By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 7 April 2020
Just Cashflow, YouLend, Liberis, Iwoca and others will use Open Banking data sourced by Funding Options.
For the first time SME borrowers can grant Funding Options access to their banking transaction history via Open Banking, data which is then standardized and passed on to lenders through a secure API.
“This is a very slick digital way for businesses to immediately pass that information across to us, which we can then verify and pass on to lenders,” Funding Options CEO Simon Cureton told AltFi.
Previously the process involved having to upload PDF statements which “have always been suboptimal.”
Cureton told AltFi that the launch comes at a hugely busy time for Funding Options which has been inundated with demand from SMEs looking to borrow over the last month since the outbreak of coronavirus in the UK.
“It’s been absolutely huge. In a single day we’ve had more than £100m of loans requested, and during the second half of March we saw over £1bn of loans requested, with two to three times higher volumes of requests than pre-crisis,” the CEO said.
Many of the lenders who operate through Funding Options are currently excluded from the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), while others like Iwoca are working with the British Business Bank to see if they can gain accreditation.
“Since the last financial crisis it’s very true that the lenders which have propped up UK SMEs have been alternative lenders, the banks haven't really focused on that portion of the market,” said Cureton.
“Now we have all this demand, but the decision by the government to support bank lending has created havoc”.
Last week the Association of Alternative Business Finance which represents the likes of Liberis and Just Cashflow wrote to the chancellor warning that without access to the scheme: “alternative lenders will simply not have the ability to lend, and many may just have to exit the market”.