Fundation Launches Digital Lending Capability with Banc of California for Small Business Customers

Fundation Launches Digital Lending Capability with Banc of California for Small Business Customers

Program will expedite and expand small business loan approvals for Banc of California customers

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fundation announced that it has recently launched a digital lending solution in partnership with Banc of California, enabling the California-based bank to offer a new, streamlined end-to-end solution for small businesses seeking a business loan or line of credit. The solution enables small businesses to apply for loans and lines of credit through a simple online application at and receive funds in a little as one business day.

“Very few small or large banks accept small business loan applications online”

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According to the FDIC Small Business Lending Survey in 2018, “Very few small or large banks accept small business loan applications online”. According to the Federal Reserve, awareness of online lenders has grown, and business owners increasingly turn to these companies for funding. In 2016, some one-in-five credit applicants (21 percent) sought financing at an online lender, rising to nearly one-in-four (24 percent) in 2017.

Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation, added, “Our platform was developed to deliver credit with speed and convenience to small businesses, without asking them to compromise the quality of product and pricing they expect from their banking partner. Aided with this new capability, Banc of California will be able to offer their local small business customers a market leading lending program.”

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

About Banc of California, Inc. (NYSE: BANC)

With over $10 billion in assets, and 32 offices throughout California, Banc of California is the only full-service, midsize bank focused exclusively on California. They provide innovative banking and lending products to diverse businesses, entrepreneurs and communities throughout California.


Barry Feierstein, 571-418-6387

Fundation Secures $120 Million Credit Facility from SunTrust Bank

Fundation Secures $120 Million Credit Facility from SunTrust Bank

Additional Credit Facility Provides Funding to Support Acceleration of Company’s Growth

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fundation, a leading digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider, today announced that it has secured a $120 million asset backed credit facility from SunTrust Bank. Waterfall Asset Management was included in the facility as a Class B lender. This additional credit facility further enhances Fundation’s capacity to extend credit to small businesses across the United States.

Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation said, “Garnering the support of one of the leading super regional banks engaged in asset backed finance is another milestone for our Company. As we continue to bolster the size and quality of our capital base, we can become an even stronger ally to our strategic partners and their small business clientele.”

Fundation focuses on delivering credit to small businesses through various forms of strategic partnerships, including banks, other financial institutions, and various service providers to the small business market. Fundation currently has strategic partnerships with Regions Bank, Citizens Bank, the BancAlliance network of community banks, the Minority Business Development Agency and a host of other partners.

Fundation, majority-owned by New York based private equity firm Garrison Investment Group, performs origination services for regional and community banks as well as originates small business loans and lines of credit for its balance sheet. Fundation maintains a separate $120 million asset backed credit facility with Goldman Sachs Bank USA which was secured in August of 2016, and a $35 million facility with MidCap Financial which was secured in March of 2017.

About Fundation

Fundation Group LLC is a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider. The Company develops integrated small business lending solutions with banks, enabling them to optimize their credit delivery process on an omni-channel basis and maximize customer retention. The Company also partners with a variety of organizations that serve the small business market in various capacities to deliver small balance commercial credit products. For more information, please visit

About SunTrust Bank

SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is a purpose-driven company dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the people, businesses, and communities it serves. SunTrust leads onUp, a national movement inspiring Americans to build financial confidence. Headquartered in Atlanta, the Company has two business segments: Consumer and Wholesale. Its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, along with 24-hour digital access. Certain business lines serve consumer, commercial, corporate, and institutional clients nationally. As of March 31, 2018, SunTrust had total assets of $205 billion and total deposits of $162 billion. The Company provides deposit, credit, trust, investment, mortgage, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services. Learn more at


Barry Feierstein, 571-418-6387

Citizens Bank and Fundation Mobilize Credit Delivery

Citizens Bank and Fundation Mobilize Credit Delivery

MAY 16TH, 2018

While Citizens Bank and Fundation are certainly not the first bank and fintech company to work collaboratively together, theirs is unlike any other, both parties say, because of the relationship that exists between the two organizations.

Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens, a top-20 U.S. bank at $152 billion in assets, partnered with Fundation, a fintech firm in Reston, Virginia that focuses on credit delivery to improve the efficiency and turnaround time for small business loans under $150,000.

Fundation’s technology serves as the entire front end, essentially a white-labeled online application, for Citizens’ commercial lending line of products, providing a technology platform that includes underwriting, closing and engagement tools, and features a decision engine that, based on certain criteria, determines “up front” which loan goes to Citizens and which to Fundation, according to Jack Murphy, president of the business banking division at Citizens.

