Laos fintech gives village banks, financial inclusion a timely boost
Euromoney, is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024
Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Laos fintech gives village banks, financial inclusion a timely boost

A village bank in Laos using LTS’ microfinance platform ‘Lan Xang Banker’

Three years ago, LTS Ventures was tasked with building a simple microfinance platform for Laos’s army of village banks and savings unions. It took off like a rocket, boosting financial inclusion, cutting fraud. Now the firm is eyeing fresh external funding and expansion across southeast Asia.

When Tim Scheffmann co-founded Laos-based LTS Ventures three years ago, he had a goal that continues to elude many well-meaning policymakers across large swathes of southeast Asia: to drag financially excluded citizens into the formal banking system.

“My main motivation was and is to financially include people,” the chief executive of the Vientiane-based fintech tells Euromoney. “I have been in the region for 10 years. I created a mobile-money startup in Myanmar and a blockchain-based remittance company based in Bangkok. Then this comes along.”

Our customers are from rural areas, so if a system is over-sophisticated, it won’t work in any meaningful way
Tim Scheffmann, LTS Ventures

‘This’ was a contract awarded by German development agency GIZ in 2019, to build a simple and reliable platform it could place atop any of the country’s 6,000-plus village banks and 122 microfinance institutions (MFIs), plus countless domestic savings and credit unions, to help them reduce risk and cut fraud.

With his Laotian co-founders – managing director Lattana Keosihavong and chief operating officer Sonesak Sehavong – Scheffmann created ‘Lan Xang Banker’, named after the old name for the country, which means ‘a million elephants’.

A shared microfinance platform that works online and offline, Lan Xang’s blockchain-like technology automatically synchronises records between central servers and laptops operated on the move by staff, giving more than 225,000 villagers better access to finance.



Elliot Wilson headshot.jpg
Asia editor and Global Private Banking and Wealth Management editor
Elliot Wilson is Asia editor and Global Private Banking and Wealth Management editor. He joined the magazine in 2020 having been a regular contributor focusing on China and the Indian subcontinent, Russia and Eastern Europe/the CIS. He is based in Hong Kong.
Gift this article