Uberima, a FinTech company set up as a for-profit Social Enterprise, intends to transform how consumers are served by the financial services industry.
Uberima's first objective is to revolutionise the broken short-term and payday loan industry, by having a Social Purpose to "…provide affordable credit and other financial services to individuals who are excluded from, or underserved by, mainstream credit and financial services markets."
Uberima is supported by an Advisory Board which includes:
- Christine Allison, a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings.
- Francis McGee, the Director of External Affairs at StepChange, the leading debt charity.
- Helen White, the Head of Financial Capability and Strategic Alliances at Money Advice Service, the independent and free money advice service set up by government.
- Alex Burghart, the Director of Policy at the Centre for Social Justice, a leading think tank which has published several reports on problem consumer debt, financial inclusion and how FinTech can be used to help in these areas.
Christine Allison, a former economist from the World Bank and a member of the Archbishop's Task Group says: "I have been following the Uberima journey for some time now. The industry is in need of greater competition and firms that put consumers first and I am delighted to support Uberima in their efforts to provide it."
Solving a failed market
The true demand for online short-term and payday loans is estimated to be as high as £10 billion a year*. For the underserved and overcharged, there remains a huge gap between the great work done at a local level by credit unions on the one hand and the major online lenders (such as Wonga, Satsuma, QuickQuid etc.) on the other. The mainstream financial services industry, including High Street banks, has failed to develop any form of alternative for these consumers.
Uberima has solved this problem by building what the rest of the financial services industry could not; an FCA approved business, supported by the very latest in FinTech and RegTech, which has been designed to put the interests of its customers first.
Ged O’Neill, Uberima's CEO, says: "In deliberately choosing a really difficult problem to solve, we want to demonstrate our values, our technology platform and our financial capabilities. Most importantly, we want to build consumer trust by providing a great online service and by behaving in the right way."
Giles Harridge, Uberima's co-founder, added: "We have developed a loan product which empowers our customers, giving them more control than any other lender. It is also costs less, being up to 40% cheaper than all of the recognised online lenders."
Uberima has built an entirely new platform using all of the latest Cloud technologies. Uberima believes it has developed the best Know Your Customer capabilities of any online credit provider in the UK, and has used its unique insight into credit data to develop its own proprietary credit and affordability checks. Uberima's new loan product is a FinTech innovation and it has also developed a next generation RegTech capability.
Uberima has also partnered with Sheffield Money, a community interest company, set up by Sheffield City Council, which aims to provide affordable credit to local residents. Uberima challenges industry convention with a totally different business model and great technology so that customers are put first.
Rob Shearing, the CEO of Sheffield Money says: "We were attracted to Uberima as we have shared values and we think they are well-positioned to disrupt the short-term loan industry at scale."
O’Neill concludes: "Uberima is a genuine challenger brand in the sector. We believe we will make a big impact as borrowers switch to us for a better, more flexible product, that costs less, delivered by a business that is committed to doing the right thing. We are fully authorised by the FCA and in the process of raising additional capital to support our ambitious growth plans, which include offering new products and services."