“What makes the partnership unique is there’s a fair amount of folks in this space who outsource this type of lending to the partner,” Murphy said. Instead, the application process is integrated into Citizens’ own digital platform, a top priority for the bank, Murphy said.

“We wanted to integrate (it) into our technology.”

Citizens and Fundation won Bank Director’s Best of FinXTech Partnership award, presented May 10 at the FinXTech Annual Summit, held at The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The platform allows for an entirely electronic application process, and enables Citizens’ lending team to physically go to and visit its small business customers to start or complete that application. Customers can also begin the application process in a branch, and finish at home, “or in their car,” Murphy joked, though he doesn’t advocate driving and applying for a commercial loan at the same time.

“It’s really become the front-end to our core underwriting system,” Murphy said.

Fundation has multiple bank clients, but its credit delivery platform uses data and a decision engine to automate much of the decision-making framework that many banks have and still use when reviewing applications. It also simplifies the compliance assessment, including the Customer Due Diligence (CDD) final rule that was developed just two years ago and became effective in May 2018.

There is automated scoring in approving small loans, allowing Citizens to focus its human capital on other strategies, like bigger, more intensive applications and projects that need more careful review while also reducing paperwork that can be cumbersome. It also has in some ways upended the entire underwriting process—they use bank statements instead of financial statements as part of the application process, and the technology determines which loan goes to the bank and which goes to the partner automatically up front.

The technology has only been available to all customers since the end of March 2018, but getting to that point involved months of due diligence, whittling down a list of nearly two dozen other firms before ultimately selecting Fundation.
“We took about a year to research who might be the best partner for us,” Murphy said, noting that it all began with the goal of improving the customer experience through a digital platform.

The board considered whether to buy, build or partner with a fintech, but ultimately there was only one choice.
“The fintechs have not had the balance sheets or cost of funds or the customer bases that the banks have, so partnership is really the best way for the two companies to business,” Murphy said.

Culture and cohesion between the two companies was half the driving force behind the decision to choose Fundation, Murphy said, in a crowded and competitive fintech market. Murphy said they wanted to partner with somebody who was “not just a tech company,” but a “partner that has a similar vision.”

Like other banks, Citizens has several relationships with fintech companies which provide other services, like SigFig, for instance, a tech-based personal investment platform. But Fundation offered something that was new to the bank, and has in just a short time already proven its worth.

It’s shortened the time from application to credit delivery to as little as three days, which in previous generations could have taken weeks, and generated “many multiples” of increased demand since a series of pilots with the software last fall.

The transformation of this credit delivery, he said, is far more than what some banks have done, which Murphy described rudimentarily as simply taking a paper-based loan application and converting it to an online webform.
“That’s not digital,” Murphy said. “Digital is literally the entire experience being electronic.”

Citizens wanted to make its application process fully digital, Murphy said, which has reduced costs and improved efficiency for the bank. And that result has not only transformed the bank’s commercial lending process, but how it strategizes its future.

“This is for us, I would say step one in a journey of multiple products and multiple ways of making it easier to do business with the bank, not vice versa,” Murphy said.

2018 Best of FinXTech Awards Finalists Announced

2018 Best of FinXTech Awards Finalists Announced

Bank Director and Promontory Interfinancial Network Announce Finalists In Three Categories

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Bank Director and Promontory Interfinancial Network have announced the finalists for the 2018 Best of FinXTech Awards, which recognize institutions that exemplify how collaborative efforts can lead to innovative solutions and growth in the banking industry. This year's Award categories included Startup Innovation, Innovative Solution of the Year and Best of FinXTech Partnership.

Startup Innovation Finalists

  • Seacoast Banking Corp. + SmartBiz Loans: Stuart, Florida-based Seacoast partnered with online lending marketplace and platform SmartBiz, of San Francisco, to take the bank's Small Business Administration loan business nationwide.
  • Radius Bank + Alloy: Radius Bank partnered with FinTech Alloy to help transform into a digital first bank. By using Alloy's smart identity platform and API, Radius can deliver a superior experience to their new customers signing up online - offering an instant decision in 98% of the cases, whilst reducing onboarding fraud by 50%.
  • ChoiceOne Financial Services + AutoBooks: ChoiceOne Financial Services of Sparta, Michigan, expanded its services to small business clients by partnering with Detroit-based business banking platform AutoBooks to offer treasury services.
  • Pinnacle Financial Partners + Built: Pinnacle partnered with Built, a fintech firm focused on construction lending, to streamline the bank's construction loan management process. Both companies are based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Innovative Solution of the Year

