While investors flock to newly listed Chinese microlenders, there are renewed concerns that default risks of these short-term unsecured cash loans might be higher than the lenders think. Industry executives said most microloan borrowers roll over or add to previous debts with new loans from another lender, snowballing their debts, along with their risk of default. Also, a lack of an industrywide database that tracks and shares the credit information of borrowers also keeps lenders in the dark, these executives said. More than 80% of microloan borrowers have at least one unpaid loan at the time when they apply for a short-term unsecured loan from another lender, according to data compiled by Intellicredit Inc. Some microlenders told Caixin that 90% of their clients are borrowing from more than two lending platforms at the same time. A risk-control manager from a microlender said that bad debts could be significantly underestimated.
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