. Moreover, the legacy systems are not equipped to manage the integration with the digital platform. They also cannot offer innovative offerings like banking-as-a-service (BaaS) as it does not support application programming interfaces (API) integration with third-party services. However, since the upgradation of these legacy systems is time-consuming, banks resist the changes leading it as a bottleneck in the digital transformation process.
- Regulatory compliance – Digital lending applications must be compliant with financial regulations. Frequent regulatory changes also demand financial institutions keep up with the changes and update their applications. With frequent changes in features and functionalities, keeping up with regulatory compliance can be complex.
- Data transactions – The digital lending platform pulls large amounts of user data from the main banking systems. It requires robust infrastructure and seamless data integration & management systems to eliminate bottlenecks and ensure smooth operations.
- Customer satisfaction – Customers require a fast loan approval and disbursement cycle. Hence, to ensure optimum customer satisfaction, lending institutions validate application workflow that expedites the decision-making process, minimizes delay and conforms to user experience. Also, recurring functionality, performance, and security errors can cause potential application issues that damage the brand’s reputation.
- Verification of data quality – Digital lending does not pull irrelevant data. They pull only required customer information. Banking systems may store multiple data but not all data are accurate and useful for digital lending platforms. Choosing the relevant data helps fintechs arrive at an informed essential lending decision. However, verifying the data quality can be complex due to the unavailability of relevant and accurate data.
- Mobile responsiveness – The current trend in digital applications demands high mobile responsiveness. The process can be extremely complex in the absence of a mobile responsiveness platform. Hence, the digital lending platform requires extensive validation to ensure that the platform continues to deliver high-quality services and offer optimized user experience.
Digital lending apps became prominent during the pandemic, and customers are embracing it, because of fast approval and disbursal. But the credit quality remains under the scanner.
How reliable is the credit quality in digital lending applications?
A long-standing business lending process is more effective with manual review, cross-verification, and years of root-cause analysis of defaults and assessments compared to digital platforms. The former could be time-consuming, but it helps to achieve the desired risk outcome. It also helps the banks achieve low default rates.
However, the industry cannot avoid the trend of digital adoption. To adapt to the model, financial institutions have found a middle ground to amalgamate the digital model with the accuracy of data-driven model-based decision-making. As digital lending continues to improve, risk managers can take a calculated approach towards automation.
How can we improve the credit quality of digital lending apps?
Banks are testing the automated digital engine based on data-driven assessments and a structured credit framework to assess credit quality based on predictive default risk. As a result, the decision will be more consistent, accurate, fast and cost-effective.
Is quality assurance and testing essential to ensure the credit quality of digital lending apps? Can quality assurance and testing ensure the credit quality of digital lending apps?
Digital lending apps or fintechs pull data from the banks’ main servers. They also coordinate with TSPs like credit bureaus, collections and more. They handle critical transactions 24/7*365 days and customer details, making QA strategy an essential step. QA and testing confirm that the application and platforms are free from defects and errors before production and market launch. It also must offer outstanding client experience with high-quality mobile apps. Quality assurance and testing helps lenders to improve the credit quality of digital lending application.
Some factors are important here to ensure the credit quality of digital lending applications. API functionality and performance, digital application features and timely response of digital apps.
Though digital lending applications require end-to-end test coverage, including functional testing, reliability testing, validation testing, load testing, UI Testing, Security Testing, Penetration Testing and more, there is one more crucial aspect when it comes to validating digital lending applications.
Our understanding from the projects we have handled is that these applications have a few restrictions and limitations. We have also observed a reliability on API functionality and performance if digital lending platforms have to function without any technical glitches.
As high as the dependency on API, the risk with digital lending keeps increasing. API testing is conducted on Encrypted and Unencrypted APIs, multiple encryption levels and data formats, API tunnelling, instability/availability, handling many security protocols, and more.
We offer manual and automated API testing, validating requests and responses at various API layers. We also validate the accessibility of the API level and check the functionality, reliability, performance, and security of the programming interfaces.
Our intuitive robotic test automation solution, Tenjin, is a functional test automation solution. It is a seamless & effective test automation tool for BA and functional testers. Tenjin Test Automation solution is REST and SOAP API ready. Its features like auto-learn, auto-discover and auto-execute help to learn application interface automatically
We support financial institutions with end-to-end testing of their digital lending platforms.
Both banks and fintechs have brought their lending processes to digital platforms for quick approval and disbursal. It allows the borrower to avail loans in case of an emergency. But like all other platforms, digital lending apps require thorough testing to ensure higher customer satisfaction with lower TAT and improved credit quality. This is where Yethi’s domain expertise and industry come into the picture. We have delivered over 500+ projects for over 130 clients across 30+ countries in various LOBs in banks and financial institutions.