“True integration” between Borrowell and major Canadian bank

By Ryan Weeks on Friday 28 October 2016

Alternative Lending

Canadian bank CIBC partners with marketplace lender Borrowell on consumer loan offering.

CIBC, one of Canada’s big five banks, with around 11 million customers, has partnered with Borrowell to offer “one click” online lending to clients. The partnership will allow CIBC to make use of Borrowell’s underwriting process and technology platform in order to speed up credit assessment for its existing client base. Successful applicants can expect funds to arrive in their CIBC account within one business day.

Borrowell boss Andrew Graham (pictured above) described the partnership as a “true integration”. CIBC customers will apply for the loan through the bank as a co-branded product, and will then be transported to the Borrowell platform, taking all relevant application data with them. Once underwritten, the loans themselves are funded using CIBC’s balance sheet.

The tie-up is part of a general drive by CIBC to incorporate cutting-edge fintech products into its offering. The bank joined forces with long-standing fintech lender Thinking Capital in December of last year in order to sharpen its small business lending activities. It also recently expanded its Global Money Transfer service, which allows clients to send international remittances with no up-front transfer fees.

"Our partnership with Borrowell is based on our shared view that the process for borrowing money for personal banking clients could be improved in the digital age, while retaining all of the prudent risk management criteria you would expect from a major bank," said David Williamson, group head of retail and business banking at CIBC.

The partnership is being called a “first”, in so much as it represents the first time that a major Canadian bank has been able to deliver a wholly digital borrowing experience to clients. "By leveraging innovative technology, we are taking a process that is often viewed as slow and cumbersome for clients and making it much faster and more convenient,” said Williamson.

Though difficult to put beyond all doubt, the Borrowell integration may well represent the first time that any major bank anywhere has employed a marketplace lending platform to offer consumer loans to its client base.

In the first instance, the Borrowell powered loans will only be made available to a select group of CIBC clients. Plans to extend the initiative will depend on customer feedback during this initial phase. Personal loans of up to $35k will be made available through the scheme, and CIBC clients will be able to securely upload documents online for verification when applying. 

"Canadians expect technology to make experiences faster and more customer-friendly, from booking travel to online shopping," said Graham. "In the past few years, we've seen Canadians embrace our fast, fair and friendly approach to personal loans. We're excited to be partnering with CIBC to bring this experience to more Canadians."

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