MANILA – First Circle, a Philippine-based firm that provides financing to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), was named as one of the inclusive startups globally in the 2020 Cohort Inclusive Fintech 50.

Of the 403 financial technology (fintech) firms from 111 countries, the 50 winners were recognized for their impact on unserved and underserved businesses and individuals even before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Inclusive Fintech 50, founded by MetLife Foundation and Visa, included First Circle in the top 50 list as it provides financing to customers with no credit data or fixed collateral that are excluded from the banking sector.

“With First Circle, these SMEs can secure finance in as little as one day through a digital and automated process that delivers flexible loan terms tailored to their unique needs,” the 2020 Inclusive Fintech 50 noted.

This has prevented small-scale businesses to borrow loans from predatory lenders, it added.

“We recognize the unbounded potential of small and medium businesses in the Philippines and take a very long-term view. Certainly, many SMEs are under great threat during this most challenging pandemic period,” First Circle chief executive officer Patrick Lynch said in a statement.

First Circle was launched in 2016 offering financial products and services particularly for unbanked adults and MSMEs that need access to affordable financing to sustain and grow their businesses.

In 2018, the firm partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry as it extended a PHP1.5-billion loan program that was made available in Negosyo Centers nationwide. (PNA)