Term Finance Holdings has won the 2020 Business Technology award in the Champions of Business awards ceremony.
At the start of 2015, Oliver Sagba founded Term Finance Holdings Limited, a web-based credit and loans operation based in Port-of-Spain, with just two people—himself and another employee. Nearly five years later, Term Finance has a staff count of 15.
Eleven are in Trinidad and four are country managers based in Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Barbados.
Nick Farah, who specialised in modern banking technologies at RBC in both Canada and Trinidad, joined the team the following year as Regional Manager, in what was a significant capture for Sabga’s startup.
On November 15, Sabga and Farah won the coveted bmobile Business Technology Award at the TT Chamber’s Champions of Business Awards.
Term Finance’s growth and success are down to their hard work and ingenuity, but they credit bmobile’s architecture and framework as contributing hugely to both. The team manages TT$60m a year in loans, and it achieves on behalf of its clients a strike rate of 80%. Those are impressive numbers, especially since they run a 100% virtual operation.
There is no shop front, no walk-in office. It has never had a face to face meeting with a single customer.
“In any given month we’re disbursing over a thousand loans,” Sabga says. “If you actually trace what is required operationally to handle a thousand customers face to face through a shop front every month, we wouldn’t be able to do that with 15 employees.”
Term Finance was one of three finalists for the award. The others were Caribbean Airlines, which has completely revamped its operations digitally, and Vibrant Technology Solutions Limited, specialists in ICT project management and ICT services.
No one at the company had a hand in picking the winner, but bmobile was the technological backbone of all the operations.
Ian Galt, TSTT’s General Manager Enterprise Services, was full of praise for all the companies for the major strides they took in integrating technology into their operations and accepting the responsibility of being the architects of the future. He commended the gutsiness of Term Finance.
“You could argue that banks already had an online presence, but in Oliver’s case, he literally created a business. Using technology, he said, ‘I’m going to go for it’”.
Research shows that within the next five years or so, every company will in some way be—at least in part—a software or tech company, as most businesses go through the process of digitisation. This goes hand-in-hand with a recent report by the International Data Corporation which suggests that by 2022, 60% of global GDP will come from digital organisations.
T&T is very well connected and well-placed, Galt adds.
“We have a very high mobile penetration, good broadband connection and a large fibre footprint. Our bang for buck is excellent as a country”, Galt declared.
“You can have 30 minutes with a customer face to face, but I can guarantee that we know a whole lot more about that customer than you can get face to face” Sabga says.
“Technology has enabled that.”