  • U.S. Bancorp + SpringFour: Seeking to help mortgage customers that were falling behind on their loan payments, U.S. Bancorp integrated Chicago-based SpringFour into the bank's mortgage servicing operations and website.
  • CBW Bank + Yantra Financial Technologies: CBW Bank became the first bank in the U.S. to publish its APIs by working with Yantra Financial Technologies to launch the Y-Labs Marketplace. The Y-Labs Marketplace is an initiative that enables banks to rapidly introduce new payments, products and services with industry specific benefits.
  • USAA + Clinc: USAA partnered with the artificial intelligence platform Clinc, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to pilot an Amazon Alexa skill that helps USAA members access information about account balances, transactions and spending patterns.

Best of FinXTech Partnership

  • MVB Financial Corp. + BillGO: MVB and BillGO, based in Fairmont, West Virginia, and Fort Collins, Colorado, respectively, partnered to develop a real-time bill payment solution that improves the financial lives of more than 5 million Americans.
  • TCF Financial Corp. + D3 Banking Technology: As part of TCF's digital transformation, the Wayzata, Minnesota-based bank leveraged D3's digital banking platform to improve the customer experience, including a re-designed and intuitive mobile banking app; easier ways to deposit checks, pay bills and transfer money; and advanced budgeting and savings tools.
  • Citizens Financial Group + Fundation Group: Citizens Financial, of Providence, Rhode Island, partnered with Fundation, of Reston, Virginia, to digitize the credit delivery process across all channels for small business loans and lines of credit.

The winners of the 2018 Best of FinXTech Awards will be announced at the FinXTech Annual Summit, brought to you by Bank Director and Promontory Interfinancial Network, in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 10, 2018. This event brings together senior executives from across the financial space to focus on new growth strategies and opportunities available to banks today.

About Bank Director
Since 1991, Bank Director has served as a leading information resource for the directors and officers of financial institutions. Through its monthly Bank Director magazine, executive-level research, annual conferences, and its website,, Bank Director reaches the leaders of the institutions that comprise America's banking industry. Bank Director is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. More information can be found at

About Promontory Interfinancial Network, LLC
Chosen by more than 3,000 financial institutions nationwide, Promontory Interfinancial Network is the leading provider of FDIC-insured deposit placement services. Banks of all sizes can use the company's balance-sheet management solutions to build multi-million-dollar relationships, reduce collateral requirements, purchase funding, manage liquidity, and buy or sell loans.


Fundation Purchases Select Assets from Able Lending to Enhance Partnership Strategy

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fundation Group LLC, a leading digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider, today announced that it has acquired a variety of assets from online small business lender, Able Lending of Austin, Texas.

“Able should be commended for developing some exceptional technology. The addition of these assets to our platform will further strengthen the value we bring to our bank partners and other strategic partners.”

Fundation develops a wide array of strategic partnerships with banks, other financial institutions, and various service providers to the small business market to deliver value added credit products to their small business client base. This acquisition is intended to enhance the scope of services that Fundation provides to its strategic partners, with enhanced capability for demand generation and customer acquisition.

Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation said, “Able should be commended for developing some exceptional technology. The addition of these assets to our platform will further strengthen the value we bring to our bank partners and other strategic partners.”

About Fundation

Fundation Group LLC is a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider. The Company develops integrated small business lending solutions with banks, enabling them to deliver credit online, drive cost efficiency into their lending programs, and maximize customer retention by providing a positive customer experience and meeting the needs of the small businesses they serve. The Company also partners with a variety of organizations that serve the small business market in various capacities to deliver small balance commercial credit products. For more information, please visit


Barry Feierstein, 571-418-6387

Citizens Digitizes SMB Lending Process With Fundation

By PYMNTS Posted on November 3, 2017

Citizens Bank is enhancing its small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending offering by digitizing the loan application process, according to a press release published by the financial institution (FI) on Thursday (Nov. 2).

The bank is launching a new platform, built in collaboration with alternative online lender Fundation, allowing SMB customers of the bank to apply for a loan or line of credit and receive an approval online. Citizens said that, in “most cases,” applicants are informed of a decision the same business day and receive funds within three business days.

