Visa boasts of fintech Fast Track success

Source: Visa

Fintechs are a central part of the global payments ecosystem, and amidst COVID-19 have launched further into the spotlight, reporting sizable upticks in the usage of their apps1, as more people manage their money from their personal devices.

Visa (NYSE: V), today, is proud to announce its continued support of the global Fintech community, having grown the Fast Track program to over 140 Fintechs2. Since expanding globally in mid-2019, the Fast Track program has grown 280%3, highlighting the surge in demand for digital payments worldwide.

Fast Track allows both new and established businesses to leverage the speed, security, reliability and scale of the Visa network to get up and running quickly, taking the process from months to weeks. The program provides turnkey access to Visa’s ecosystem partners, online licensing, APIs, as well as extensive go-to-market toolkits, online education and expert advice to help Fintechs scale their business. With new members from Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America, these Fintechs are transforming how consumers and businesses manage money, invest, receive loans and send payments worldwide.

“Our goal is to bring cutting-edge Fintechs into the Visa ecosystem, to help them grow and scale their business in record time,” said Terry Angelos, senior vice president and global head of Fintech, Visa. “Through programs like Fast Track, Visa is committed to helping Fintechs, many of which are small businesses, advance their potential and get into market quickly, so they are ready to provide innovations that move the world forward everyday – especially in current times.”

Fast Track Fintechs Focus on Recovery
Visa partners including Airwallex, Fundation and Rappi have used their ongoing focus on innovation and growth to be nimble in their reactions to COVID-19. Australia-founded Airwallex has extended support to Australia and UK-based small businesses in need by offering to waive their international transactions fees and U.S.-based Fundation is helping small businesses quickly get the capital they need during these times. Rappi out of Colombia has begun piloting food delivery by robots, working to minimize the spread of the virus. In these videos, Airwallex and Rappi both talk about their experiences in working with Visa.

“During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever that we are able to support small businesses by getting them the funds they need as quickly as possible to stay afloat,” said Sam Graziano, chief executive officer, Fundation. “Through our partnership with Visa, we will continue to innovate and develop strategies to aid in the relief and recovery of our customers’ businesses.”

Visa Welcomes a New Class of Innovators
The newest members of the Fast Track program span a diverse range of companies, including female-founded Fintechs, digital currency wallets, consumer-centric and business-to-business (B2B) solutions providers. Highlights include:
• New Enablement Partners: Fast Track is made possible due to collaboration with enablement partners who are the critical technology companies that lay the foundation for Fintechs to build their products. Announced today, three new program manager enablement partners – Cascade FinTech, Deserve and PEX – are becoming part of Fast Track in the U.S., joining a class of leading companies like Galileo, Marqeta and Stripe, bringing the total number of enablement partners to more than 20 globally.

• Female Founders: Visa is committed to the advancement of women’s economic growth. Visa’s investment in women-owned businesses is further emphasized by the inclusion of global female-founded Fintechs, Australia-founded Airwallex, and North America-based gogo Getter and Kikoff.

• Digital Currency Wallets: Digital currency enabled wallets have grown exponentially, with over 139 million user accounts in existence today4. In support of this burgeoning market, digital currency-focused Fast Track companies including Fold, Genesis Block and TrustToken are connecting their consumers to Visa’s 61 million merchant locations worldwide.

• Consumer Finance Management: Across platforms, Visa aims to make the everyday management of money easier for consumers. Fast Track companies including Europe-based Lydia and Swile, Paga in Africa, SoLo Funds in the U.S., and United Arab Emirates-based Wally are among those simplifying money management and driving Fintech app adoption in their communities.

• Small Business Support: Visa continues to transform the B2B payments space for the digital age. UK-based digital lender Capital on Tap, which provides credit cards and loans to over 60,000 SMBs, and U.S.-based Fundation, which provides an application processing platform for banks and small business lenders, are part of the program. Konfio, a Mexico-based startup that uses a data-first approach to enable fast credit assessment for SMBs, and Neat, a Hong Kong Fintech startup enabling SMEs to grow their business globally, are also standout members creating new B2B innovations from across the globe.

