One of the brutal facts of the COVID-19 outbreak is that it will be difficult for small businesses to survive. The self-distancing and shelter-in-place orders, while temporary, are taxing for already cash-strapped merchants.
Adding to the hardship, small businesses may find it especially difficult to get a much-needed loan from their local bank or credit union since many have closed physical branches to encourage social distancing. And while banks offer many services online, only 1% are capable of extending a loan digitally.
This is where lending-as-a-service steps in. The technology works like a plug-and-play option that allows financial institutions to launch mobile and web financing applications, exchange documents digitally, and issue funds within a few days. While third party fintechs already offer digital lending services, many banks are years away from being able to develop and integrate their own online lending service.
When banks implement lending-as-a-service, they are in a better position to serve small businesses that need cash flow quickly. It means that instead of turning to unfamiliar third party financing solutions, businesses can maintain their relationship with their primary bank as they get back on their feet after the crisis.
Military veteran-focused small business lending platform StreetShares began selling a lending-as-a-service offering for banks last September after it launched the product at FinovateFall. Using the new service, banks can lend up to $250,000 in funding to small businesses via a process that takes place completely online using the applicant’s web or mobile device.
StreetShares’ lending-as-a-service program offers lenders a 100% digital loan application, instant underwriting, as well as loan servicing and tracking. The program doesn’t require software integration and can go live in under 30 days.
The company’s lending-as-a-service solution has already seen success, having amassed 30 clients, including banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders. Here’s the good news– StreetShares is waiving its software subscription fees through the end of the year for banks who fund small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
The company is calling this initiative Main Street Heroes. Since banking has transformed to an almost completely digital industry, the new initiative enables lenders to add a completely digital lending tool and serve businesses they otherwise may have had to turn away.
“In the wake of the coronavirus, business owners and regulators are both asking lenders to do more to help Main Street,” said StreetShares CEO Mark Rockefeller. “But most banks and credit unions simply have no ability to make these loans digitally. StreetShares has the needed technology and can power lenders to be the heroes that Main Street needs right now.”
StreetShares was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia. Mark Rockefeller is CEO.