“We understand that our small business customers are busy running their businesses and serving customers, so there’s little time left for lengthy [loan] applications, documentation, meetings and waiting for answers,” said Citizens Bank president of business banking Jack Murphy in a statement. “With our new digital lending technology, we have simplified the process of applying to smaller credit requests and are making it possible for more businesses to access the credit they need online, with rapid decision making and funding.”

Fundation has struck other partnerships with traditional FIs, and spoken out about the value it sees in collaborating with traditional FIs, telling PYMNTS in 2015 that such partnerships are “a great conversation point in our industry.”

“We are trying to really work to build a solution that exists right on a bank’s homepage, so we can really partner to get the customer into the right product,” said Fundation CEO Sam Graziano at the time.

In another statement issued Thursday, Graziano again emphasized the effectiveness of bank-FinTech collaborations.

“We believe what Citizens Bank has created is the ideal model of how to leverage the collective strengths of a digitally minded bank with a digital solutions company like Fundation,” he said. “The results are already showing that the bank will be able to reward a broad array of small businesses with the type of borrowing experience they are coming to expect from best-in-class financial services companies.”

Park Bank Announces Expansion of Small Business Lending Efforts


Park Bank Announces Expansion of Small Business Lending Efforts

Provides Greater Opportunity for Park Bank to Serve Small Businesses in the Community

Offers Simple Loan Terms, Quick Application Process and World-Class Customer Service

MILWAUKEE, Wis. and NEW YORK – November 1, 2017 – Park Bank announced today that it has joined the Small Business Loan Program created by BancAlliance and Fundation.

The Small Business Loan Program introduces a new financial technology platform that allows small businesses to access an online portal that will guide each small business customer to the products that best meet its unique need. This program is designed to enable banks to address the challenges of underwriting small businesses by providing a simplified and streamlined borrowing experience. Park Bank’s small business customers now have the ability to apply online by visiting and certain eligible customers may receive approval in as little as one business day.

Tracy Meeks, Vice President - Small Business Banking at Park Bank, commented, “Park Bank was founded by business owners to address a lack of financing opportunities in their community on Milwaukee’s west side. Over 100 years later, we continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the business community. With this new capability, we’re providing the small business community easier access to get the funding that will keep their businesses running.”

Fundation provides credit for working capital and expansion purposes to a wide array of businesses nationally. Unlike most non-bank lenders, Fundation’s products are conventional loan products but using its best-in-class technology platform, Fundation makes the process for applying for credit an extremely efficient and customer friendly process. Fundation has been the recipient of the “Best Working Capital” loan award by Business News Daily for three years in a row because of its outstanding online application process and dedicated customer relationship management.

Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation, said, “We are invested in driving the success of small business owners and partnering with Park Bank to do just that. The program we have created with our partner BancAlliance is unmatched within the industry, empowering community banks like Park Bank to serve their small business customer base and their local communities in an unparalleled way.” Brian Graham, CEO of BancAlliance, stated: “Our commitment is to the asset growth and diversification of the community banks we serve with a focus on expanding their relevance to their customers. This unique partnership with Fundation puts community banks at the forefront to be competitive with larger lending institutions without changing the traditional mission of community banking.”

About Park Bank
Established in 1915, Park Bank is a privately held commercial bank serving southeastern Wisconsin businesses and individuals. With over $900 million in assets, Park Bank has continued to increase its lending capacity, currently set at $18.5 million, to any one relationship. Park Bank’s core focus is the independent business market with revenues up to $100 million. As a full-service bank, services include commercial lending, commercial relationship banking, treasury management, private banking, equipment leasing, personal banking, residential mortgage, and personal and corporate investments. Park Bank is a member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender. To see how we serve the Milwaukee region, visit

About Fundation
Fundation Group LLC is a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider. The Company develops integrated small business lending solutions with banks, enabling them to deliver credit online, drive cost efficiency into their lending programs, and maximize customer retention by providing a positive customer experience and meeting the needs of the small businesses they serve. 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

About BancAlliance
BancAlliance is a collaborative network of community banks that offers an array of lending programs and business services that might not otherwise be available to its members. The services of BancAlliance are designed to expand the impact and reach of member banks, enhancing their profitability, serving their customers in new ways, and growing and diversifying their loan portfolios. BancAlliance’s mission is to enable its members, the banks that direct its activities, to prudently diversify into high-quality loans in a manner consistent with the highest commercial and regulatory standards – without changing the nature or mission of the traditional community bank. BancAlliance has member banks located throughout our country. Learn more at

Media Contacts:

Park Bank
Beth Borst

Barry Feierstein

Defining, Adopting and Executing on Fintech

Defining, Adopting and Executing on Fintech
By: Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation

Fintech has become a convenient (and amorphous) term applied to virtually any technology or technology-enabled process that is, or might be, applied within financial services. While the technologies are complex, the vast array of the current wave of fintech boils down to three simple dynamics: (1) leveraging technology to measure or predict customer need or behavior; (2) meeting customer need through the best customer experience possible; and (3) the ability to execute more nimbly to evolve products and services and how they are delivered.

Every reasonably well-versed person in fintech knows that the ability to predict customer need or behavior is achieved through a strong data infrastructure combined with a high-quality analytics function. But what defines the quality of the customer experience? At Fundation, we believe the quality of the customer experience within financial services is determined by the convenience, simplicity, transparency, intuitiveness and security of the process by which a product or service is delivered. The challenge for many financial services companies in developing the optimal customer experience lies in the rigidity of their legacy systems. They lack the flexibility to continually innovate products and services and how they are delivered.

The distinct advantage that fintech firms like Fundation have over traditional financial services companies is the flexibility gained from building their technology infrastructures from scratch on modern technology. With in-house application development and data operations capabilities, fintechs can rapidly engineer and, more importantly, reengineer the customer experience and their business processes. The capacity to reengineer user interface (UI), user experience (UX) and back-end processes is a major factor in the ability of financial services companies to maintain a competitive edge in the digital era where customers are accustomed to engaging with the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple in their digital lives.

Banks Remain Well Positioned to Win With Fintech
Armed with these capabilities, we, like so many fintechs, could be thumping our chests about how we are going to transform banking. But at Fundation, we see the future differently. We believe that the biggest disruption to banking is not going to come from outside of the banking industry—it’s going to come from the inside. A handful of banks (and maybe more) will reengineer their technology and data infrastructure using modern systems and processes, developed internally and augmented through highly integrated partnerships with fintechs. As a result, these banks will generate superior financial returns and take market share as customers migrate to firms that provide the experiences they expect.

In addition to enjoying a lower cost of capital advantage versus fintechs, we believe banks are well positioned for three other reasons. First, banks will remain the dominant choice of customers for financial products given their brand strength and existing market share. Second, banks have far more data than the average fintech that can be used to develop predictive analytics to determine customer need or behavior. Third, and perhaps most important, banks have what we at Fundation call the “trust asset:" their customers trust that they will protect their information and privacy and that they will recommend products best suited to their needs.

Be the Manufacturer or the General Contractor
Banks are in a strong position to win the fintech revolution but what remains are the complexities of how to execute. There are a few basic strategies:
1. Do nothing
2. Manufacture your own capabilities
3. Operate as the general contractor, aligning your institution with third parties that can do the manufacturing
4. Some combination of manufacturing and general contracting

For banks that are predominantly in relationship-driven lines of business rather than transactional lines of business, doing nothing is viable for now. The pressures on your business are not as severe, and a wait-and-see approach may enable you to make more informed decisions when the time is right.

For others, doing nothing is fraught with peril. Assuming that you choose one of the remaining three options, the implementation process will be hard, but what may be even harder is the change in organizational psychology necessary to execute on your decision. Resistance to change is natural.

That is why fintech initiatives should be driven top-down. Executive leadership should command these initiatives and set the vision. More important, executive leaders should explain why the institution is pursuing a fintech initiative and why it has decided to build, partner or outsource. Explaining why can reduce the natural resistance to, and fear of, change.

Manufacturing your own capabilities is hard work but has advantages. It provides maximum control over the project and limits your vendor management risk. The downside is that the skill sets required to execute are wide-ranging. That said, building in-house doesn’t mean that everything needs to be proprietary technology. Most fintech platforms are a combination of proprietary technology along with third-party customized components. Should you elect to build off of third-party software, you must ensure that the platform is highly configurable and customizable. If you don’t have significant influence over customization, you will lose the opportunity to reengineer the processes necessary to rapidly innovate and evolve.

Being the general contractor isn’t easy, either, but banks are very adept at it. You could make the argument that most banks are just an amalgamation of business lines, each of which employs a different system (mostly third-party) and are already operating as general contractors. The business line leaders we have come to know have significant experience managing critical third-party vendors and therefore have the skill set and knowledge to manage even the most innovative financial technology partners. What’s more, they often know what they would want their operating platforms to do, as opposed to what they are built to do today.
Should your institution decide to outsource services to a fintech firm, it is paramount to align interests. Banks should embrace their fintech counterparty as a partner, not simply a vendor. Welcome the flexibility that they offer, and allow them to empower your institution to innovate and evolve.