“Right now, it’s more important than ever to help small businesses navigate through unknown financial challenges,” said David Arana, chief executive officer, Konfio. “By working with Visa and through the Fast Track program, we have been able to offer small businesses access to financial services that they’re often not given, and provide options to SMEs who need credit lines to pay for necessities, which is especially important in today’s environment. We have also developed tools and market research to complement our financial services.”

“After recently joining Visa’s Fast Track program, we were able to quickly put our co-branded debit card into market in the United States,” said Will Reeves, chief executive officer, Fold. “By working with Visa, we are delivering on our mission to provide an easy way for shoppers to earn rewards in bitcoin for their everyday spending, and help our business continue to scale with the backing of Visa’s vast network and resources.”


Lend Academy Podcast : Sam Graziano of Fundation

The CEO and co-founder of Fundation talks small business lending, bank partnerships, big tech, verticalization and what's next

While there are several online lending platforms that have reached scale in the small business space, banks still do the vast majority of small business loans. But many banks don’t have the capability to provide a modern, digital and user friendly experience. The good news is that banks now recognize this and are more open to partnering with fintech companies than ever before.

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Sam Graziano, the CEO and co-founder of Fundation. His company is increasingly partnering with large banks to help digitize and streamline their small business lending operation (their latest bank partner was announced just this week).

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The Fundation origin story.
  • Why he quickly realized that they needed to be focused on institutional capital.
  • The two pivots they have made since starting the business.
  •  The type of channel partners they work with for referrals.
  • How they built their platform for different kinds of partners.
  • The typical terms of their small business loans and lines of credit.
  • How their white label small business lending products work for banks.
  • The type of banks they are focused on with that product.
  • Why it is easier to talk with banks today than it was a few years ago.
  • How incumbent banks are becoming more like fintechs.
  • Sam’s thoughts on big tech entering the small business lending space.
  • Why we are seeing a verticalization in small business software.
  • The paradigm shirt he sees in the future for banks.
  • What’s on the horizon for Fundation next year.


Fundation Deploys Private Labeled Loan Origination Platform for Fifth Third Bank

Fundation Deploys Private Labeled Loan Origination Platform for Fifth Third Bank

Collaboration to include streamlining the delivery of Fifth Third credit products and providing Fundation products as an alternative option for qualifying customers

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fundation today announced that it has collaborated with Fifth Third Bank to modernize Fifth Third Bank’s loan origination capabilities for small business loans and lines of credit. The new capability enables small businesses to apply for loans and lines of credit through a simple, digital application. The solution will initially be available through Fifth Third banking centers in select markets and ultimately be deployed at 53.com. In most cases, approvals will be provided within minutes and funding available to customers within a couple of business days through a completely digital process. Additionally, Fundation will offer Fundation branded products to customers that do not meet Fifth Third’s eligibility guidelines, helping the bank to serve more of its small business customers’ credit needs.

“At Fundation, our mission is to enable our banking clients to give their small business customers the best of both worlds – great products at great prices along with the modernized experience they expect in the digital era”

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“At Fundation, our mission is to enable our banking clients to give their small business customers the best of both worlds – great products at great prices along with the modernized experience they expect in the digital era,” said Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation. “This collaboration does exactly that. The combination of Fifth Third Bank’s renowned brand, customer reach and great products with our digital lending platform will allow us to collectively serve the Bank’s customers with best-in-class products and a best-in-class customer experience.”

With this latest solution, and in addition to those already deployed with Regions Bank, Citizens Bank and Bank of the West, Fundation now collaborates with 4 of the top 20 commercial banks in the United States in their small business lending programs.

About Fundation

Fundation Group LLC is an origination solutions provider focused on the small business market nationally. Fundation is a leader in providing technology and application processing services to support more than 25 super regional, regional and community banks. Fundation’s solutions enable its financial services clients to develop a digital banking capability, provide a great customer experience, drive cost efficiency into their small business lending program, and maximize the number of customers they can serve. Fundation’s services range from simple referral partnerships to customized, integrated private-labeled lending programs. The Company also partners with a wide array of organizations that serve the small business market in various capacities to deliver credit products to the business community nationwide. For more information, please visit www.fundation.com.


