FinTechs launch SME lending taskforce

A taskforce of UK FinTechs and industry experts has come together to deploy loans of over £500,000 to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with their need for funding through the Coronavirus crisis.

FinTechs including digital lending platform Trade Ledger, digital SME credit scoring platform Wiserfunding, trade credit insurance provider Nimbla, and client onaboarding platform NorthRow, have formed a business lending taskforce and are inviting lenders to engage in the fully-virtual lending operation.

The plan is to use the collective technology platforms and expertise to allow banks, alternative lenders and private investors deploy loans of over £500,000 to help keep businesses afloat.

The sudden impact in customer demand since the Coronavirus outbreak has left SMEs in chronic need of credit to manage their ongoing costs, with economists predicting a global recession over the coming months.

However, even before the crisis, SMEs were struggling to access enough credit with over £59 billion in un-met lending needs, according to the taskforce.

A statement released by the group said its aim was to put a turn-key lending platform, including risk assessment, Know Your Customer and insurance capabilities, at the disposal of the industry to help alleviate the crisis and expedite the allocation of funding.

The platform, which would digitally originate and underwrite lending to SMEs, could be used by individual lenders or, it is hoped, would form the basis of a consortium that would intermediate between multiple lenders - including private funds, such as the British Business Bank - and the multitude of SMEs seeking lending.

The platform will be able to support any type of term loans, invoice finance and asset finance and aims to help lenders to deploy funds within days as opposed to weeks.

Martin McCann, chief executive at Trade Ledger, stated: “With the COVID-19 outbreak putting immense financial pressure on global supply chains, now more than ever, SMEs need reliable cash flow if they are to stay in business.

"On average, it takes around 90 days for lenders in this sector to onboard new customers and establish new credit lines - the government’s capital injection is a massive boost to an underserved market at an extreme time of need, but its impact will be lost if lenders aren’t able to get these loans to their customers quickly.”

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