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Santander UK teams up with US online lender

The bank joins forces with lending platform Kabbage.

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Santander UK – a subsidiary of BancoSantander, one of the world’s largest banking institutions – today announced a strategic partnership with Kabbage, a financial services data and technology platform in the US. The purpose of the agreement is to help the bank to accelerate its lending process for its SME customer base throughout the United Kingdom. The offer will be launched to a beta group of customers in April, and will be more widely available to qualifying Santander UK banking customers in the coming months.

Founded in 2011, Atlanta-based Kabbage provides fully automated funding to small businesses and consumers in just a few clicks. By linking to key data sources – including the likes of checking accounts, payments providers and transaction receipts – the platform is able to gain an accurate picture of the financial health of its customers and to help them to access funds in, potentially, a matter of a few minutes.

This is not the first time that Santader has closed a deal with a marketplace lending platform. Indeed, the bank partnered with Funding Circle in 2014, becoming the first high street bank to refer customers to a peer-to-peer lending platform. Today’s agreement is likely to further contribute to boosting the banks’ position in the small business lending area.

“With SMEs comprising 99 per cent of the UK private sector, having fast and secure access to funds would ensure they can continue to make an important contribution to the UK economy,” argued Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK, according to the FT.“Our collaboration with Kabbage aims to provide UK businesses with the ability to draw down funds as and when required, whether this be covering a short-term funding need or enabling them to seize growth opportunities as they arise.”

Just as this isn’t the first partnership for Santander with an online lender, neither it is for Kabbage with a bank. Indeed, the platform began licensing its lending platform directly to financial institutions last October, when it forged a strategic partnership with ING to allow Spanish small businesses to access capital. ING was reported as being the first global bank to have teamed up with Kabbage. Today’s announcement marks the second alliance between the platform and a top global bank in the past six months.

In a note on Kabbage’s blog, we read:

“We’re excited for future developments of this collaborative endeavor, particularly as we continue to invest in our Platform technology, and work with other key partners like Santander UK to deliver fintech innovation worldwide”

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