New York City Credit Program Aims to Help Female Entrepreneurs

New York City Credit Program Aims to Help Female Entrepreneurs

Credit lines of up to $100,000 offered to women-owned businesses

By Kate King | Photographs by Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 13, 2019 9:00 am ET

Female entrepreneurs are more likely than their male counterparts to see their loan applications rejected or underfunded, and New York City is launching a program to close the gap.

The Department of Small Business Services’ $5 million program will offer lines of credit up to $100,000 at about 12% interest to women-owned businesses, said Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the department. Entrepreneurs with credit scores of at least 620 who have been in business a year or longer and earn $50,000 or more in annual revenue can apply.

The department surveyed more than 1,600 entrepreneurs in New York City for a 2015 report that found women are more hesitant than men to take out high-interest loans.

“Women tend to be more risk averse,” Mr. Bishop said in an interview. “But when you ask women and male entrepreneurs where they want to be in five years, they have the same goals.”

What has been your experience in securing funding to open a small business? How do you see this program improving the growth of women entrepreneurs? Join the conversation below.

Lines of credit are particularly helpful for women entrepreneurs who only want to borrow and pay interest when they need funding, as opposed to applying for large loans, said Nancy Carin, executive director at the Business Outreach Center Network, a nonprofit small-business development organization. Lines of credit also provide fast access to cash, particularly helpful for businesses like bakeries that might need quick capital during busy holidays.

“Once you’re approved for a line of credit, you can use it strategically, and that positions a woman entrepreneur to respond to market conditions and opportunities,” said Ms. Carin, whose organization works with Small Business Services on loan and other funding programs for women entrepreneurs.

The program’s 12% interest is a reasonable rate for borrowers with a credit score of 620, Ms. Carin said.

The program is a public-private venture, with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses contributing $5 million and Fundation, an online lender, contributing $500,000 in capital to support the lines of credit. A $1 million loan-loss reserve is being funded by Squarespace and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The Goldman Sachs Foundation also is providing $300,000 for outreach to underserved women.

The Department of Small Business Services did a soft launch about a month ago and has received 13 applications.

Cathy LaCognata applied and was approved for a $75,000 line of credit. She had struggled for years to find affordable loans, turning instead to friends and  family when she needed money for her business, a boutique gym based in Brooklyn.

Ms. LaCognata, 51 years old, has experienced several setbacks since becoming an entrepreneur in 2011 after years as a stay-at-home mom. The building that housed her first location in the Rockaways was swamped by superstorm Sandy. Then she separated from her husband, and her credit score suffered as bills went unpaid.

“Getting funding is always a problem,” Ms. LaCognata said. “Not having a great credit score, no one was going to lend me money.”

Ms. LaCognata improved her credit score to 730 from 530 after getting guidance from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which she completed earlier this year. She said she plans to use her new line of credit to renovate and buy equipment for her gym, Training for Warriors Brooklyn.

“It’s a lot of work, being in this business and being good at it,” she said. “But it’s so rewarding.”

Write to Kate King at Kate.King@wsj.com

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Women.nyc: City Launches New Program with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Fundation & Squarespace to Create New Affordable Lines of Credit for Women Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK––The de Blasio Administration today launched a new program designed to help women entrepreneurs access affordable lines of credit to start, grow and sustain their businesses. The new program, called WE Credit, will provide up to 250 women entrepreneurs with lines of credit averaging $50,000 at below-market interest rates.

WE Credit is made possible through a public-private partnership between the City, Goldman Sachs, Squarespace and Fundation. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses will provide $5 million to finance lines of credit to women entrepreneurs. This investment is accompanied by a $1 million loan loss reserve fund provided by Squarespace and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which will cover potential defaults. Fundation, a credit solutions provider, will provide the platform through which women entrepreneurs can access and manage the lines of credit.

“To truly become the fairest big city in America, we need to give everyone an opportunity to participate in our economy – regardless of your gender, race or ethnicity,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That means breaking down barriers and providing the resources people need to establish, grow and sustain their businesses. With WE Credit, we’re breaking down barriers to capital and ensuring women entrepreneurs aren’t left out of the economic opportunity this city has to offer.”

“Easy access to an affordable line of credit can be the difference between a business thriving or folding. With WE Credit, we are leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs who historically lack the same support as men to grow their businesses,” said Former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “Through our partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Squarespace and Fundation, we’re building out our portfolio of financial products designed to address the needs of New York City’s women entrepreneurs.”

