The British fintech company wants to continue selling loans in Poland, but it will do so from London
The Polish non-bank individual loan market has been in full bloom for a while now. The situation is slightly different when it comes to business loans, especially in the case of self-employed small business owners. Specialists in the field underline that it is difficult to build a large-scale business on small business lending because such entrepreneurs often apply for loans as private individuals. This is why not many companies focus on business customers.
The British fintech iwoca is one of them. It has been selling loans in Poland since the spring of 2016, if I recall well, and last year it opened an office in Warsaw that dealt with telephone sales, brokerage and debt recovery. However, I found out that the office is being closed, which was confirmed by Mariusz Zabrocki, iwoca's managing director for Poland.
Zabrocki has told me that the decision to close the Warsaw office does not mean that the company is leaving Poland entirely. - We are not just continuing our operations in Poland, we are investing in widening our scale here. Credit decisions, risk model building, marketing, customer relations, IT and accounting have always been done in London, so not much is changing here - he said.
He added that the main reason for closing the Warsaw team was iwoca's global strategy that centers around the automation of operational processes. - The phone sales team did not bring us the results we were expecting when it came to an increase in conversions compared to automated processes, and as such it was distracting managers from the key aspects of our business. If a customer can apply for a loan and receive the money in a matter of several clicks, they will most likely not need phone support - he said.
That's it for the official part. Unofficially the British fintech company's decision is talked about in the context of the importance of good risk management on the loan market. This might be difficult to do from afar - for example from London, which is what iwoca has been doing. This was the reason for changing its business model in Poland. Iwoca's case might also show that the life of a fintech company in Poland is no bed of roses.