Financiera Provensa, a finance company in Bogota, Colombia, has launched an automated consumer lending program that enables its customers to secure loans by telephone.

The loans by phone are one of a handful of products and services being offered by Financiera Provensa since it installed Fiserv Inc.'s International Comprehensive Banking Software over the summer.

Using an IBM AS/400 hardware platform, Milwaukee-based Fiserv is providing Financiera Provensa with capabilities for tracking customer relationships, including deposit and loan accounting, financial accounting, and general ledger and reporting functions.

Tailored to the Market

According to Rajuv Shivdansani, the president of Fiserv's Comprehensive Banking System division, Financiera Provensa uses the software to help cater to the Columbians whose borrowing needs range from $300 to $2,500.

The customer simply calls in his application, which is electronically transmitted to a credit bureau during the phone call.

Within seven to 10 minutes, the Financiera Provensa representative is able to notify the borrower of approval pending income verification.

According to Juan Diego Martinez, Financiera Provensa's general manager, most Columbia banks don't have the technology in place to speedily process consumer credit applications, and most loan approvals now take two or more weeks.

"Because this new loan program is based on fast turn-around and high volume, the success of our new program is hinged on technology," Mr. Martinez said.

He estimates that Financiera Provensa will serve 7,000 customers in the first year and as many as 100,000 within seven year.

Ms. Sullivan is a freelance writer based in New York.

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