“In order to fulfill a vision of economic democracy for all, we have to make a priority to focus on the financial access and capabilities of segments of the population that are underrepresented in important sectors of our economy,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phillip Thompson. “Programs like WE Credit that have a particular focus on economic inclusion can significantly boost business creation and expansion for our city’s neediest women entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. I commend former Deputy Mayor Glen for her tremendous vision in creating this and other programs that have given women across the city a more equal chance to participate and succeed in our economy and I look forward to working with Commissioner Bishop in their implementation.”

“For far too long, women of all backgrounds have notoriously struggled with access to affordable lines of credit” said women.nyc Executive Director Faye Penn. “We are proud to be sparking change in the greatest city in the world through the introduction of WE Credit. Thank you to all of our funding partners for backing such an important program that will uplift female entrepreneurs and give them the resources they need.”

“When building their businesses, women entrepreneurs can face a multitude of barriers that prevent them from accessing capital, forcing them to jeopardize their personal credit or be subjected to predatory lenders,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “WE Credit provides valuable support to women entrepreneurs across the five boroughs by helping them access affordable lines of credit.”

“The launch of WE Credit is integral to our City’s vision to ensure a more equitable marketplace,” said Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs. “An entrepreneur may have the vision and see the opportunity to grow their business, but fundamentally, we know there are barriers, as it all comes down to access to affordable credit. With this program in place, more women entrepreneurs will have the capacity to stay competitive and create more jobs.”

“Despite small businesses serving as a hub for community vitality, economic growth, and quality job creation in neighborhoods across New York, many women entrepreneurs still have difficulty accessing the funding they need to grow their businesses,” said Margaret Anadu, Managing Director and Head of the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. “Through this partnership, we are proud to expand the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses commitment to ensure local women entrepreneurs have access to the capital they need so that they, and our communities, can succeed. We are excited to play our part in addressing this long-standing challenge.”

According to the City’s Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs in New York City report, 70 percent of women entrepreneurs cite access to capital as a major challenge when starting and growing their companies. Many entrepreneurs rely on personal credit cards and payday lenders, which lend at interest rates that are more than 30 percent. With the launch of WE Credit, the City and its partners will help women entrepreneurs improve their credit scores and avoid high-interest rates, including those entrepreneurs with limited credit history. Lines of credit will be provided at an Annual Percentage Rate of up to 12 percent, which will be subject to material changes in the market. In addition to providing credit support through the loan loss reserve, the City will help women entrepreneurs through the loan application process.

“Entrepreneurs represent the hustle and grind of New York City and are the backbone of not only Squarespace’s business, but our local communities,” said Anna Stallings, Senior Marketing Manager at Squarespace. “We’re proud to participate in a program that will provide woman-identifying small business owners, a historically under-supported community, with access to the capital they need to succeed.”

“The city should be commended for orchestrating a program that will support an under-served segment of the small business community,” said Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation. “Federal reserve studies consistently show that the vast majority of small businesses are seeking less than $100,000 of credit. This program may serve as a model that can address that segment of the market at scale.”

WE Credit is the fourth WE Fund product under the WE NYC umbrella – others include the recently-launched WE Venture consortium, WE Fund Crowd and WE Fund Growth. WE Venture alone will invest $30 million in women and minority founded tech startups over the next five years. WE Fund Growth has lent over $800,000 to 45 borrowers. WE Fund Crowd has provided more than $1 million in zero-interest loans to women entrepreneurs in partnership with the global crowdfunding platform Kiva.

Through WE Credit, women small business owners with limited experience and credit history will be connected to flexible funding to help them build their businesses. Eligible applicants must have been in business for a minimum of one year and have at least $50,000 in annual revenue.

Council Member Helen Rosenthal said, “As chair of the City Council’s Committee on Women, I am delighted at the news that WE Credit will begin to offer lines of credit to women entrepreneurs, including those with limited credit history. Through the innovative WE NYC partnership, women across our city have a growing number of tools to turn their dreams into reality and contribute to our local economy. I want to thank NYC Small Business Services and the Mayor’s Office for all their efforts to advance women’s financial and social empowerment.”

