SBA Loan Platforms Could Be Fintech’s ‘Big Moment’  

The below article was originally published April 7, 2020 in Bank Innovation by Bianca Chan.

A handful of fintech providers are bringing SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan platforms to market, a move that could be the industry’s moment to shine.

“The real opportunity here is going to be the administration of loans,” said CB Insights senior research analyst Arieh Levi. “If the fintech players can prove that they’re better at it than the big banks, which I think is a very strong possibility … this could be a huge proving ground for fintech. This could be the big moment.”

The PPP’s bumpy roll out was Friday; but the first day small businesses could apply for financial relief as part of the government’s $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill, they found that not all banks were accepting PPP loan applications. Consumer Bankers Association CEO Richard Hunt said in published reports that that it wouldn’t be until Tuesday or Wednesday this week that banks’ PPP platforms would be “hitting on all cylinders.” CBA represents some of the largest financial institutions in the country, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America and Wells Fargo Co.

If payments providers like Square and Venmo were to be given the opportunity to help administer the PPP loans, it could be a big step for fintech, Levi said.

Payments platform Plaid is already building a product that could speed the emergency loan process by sharing small business payroll data with banks, which then verify and process the information and application, according to a report by CNBC Monday. Plaid’s product would enable quick and secure sharing of payroll data that would be verified instantly, a traditionally manual process that can take weeks, CEO Zach Perret said.

Meanwhile, fintechs continue to get in on the PPP action by building platforms designed to help banks develop an online process to accept these loans.

Banking-as-a-service platform Nymbus is working alongside technology provider NCR to connect lenders with small businesses seeking PPP loans.  Founded in 2015, Nymbus provides core banking platforms to lenders, most recently integrating with TransPecos Banks, PeoplesBank, BankMD and Centier Bank.

“No bank we spoke to has a proven process in place today, nor the time or resources required to move fast enough to help their local communities,” Nymbus CEO Scott Killoh told Bank Innovation.

Nymbus is leveraging its existing commercial lending suite of products to deploy PPP solutions for banks. A link to an online portal is provided by Nymbus to banks to process PPP loans, Killoh said, and the platform processes requests, collects required documents, performs required underwriting and provides an SBA-ready application.

Nymbus has more than 100 contracts “out for signature and hundreds more ready to go out over the next week,” Killoh added. Since launching Friday, the system has taken in “hundreds of applications totaling over $200 million,” he said.

And other fintechs are eager to provide platforms to administer the SBA loans. Fiserv already has a secure digital form for financial institutions to accept PPP applications through its websites and online banking portals, and is building a PPP-specific document management solution for clients to manage high request volume, according to David McIninch, senior vice president of strategy, marketing and product management for Bank Solutions at Fiserv.

“While it is difficult to predict based on the macro environmental factors at play, we expect the platform to support billions in loans over the next 60 days,” Nymbus’ Killoh said. As is the case with most fintechs and lenders in the space, “it’s become the shared vision … to help our business communities survive.”