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SoftBank-backed Kabbage expands licencing deal with ING

Dutch bank ING will roll out to its online lending services to France and Italy.

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The licencing of online lending platforms – provided by online lenders themselves – is all the rage in fintech. Perhaps the leader in this field is Kabbage, a globally active lending, technology and data firm, catering exclusively to small businesses.

The firm first agreed to a partnership with Dutch bank ING in October 2015. Under the scheme, Kabbage made its lending platform available to ING in order to support the firm’s online lending activities in Spain. After what the pair describe as a successful launch, the partnership is now expanding across Europe.

Businesses in France and Italy will now be able to apply, qualify and access ongoing lines of credit of up to €100,000 with ING in under ten minutes. The whole process runs online, and credit lines can be continually adjusted based on real-time business performance.

“This expansion distinguishes ING as one of the most progressive financial institutions for small business lending across Europe,” said Kabbage chief executive officer and co-founder Rob Frohwein. “Using the power of automation through the Kabbage Platform, our bank partners can reach a dramatically higher number of small businesses than with traditional underwriting, and expand into new geographies without considerable investments or additional operational costs.”

Santander UK is another of Kabbage’s partners. Its technology platform is used by a number of top 50 global banks, powering online lending products in Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, the UK and Spain.

Commenting on the expanded Kabbage partnership, ING global head of fintech Benoit Legrand said: “Employing automated lending allows us to give time back to our customers so they can concentrate on running their businesses instead of spending excessive time on banking.”

The expansion of its ING collaboration comes just a few months after rival small business lender OnDeck agreed to expand its own deal with JPMorgan Chase by up to four years.  

Speculation that Kabbage is looking to acquire OnDeck has been rife in recent months, reaching fever pitch when news broke that SoftBank had made a $250m equity investment in Kabbage.

Besides a broad interest in “owning the future”, SoftBank, primarily through the investments of its Vision Fund, has demonstrated a clear interest in technology firms that naturally amass deep reserves of data. Kabbage’s licencing model allows it to learn the lending characteristics of a wide variety of banks around the world, and, to use its own words, “to refine a global risk model that can be rapidly deployed across partners and borders”. 

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