Protean eGov Technologies Limited (Protean) has joined hands with PayNearby, a branchless banking and digital network, to make credit services more accessible and affordable for Indians across the country leveraging the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).

This marketplace will be launched soon for last-mile borrowers and MSMEs. Once launched the marketplace will also allow for easy discovery of various lending products at affordable pricing to its borrowers.  

This initiative is expected to facilitate both individuals and businesses at the last mile with viable credit options.

In this partnership, Protean (previously NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure) will serve as an ONDC technology service provider that facilitates availability of credit for last-mile borrowers across the country through PayNearby’s Distribution-as-a-Service (DaaS) network. 

By making this service available through 12+ lakh active PayNearby outlets, the partnership aims to broad-base credit access for India and Bharat both and lay the foundation of a more inclusive society. 

Accelerating financial inclusion

Commenting on the alliance, Suresh Sethi, Managing Director and CEO, Proteansaid, “We firmly believe that consent-based data sharing through account aggregator will digitally empower the individuals with their own data. Towards that, we have partnered with PayNearby to leverage the account aggregator and ONDC network to further accelerate financial inclusion and enable credit access for individuals and businesses at the last mile. 

This partnership will enable seamless discovery of borrowers and lenders and help create a more inclusive financial system in India.”

Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “At PayNearby, we champion financial inclusion. However, true inclusion requires credit access at the last mile. Our integration with Protean through ONDC will revolutionise credit availability in Bharat”.

Ensuring credit extension

Smart data modelling and use of frameworks like account aggregator will ensure credit extension to thin-file/new-to-credit underserved citizens, driving breakthroughs in the way India and Bharat lends. 

Protean will also aggregate multiple loan service providers (LSPs) onto a single platform, thereby giving citizens and businesses the convenience of choice and affordability. 

India has a glaring inadequacy in capital access across all segments of the society. According to a TransUnion CIBIL research, the credit served population in the country in 2021 stood less than 22 per cent of the adult population. 

Despite significant advances in financial inclusion through the JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, and Mobile) trinity, formal credit access to rural and low-income households continues to be a challenge. 

Dependence of rural poor on money lenders continue and is more pronounced in the case of marginal farmers, landless labourers, MSMEs and economically backward classes.