“WE NYC is a vital program and has helped many women entrepreneurs get information and mentorship to start and grow their businesses,” said Council Member Inez D. Barron. “I am happy to see the launching of WE Credit. It will be a tremendous factor in the success of women in business throughout the city who need affordable lines of credit. The NYC Small Business Services’ leadership and vision in developing pathways to build small businesses makes New York City stronger. We look forward to further expanding opportunities such as this.”

Interested women entrepreneurs can visit we.nyc to learn more. Applications for the program will open this spring.

About WE NYC
WE NYC, launched by the NYC Department of Small Business Services in 2015, delivers tailored, research-based programs for women entrepreneurs to better connect them to the resources, education, and community they need to flourish. WE NYC services are free and open to all women throughout the five boroughs. Since its launch, WE NYC has served over 6,000 women entrepreneurs in NYC. For more information, visit we.nyc.

About women.nyc
When women succeed, the Greatest City in the World becomes even greater. women.nyc is a groundbreaking initiative that not only inspires women to advance their careers, but also provides them with the real tools they need for success. From free, expert legal advice, to networking and mentorship, to financial assistance, women.nyc offers a growing portfolio of resources for working women. Join women across the five boroughs, and make your #NYCPowerMove with the help and support of women.nyc.

About the Department of Small Business Services
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services. To date, 10,000 Small Businesses has served over 8,200 small businesses across the United States. The program has reached businesses from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C, and has resulted in immediate and sustained business growth for the alumni of the program. For more, visit https://10ksbapply.com/.

About Squarespace
Squarespace empowers millions of dreamers, makers, and doers by providing them with the tools they need to bring their creative ideas to life. On Squarespace’s dynamic all-in-one platform, customers can claim a domain, build a website, sell online, and market a brand. Our suite of products combines cutting-edge design and world-class engineering, making it easier than ever to establish and own your online presence. Founded in 2003, Squarespace’s team of nearly 900 is headquartered in downtown NYC, with offices in Dublin and Portland. For more information, visit www.squarespace.com.

About Fundation
Fundation Group LLC is a credit solutions provider focused on the small business market nationally. Fundation is a leader in providing technology and application processing services to support more than 25 super regional, regional and community banks. Fundation’s solutions enable its financial services clients to develop a digital lending capability, provide a great customer experience, drive cost efficiency into their small business lending program, and maximize the number of customers they can serve. Fundation’s services range from simple referral partnerships to customized, integrated private labeled lending programs. The Company also partners with a wide array of organizations that serve the small business market in various capacities to deliver credit products to the business community nationwide. For more information, please visit www.fundation.com.

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov(212) 788-2958

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Import/Export SMBs Introduced to Fintech Lending Options

Early this week TangoTrade announced its partnership with the online lender Fundation. TangoTrade, which deals primarily in payment assurances for US small business importers and exporters, will now offer alternative financing to SMBs with the help of Fundation.

The development is a reaction to the struggles faced by small businesses who engage in global trade. Sam Hayes, Co-founder and President of TangoTrade, said that “If you’re an SMB and a transaction goes south, it causes major problems for cash flow. There’s very little recourse you can have as a small business.”

Explaining that about one-third of all US imports and exports originate from small businesses (roughly 200,000 small businesses import and 300,000 export), Hayes notes that this is a large portion of the American economy that is potentially at risk. Especially when they are being left out to hang by banks whose debit and credit facilities come attached with lengthy approval wait times and complex application processes that are often too inconvenient for SMB owners.

The partnership with Fundation, which is backed by both Goldman-Sachs and SunTrust Bank, will enable TangoTrade to fund SMBs up to $1 million. As mentioned, TangoTrade also offers payment assurance for importers and exporters, which reduces payment risks by managing the entire payment process for both parties involved and offering imbursement via 130 currencies. As well as this, the option to wire funds globally is available through TangoTrade’s partnership with TempusFX.

These services have been centralized by TangoTrade, being made accessible through the business’s site, a decision that is key to the company’s vision of offering services through a platform, Hayes told deBanked. “We’ve seen innovations in cross-border payments and global sourcing, but not a whole lot in this particular area,” which is why TangoTrade is pushing to incorporate fintech in their dealings.

