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How One Bank-Fintech Partnership is Working for Small Businesses

It’s no secret that small businesses have been struggling to secure funds with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Banks have wrestled not only to determine eligibility but also with the clumsy online application process.

After seeing how both banks and businesses were grappling with the application process, digital transformation expert MX stepped in to help. Days after the PPP went live, MX developed and launched a free, open-sourced loan application portal that allows banks and credit unions to offer their SMB clients a way to apply for a PPP loan on their own. By removing one step of the process, the new portal also eliminates the need for banks to manually re-enter the SMBs’ loan applications and ultimately drops the application time from 30 minutes to 30 seconds.

In an interview with Yahoo! Finance (below) MX CEO Ryan Caldwell described how MX’s tool levels the playing field and help smaller banks compete with larger banks in bringing home PPP funds for SMB clients.

This tool sparked the attention of Citizens Bank of Edmond, an Oklahoma-based bank with $260 million in assets. The bank has a front-row seat to the struggle of applying for PPP loans and teamed up with MX to create a self-serve application portal for its small business customers. Citizens Bank is one of 50 financial institutions leveraging MX’s SBA loan portal tool.

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country are struggling due to the devastating impact of COVID-19 and it’s critical that we get stimulus funds into their hands as soon as possible,” said MX CTO and Co-Founder Brandon Dewitt. “Together with Citizens Bank of Edmond, we’re able to speed up the loan application process by providing small business owners with a self-service portal to apply for PPP loans, and providing loan officers a way to quickly approve and automatically submit applications for thousands of small business owners.”

After the money fueling the PPP loans dried up about a week ago, the program’s coffers were refilled yesterday morning with $310 billion in new funds to help keep small businesses afloat. “Speeding up the loan application process for small businesses can mean the difference between these businesses surviving and thriving or closing their doors and laying off employees,” said Jill Castilla, President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond. Castilla emphasized that MX’s portal prepared Citizens Bank to ready its operations and give its SMB clients a leg up. “By partnering with MX, we’ve been able to launch the new SBA portal for round two of stimulus funds, ensuring that our small business customers have the best possible experience as they apply for and get approved for crucial stimulus funds.”

Caldwell expects this second wave of PPP funding will bring banks 10x more loan applications than they saw in the first round. He made it clear that the banks that will be best prepared to serve their customers with this new tranche of PPP funds will be the ones that are putting data to use by aggregating business’ financial data– even without a prior banking relationship– in order to understand their risk. “Banks are realizing that not having access to that data already built into their platform not only limits them on a daily basis but surely limits them in a crisis like this,” Caldwell said.

MX is a longtime Finovate veteran, having won Best of Show for seven of its demos, including one for the company’s most recent appearance at FinovateFall 2019. Check out the award-winning demo below: