• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Fintech bets on AI to improve loan offerings

‘Nigerians most trusting of generative AI tools’

Carbon has announced the acquisition of Vella Finance and aims to leverage the fintech’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered transaction analysis to serve its business customers better.

Carbon noted that the acquisition, whose exact amount remains undisclosed, will help it empower small and medium-sized enterprises with advanced, accessible financial services while leveraging artificial intelligence to aid precision.

The two firms announced the deal’s completion in a statement on Wednesday. Vella Finance was acquired through Carbon’s parent company, One Credit Limited, and the deal will see the launch of an AI-powered business banking platform.

Commenting on the deal, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vella Finance, Mark Afolabi, said, “This is exciting news for businesses, and we are thrilled to join forces with Carbon. These are trying times for businesses in Nigeria, and by joining forces, we can provide businesses with a platform that provides AI-driven insights into their transactions, low-cost, accessible loans, and the power of AI models built into the platform to help with any business challenge.”

On his X handle, Afolabi added, “While Vella, as you know it, may be changing, our commitment to empowering SMEs remains stronger than ever. As Carbon Business, we’ll reach even more entrepreneurs and offer them the financial tools and resources they need to thrive.”

The co-founder of Carbon, Chijioke Dozie, said, “Carbon spearheaded the consumer finance revolution in Nigeria in 2016. Our goal was to give consumers unprecedented access to finance from their mobile devices. Since then, we have provided some loans to SMEs but not in a manner that meets our standards or the customers’ expectations.

“We have known the Vella Finance team for some time and admired their innovation and understanding of market needs. We saw in them the same innovative and pioneering spirit that ignited Carbon. They had built an SME platform that we believe is unrivalled in the market, and given our aspirations, the deal was a no-brainer.”

AI continues to revolutionise every aspect of service delivery. Recently, a report titled ‘The Future of Fintech in Africa 2023,’ by Kora and Finextra, revealed that Nigeria’s fintech industry can leverage AI to drive financial inclusion, increase efficiency, and improve the consumer experience.

It noted that certain aspects of banking, such as customer behaviour analysis, were already being aided by AI.