And this impetus has attracted attention. With a diverse set of investors ranging from Hard Yaka, which has ties to Square, Ripple, and Twitter; to Village Global, a venture capital network that is backed by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg, TangoTrade has links to large names. Such diverse connections are mirrored in the company itself, with their team bringing together experience from MasterCard, Payoneer, NASDAQ, and Oracle.

A cabal of tech heads to be sure, Fundation CEO Sam Graziano says that this approach will “enable small businesses to access low-cost capital through an integrated user-friendly digital experience on their platform.”


TangoTrade and Fundation Provide Trade Credit Alternatives Up To $1 Million For U.S. Small Businesses To Purchase Goods From Overseas

SAN MATEO, Calif. and RESTON, Va., July 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TangoTrade, a B2B financial software provider that empowers small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) to import and export globally, announced today that the recently launched TangoTrade Payment Assurance™ solution, is now integrated with award-winning commercial credit solutions provider Fundation to empower SMBs to finance transactions through an integrated experience. With this important integration, SMB importers and exporters have access for the first time to a combination of payment security, market-leading foreign exchange (FX) rates for over 130 currencies, and now import financing of up to $1 million.  SMBs can now take advantage of expanded global trade opportunities with TangoTrade’s Payment Assurance.

International trade is fraught with risk, particularly for SMB importers and exporters that have limited access to capital.  Traditionally, large companies have mitigated these risks by relying on a “letter of credit” instrument offered by major banks. This mechanism provides a payment guarantee to the exporter upon proof of shipment.  However, the existing letter of credit solutions are poorly suited for SMBs due to its high cost, low approval rates, and complex, time-consuming process. Furthermore, many banks that cater to small business do not offer a letter of credit service.

Now with TangoTrade’s Payment Assurance, SMBs can reduce payment risk without relying on letters of credit or limiting themselves to certain proprietary B2B trading platforms. Plus, the integrated financing capability enables U.S.-based importers to access financing when they need it as part of a cross-border transaction.

Payment Assurance provides a simple online interface for importers and exporters to manage the entire trade payment process, including access to import financing of up to $1 million through Fundation. To ensure security for both parties, full payment is held in a dedicated holding account.  Once shipment has been validated by TangoTrade, payment is automatically transferred to the exporter, who has the option to receive payment in more than 130 currencies.

TangoTrade Payment Assurance integrated with Fundation PayOverTime™ is available through platform partners, such as cross-border payment providers, freight forwarders and other B2B aggregators. Currently, the joint solution is available through TempusFX. For more information visit: https://tangotrade.com/integration/

“With Payment Assurance, SMB importers can now access financing of up to $1 million in order to close significant commercial transactions with less risk,” said Sam Hayes, president of TangoTrade. “By partnering with Fundation, an innovative and proven credit solutions provider, TangoTrade is bringing important tools to SMBs in their quest to grow and thrive.”

Fundation is one of the nation’s leading digitally-enabled small business lenders and credit solutions providers that offers conventional term loans and lines of credit for small businesses through its banking and other strategic partnerships.

Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation, added, “The digitization of commerce is happening everywhere and frictionless access to capital will continue to catalyze that trend.  Our platform was designed for leading service providers like TangoTrade to enable small businesses to access low-cost capital through an integrated user-friendly digital experience on their platforms. We look forward to working with TangoTrade to bring real change to the importing process for business across the U.S.”

Jingming Li, a TangoTrade advisor, CEO of Trova Technologies and former Founding President of Alipay US (Alibaba Group), also noted: “Small businesses have an opportunity to outcompete larger players globally. TangoTrade provides an innovative platform with the necessary resources including Payment Assurance and now financing once only available to larger enterprises.”

About TangoTrade
TangoTrade’s financial software empowers small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to import and export with lower risks, costs, and complexity to expand global business.  Offered through origination partners such as B2B trading platforms and freight forwarders, the TangoTrade Payment Assurance™ platform combines financing, transaction management, shipment verification and cross-border FX and payments to reinvent the outdated letter of credit.  TangoTrade offers efficient, cost-effective trade solutions that expand global business opportunities for SMBs.  Founded by industry veterans, TangoTrade is backed by leading investors including Village Global, Fenway Summer and Hard Yaka. For more, visit www.tangotrade.com

About Fundation
Fundation Group LLC is a credit solutions provider focused on the small business market nationally. Fundation is a leader in providing technology and application processing services to support more than 25 super regional, regional and community banks. Fundation’s solutions enable its financial services clients to develop a digital lending capability, provide a great customer experience, drive cost efficiency into their small business lending program, and maximize the number of customers they can serve. Fundation’s services range from simple referral partnerships to customized, integrated private labeled lending programs. The Company also partners with a wide array of organizations that serve the small business market in various capacities to deliver credit products to the business community nationwide. For more information, please visit www.fundation.com.

