Jay P Gupta
Appointment of respected macroeconomics expert is intended to support company vision of providing financing access to all deserving SMEs and creating a strong digital finance ecosystem in Southeast Asia
Renowned economist and member of the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development Dr. Muhamad Chatib Basri has been appointed as Company Advisor of Funding Societies, the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in Southeast Asia.
“Dr. Basri’s expertise and experience in macroeconomics and the regulatory field will serve as valuable support towards Funding Societies’ vision: to provide working capital access to every deserving and creditworthy small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Southeast Asia,” a company release said.
Prior to becoming a member of the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development, Dr. Basri served as Indonesia’s 28th Minister of Finance and was a member of the Asia Pacific Regional Advisory Group of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Additionally, he was an Ash Centre Senior Fellow at Harvard University (2015 – 2016) and a National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Professor of International Economic Relations at Nanyang Technological University (2016).
As an economist, Dr. Basri is an expert on the fields of macroeconomics, international trade, and political economy. His economic focus is in line with Funding Societies’ company motto “Stronger SMEs, Stronger Societies”, where Dr. Basri’s insights on macroeconomics and its many variables will better equip the company to prepare for financial changes and empowers small businesses to propel the economy.
Funding Societies connects local, creditworthy SMEs with investors (both individual and institutional) through a digital marketplace, thus increasing access to financing for the SME sector. SMEs can apply for up to SGD 1.5 million in unsecured business loans and SGD 3 million in secured business loans from Funding Societies’ loan products and cash flow solutions. Since its establishment, Funding Societies has crowdfunded more than SGD 220 million across more than 8,500 SME loans.
SMEs in the Southeast Asian region utilize working capital loans from Funding Societies for business growth and expansion. On a macro scale, empowering promising SMEs, a segment that often encounters challenges in accessing credit, strengthens local economies as they will contribute more towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Dr. Muhamad Chatib Basri said, “The P2P lending industry opens working capital access to SMEs previously underserved by existing financial institutions. Alternative finance platforms like Funding Societies have great potential to drive economic growth and development in Southeast Asia. In the future, I believe synergy between the P2P lending sector and existing financial institutions will create a powerful digital finance ecosystem. By collaborating with Funding Societies, I want to help create positive contributions in the field of financial technology to support economic inclusion and grow a prosperous society in Southeast Asia.”
Funding Societies Co-founder and CEO Kelvin Teo said, “Dr. Basri has been extremely supportive of our vision since day one. We’re honoured to have him officially on board as our advisor, together with other veterans in finance and risk management. His vote of confidence affirms our goal of creating a Southeast Asian society that embraces financial inclusion.”
Founded in early 2015, Funding Societies is a licensed digital lending platform that connects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with retail and institutional lenders. It has achieved numerous milestones in a short span of time, including USD 25 million Series B funding round led by SoftBank Ventures Korea and supported by Sequoia India, Alpha JWC Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures.