WANT to get a loan to start or expand your business? You can now register your appliances and furniture on a new local website to use them as collateral.
Qcuun.com, which launched last Friday, allows users to upload serial numbers and photographs of their "movable assets" along with some personal identification, such as a tax registration number, which will populate the database that will enable banks and microlenders to be more informed about borrowers and better able to manage their risk with these collateral.
The idea is to allow lenders to verify what a potential borrower owns, and issue loans that are backed by a lien on items such as electronics and other commercial and household equipment.
In other words, borrowers who register their movable assets are demonstrating proof of ownership and a good track record of paying for items that have been taken out on hire purchase, making lenders more confident in their ability to repay a loan.
Up to now, most formal lending arrangements have relied on fixed assets, such as buildings and land, to secure the loans, in case debtors are unable to repay the debt.
Registration of movable assets also lets lenders know the true value of the items, which will guide the interest rates they charge, the size of the loan they issue, and the length of the repayment period.
"It will help the creditors to make quicker decisions, give better rates and bigger loans as they can tell the true value of the movable assets" said Enith Williams, a director at Merchant Security Registry Caribbean Limited — the operator of the website.
To make it work, retailers are being encouraged to register the serial number of items that have been sold making them able to track whether their items have been offered as collateral, sold or issued as a gift.
"In the possibility of a default, all the parties know where they stand and it will give full transparency for financial institutions and hire purchasers to reduce their risks," said Williams. "Because the site is protecting the interest of everyone involved, we expect to see a significant number of persons sign on."
Users can also locate and report missing items as another feature of the site.
The online registry is being launched ahead of the passing of a new security interests in personal property bill, which was tabled in Parliament in July and which aims to expand access to credit for the average Jamaican, by allowing them to use their movable assets including inventory, accounts receivables and even crops, for collateral.
"We are offering a service that we see is needed in the marketplace, and a system to provide the transparency to work with the legislation is already in place,"
Information used on the site is protected and the company will follow legislation as it regards the use of the information, she added.