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Newedge loan company

28.08.2023 Featured INSIDER: How Palmcredit’s Telesales Agents Apply for Loans in Customers’ Names Without Permission

Published 28th Aug, 2023

By Opeyemi Lawal

Following FIJ’s undercover investigation on how Newedge Finance Limited used defamation as a tool to recover loans from its customers, more revelations have emerged on how the company’s telesales department forced loans on customers.

An ex-employee of Newedge who worked in the telesales department until recently told FIJ that telesales agents, in a bid to meet their conversion targets, went to the extreme.

“At Newedge, we have two types of loans — the Nano loan which is for Palmcredit and the VIP loan for EasyBuy,” the ex-employee said.

“Daily, contacts of 300 potential customers are assigned to us and we are expected to call 120 out of them while we must convince 20 of them to take our loans.

“But this conversion target is usually hard to meet because people do not like to take loans from Palmcredit because of our collection department.

“The collection department is notorious for their dehumanising recovery methods. Even before the due date, they would begin to harass and threaten you.

READ ALSO: UNDERCOVER: One Week as a Staff of Palmcredit, a Loan Company Where I Learnt the Art of Defamation

“This makes our conversion targets difficult to meet and we have to improvise.”

THE COMPANY CREDITS CUSTOMERS WITHOUT AUTHORISATION

The ex-employee further told FIJ that, even after debtors must have cleared their loans, the company recycled their contacts back to the telesales department where they were convinced to make another loan application.

“Most times after customers must have cleared their loans and they believe they are off the hook, their numbers are sent to us to convince them to apply for another Palmcredit loan,” the ex-employee said.

“Their numbers are recycled to us because 20 conversions a day is not possible without going the extra mile.

“Sometimes, it is the company that applies for these loans on behalf of the customers and then credit them without their consent. This often happens every day and we are usually happy about it because it is part of our conversion target.”

This former Newedge worker told FIJ that the company crediting customers without their consent usually happened when the debtor was attempting to repay a loan.

“The company crediting customers without authorisation happens every time. Out of the 120 customers you will call, at least one person would tell you they just repaid their loan this morning and they have surprisingly being credited again,” they said.

“But that is the customer’s business. The unauthorised loan has to be repaid.

“How it happens is that, if a customer has a running loan and is about to pay back, there is a box aside from the ‘repay only’ (that we agents do not usually see on the loan app) that the debtor will have to click.

“If the debtor does not click on this box and only go ahead to repay, they will be credited with another loan immediately.

“Only customers who are used to this app know about this box and click it at the point of repayment. What is funnier is that, a customer might have been credited for up to six hours without even knowing it.

“This is usually not the customer’s fault but the company’s. This is because any loan that has gone more than 24 hours must be repaid with interest. What we tell the customer is that, what has happened has happened and they should look for a way to make repayment.”

‘WE LOGIN TO CUSTOMER’S DASHBOARDS AND APPLY FOR LOANS TO MEET TARGETS’

Besides Newedge disbursing unauthorised loans to customers, this insider told FIJ that Palmcredit agents logged in to customers’ dashboards in order to meet their targets.

“At Newedge, if we don’t meet our conversion targets, we risk a query and termination of appointment. To ensure that this never happens, we employ every tactic we know,” they said.

“When we call a customer and the person says he is not interested in the loan, we persuade him to give us his WhatsApp number. From there, we begin to sweet talk the customer and ask that we help him register.

“After the registration, we help him set the pin and then apply on their behalf. Immediately we make this application, we log off from the customer’s dashboard and move to the next one.

“The company knows about it, they are fully aware of this but their crazy targets won’t let them say anything.”

FIJ asked the former telesales agent above how Newedge got the contacts of new customers since the existing ones were usually recycled.

The former customer support agent said, “We place unsolicited calls to customers, calls they do not expect. We also go as far as partnering with telecommunications agencies to get contacts of new potential customers.

“They just pack people’s numbers and give them to us and the customer will be there wondering how we got their contact.

“You could just be in your house and receive a call saying, “My name is XXX, I am a customer support agent from Palmcredit. Is this XYZ? I am calling to inform you that you can apply for a loan, minimum N2,000 and maximum of N200,000 on Palmcredit with an interest rate as low as 8%”.

“It is easy to get their names because that comes with the package from the telecommunications companies.

“If the customer is an existing customer, we would say, “I want to appreciate you for your good repayment record on Palmcredit and let you know that your credit limit has been increased”.”

They added that, in order to convince the customer, Newedge workers also lied to customers about non-existent coupons which they claimed helped give customers discounts.

“The coupon is not real. It is only a bait to cajole the customer.”

READ ALSO: UNDERCOVER: Inside Rock Financials, a Madhouse Worse than Palmcredit, Where I Recovered Loans With ‘Tears’

The former loan company staff said that another unprofessional things they did besides lying to customers was calling them late into the evening just to meet targets.

“The company makes us call customers to take loans as late as 11 pm. We are not happy doing this but we must not fall behind on our 120 target calls daily,” the former employee told FIJ.

“We would complain during the day about not being able to make calls but nothing will be done to it.

“Now they have muted us all from talking because of the last story from FIJ.

“Meanwhile, rather than subject us to undue pressure, what they should do is review their operational methods and interest rates. You will repay N88,000 for a loan of N60,000.

“The EasyBuy cash loan which is the VIP loan is even crazier. The issue of agents applying for loans on behalf of the customer is more common here because the target of that team is enormous.

“They will tell you to have five conversions in a day but even after 24 hours, you are still on zero conversion. People usually run from them because of the interest rate but so also do we go after them with chronic means.”

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Published 28th Aug, 2023

By Opeyemi Lawal

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