For Press Inquiries:
TangoTrade
Merrill Freund
tangotrade@bocacommunications.com
(415) 577-8637

Fundation
Barry Feierstein
Barry.Feierstein@fundation.com
(571) 418-6387


Fundation Pulls Community Bank Into FinTech Collaboration

Fundation Pulls Community Bank Into FinTech Collaboration

Large financial institutions (FIs) are increasingly turning to FinTech firms and alternative lenders to augment their small business (SMB) offerings, but community banks are beginning to get on board with the partnership strategy, too.

The latest to do so is Provident Financial, a New Jersey-based bank providing consumer and business banking services in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Reports in American Banker on Tuesday (July 2) said the bank is collaborating with alternative small business lending company Fundation to strengthen its SMB lending position.

“We wanted to offer something for our customers that was convenient,” said Provident Executive Vice President and Director of Retail Banking Josephine Moran, adding that the bank aims “to offer options to customers” by integrating Fundation into its small business finance solutions.

According to the publication, the partnership is not only noteworthy for the FI’s work with a FinTech. Their collaboration will see Provident, described by American Banker as an institution “known for its conservatism,” offer unsecured loans. Small businesses can apply within bank branches and online for loans of up to $250,000, reports said.

Mark Fitzgibbon, principal and director of research at Sandler O’Neill, told the publication that Provident is known as “the turtle bank,” for being a slow-and-steady financial services provider that can produce “good results in good environments and bad environments.”

“They’re very disciplined on credit and interest rate risk,” he said.

The bank’s work with Fundation will expand its small business lending operations, but limit its own exposure to small business lending risk because the loans will be largely held by Fundation.

Reports said the majority of Provident’s loan book is made up of commercial mortgages and multifamily credits. Working with an alternative lender will enable the bank to diversify its offering, and strengthen its position with small businesses without amplifying risk exposure. The publication pointed to other financial service providers like Nav that may be able to repeat this strategy.


American Banker: A 'turtle bank' plays catch-up in small-business lending

A ‘turtle bank’ plays catch-up in small-business lending

American Banker

By John Reosti

2 July 2019

Provident Financial in Iselin, N.J., has partnered with a fintech to become a stronger small- business lender.

The $9.8 billion-asset company is working with Fundation to offer unsecured small-dollar loans to commercial clients. While available in Provident’s more than 80 branches, applications for loans as big as $250,000 are also being accepted online.

“We wanted to offer something for our customers that was convenient,” said Josephine Moran, Provident’s director of retail banking. The goal is “to offer options to customers. We were searching for solutions for that part of our business.”

The decision to offer unsecured loans might seem odd for a bank known for its conservatism.

“They’re slow and steady,” said Mark Fitzgibbon, director of research at Sandler O’Neill, adding that analysts at his company often refer to Provident as “the turtle bank.”

Provident “just plods along and produces good results in good environments and bad environments,” Fitzgibbon added. “They’re very disciplined on credit and interest rate risk. I think it’s a fabulously well-run bank.” Net income totaled $30.9 million for the quarter that ended March 31 and $116 million in 2018.

That being said, the digital lending push still meshes with Provident’s risk appetite since Fundation holds most of the loans, Fitzgibbon said.

Provident has hit on “a creative way to help small-business customers,” he added.

Indeed, creating new relationships with small businesses should over time help Provident make progress diversifying its loan portfolio. More than half of its loans at March 31 were commercial mortgages or multifamily credits. “It’s important that you’re with the business from start to finish,” Moran said. “If you can capture the startups, earn their trust, gain their relationships, you assist them with their growth, they’re going to be with you for life.”

Similar moves could make sense for other banks that want more contact with small businesses “but do not want to underwrite risk below a certain threshold,” said Walt Levengood, vice president for sales and business development at the business financing firm Nav.

“If you want to fund the loan, by all means put it on your balance sheet,” Levengood said. “But you won’t insult the businesses in the instances where you don’t want to fund loans.”

While it may not immediately lead to meaningful loan growth, the Fundation partnership should give Provident a better shot at capturing the rest of the banking relationship from potential small-business clients, including low-cost deposits.

To that end, Provident is developing a product that combines a checking account with other products from its small-business suite.

“It’s still in the process, but what we’re looking at is a checking account that bundles things such as such as merchant services, payroll and lending,” Moran said. “You want to offer convenience at optimal pricing. You want to make it very easy for them, because small businesses need all these services and it entices them to bring their entire relationship to us.”

Small business “is such an important part of Provident’s funding base,” Fitzgibbon said.

Provident began the Fundation partnership at the end of February. While she declined to discussion the amount of loans processed, Moran said she is satisfied with the early results and bullish on small-business banking prospects generally.

“So far we’re very pleased with our relationship” with Fundation, she said. “It’s opened up another door for us. … There’s a huge opportunity for us, and we’re going for it.”


Citizens CEO: Fintech partnerships will keep bank competitive

Citizens CEO: Fintech partnerships will keep bank competitive

Philadelphia Business Journal

By Jeff Blumenthal

22 April 2019

When announcing their $28 billion merger of equals in February, BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks said the deal was partly designed to allow the banks to become more competitive with larger rivals in technology.

At more than $220 billion in assets, both are larger than $160 billion-asset Citizens Financial Group, one of the Philadelphia region’s largest banks. But like BB&T and SunTrust, it is significantly smaller than the nation’s Big 4 banks— JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup, each of which have assets near or exceeding $2 trillion and have invested heavily in developing consumer-facing technology such as artificial intelligence-powered chatbots and digital investing apps.

Citizens Financial CEO Bruce Van Saun acknowledges the challenge but believes his bank has made a significant push to keep pace with its larger competitors by partnering with more than a dozen fintech companies in recent years.

“I think we have sufficient scale to stay competitive,” Van Saun said in an interview after Citizens Financial announced a 13 percent increase in net income during the first quarter. “But it will be worth watching to see which banks will continue competing in five years and which ones won’t be.”

Since taking the reins and spinning the bank off from former owner Royal Bank of Scotland via an IPO five years ago, enhancing technology has been a prime focus for Van Saun.

In the first quarter alone, Citizens entered into partnerships with four different fintechs, adding to the 10 existing relationships it established in recent years: Transactis (payments technology for treasury solutions), mortgage platforms Blend and Vast and corporate liquidity investment platform Cachematrix.

The partnerships stretch across the bank’s business lines, such as SigFig, an investing platform for its wealth management clients and Fundation, which makes it easier for small-business customers to apply for loans.

At the same time as it’s struck fintech deals, Providence, R.I.-based Citizens, the Philadelphia region’s fourth-largest deposit taker, has increased its in-house capabilities, such as building a new digital and online platform based in large part on the work of its own digital technology employees. It also launched Citizens Access, a nationwide online banking service focused on the collection of deposits that has reeled in $4.6 billion in deposits in its first year. Citizens has about 30 analysts and programmers working on its consumer digital platform, and it plans to hire 45 more this year.

Brian Klock, an analyst from Keefee Bruyette & Woods, said tech platforms can most helps banks is on the consumer side.

“Most consumers largely bank online, so technology on scale and having the most up to date technology is impactful with consumer banking,” Klock said. “But no two companies are the same so there is no algorithm that is going to be a solution for every business customer. So you still need personal relationships for business banking.”

Van Saun said the advancement of AI had not led to a reduction in the number of employees. Citizens Financial employs roughly the same number of people it did five years ago — about 18,000 — but has changed about 3,000 positions from old roles that no longer fit to new ones that are largely customer facing.

While the newer, tech-centric employees are largely paid more than those who departed, Van Saun said the math still works in Citizens’ favor because of improvements in productivity.

“AI has an incredible presence but you have to be selective in how you deploy it because sometimes the cost does not equal the benefits,” Van Saun said. “But it can save hours or research.”