Don’t Squander the “Trust Asset”
In a world where Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple dominate the digital landscape, deliver ideal customer experiences, and may possess a “trust asset” of their own, the status quo is not an option, no matter how painful change can be. If your financial institution intends to compete over the long term, executing on a fintech road map is vital, moving towards infrastructures with a foundation of flexibility. Over the next decade, flexibility will allow financial services companies to compete more effectively by delivering the products, services and experiences that customers will demand. Flexibility is what will allow your institution to maintain its competitive position over the long term.

Sam Graziano, a highly experienced financial services executive and entrepreneur, is the co-founder and chief executive officer with Fundation Group LLC, a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider.

Fundation CEO Talks Partnership Strategy

As published in

Fundation CEO Sam Graziano says he prefers to stay under the radar and does not want to discuss hard numbers on his firm’s loan volume — but he makes it clear that Fundation’s partnership strategy has helped it take market share from rivals.

Graziano says his company, a credit solutions provider, is not an online lender in the traditional sense and does not invest in direct-to-customer marketing strategies. Fundation’s growth has come through partnerships with big banks and referral sources. “We’re trying to create a convenient way for those partners to bring customers to us,” Graziano says.

This seems to have given Fundation the edge on rivals such as OnDeck, despite the latter’s relationship with JPMorgan Chase. Rather than work with one megabank, Fundation has relationships with multiple banks across a broad product spectrum, Graziano says.

Fundation’s partnerships with big banks, which began in late 2015, have gained momentum, he says. Typically the banks source the transactions or Fundation performs lending activities on behalf of the bank, and in the future in the name of the bank, he says. “We will originate for the benefit of the bank’s balance sheet as well as our own,” Graziano says. “We’ve been able to do that while no other firms in the market have.”

One reason why banking institutions wanted to partner with Fundation, he says, is banks need to re-engineer their credit delivery process for small commercial loans and lines of credit. Working with a firm such as Fundation, which does the heavy lifting on behalf of the bank, is one option. Another route is to find a software solution that meets the bank’s need.

Fundation does business with big banks as well as groups of small banks to “move the needle” in terms of the volume the company does, Graziano says. His company also works with other firms that sell products and services or provide consulting to a small business. This lets Fundation introduce its own products through its partners. “We’re trying to build a defensible, strong portfolio as opposed to growth for growth’s sake,” Graziano says.

Capital backing for Fundation comes from private equity firm Garrison Investment Group and debt facilities with Goldman Sachs and Midcap Financial. Graziano says Fundation made a decision several years ago to adopt the partnership-driven strategy with regulated banks. It was a harder route to take, he says but offered the potential for a strong payoff.

Despite some turmoil among companies in the market for traditional customers, Graziano says Fundation actually took market share from competitors by not getting aggressive on pricing loans or loan approval rates — a mistake he says overzealous competitors made. “They wanted to grow for the sake of growing originations without making sure they had the right credit risk management framework in place,” he says.

More difficulties may lie ahead for online lenders as fatigue sets in among the investor community, who have grown weary of companies with little differentiation in their growth plans, the executive says. “There’s too many companies out there that do the same thing. That’s why you’re seeing companies try and exit, shut down, or run into walls.”

A crackdown on this market may also be in the works from state regulators, who are less hesitant about taking action. “There are some companies that have gotten away with things they shouldn’t have for a long time,” Graziano says. “The regulatory environment will start to shift to make it more challenging.”

EY announces Finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award in the New York Region

NEW YORK, May 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- EY today announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Award in the New York region. The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. These business leaders were selected by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a special gala on June 22, 2017 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The finalists are:
Morgan Hermand-Waiche - Adore Me
Jonathan Stein - Betterment
David Heath - Bombas
Ryan Urban - BounceX
Ken Colao - CNY Group
David Klein - CommonBond
Robert Reffkin - Compass
Dr. Joan Fallon - Curemark, LLC
Ran Sarig - Datorama, Inc.
Mike Brown - Death Wish Coffee
Nadia Boujarwah - Dia&Co
Thomas Majewski - Eagle Point Credit Management LLC
Michael Nardy - Electronic Payments Inc.
Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg - Flatiron Health
Doug Gordon and Sam Graziano - Fundation
Sonny Kalsi - GreenOak Real Estate
Jeffrey Snyder - Inspira Marketing Group, LLC
Daniel Teran - Managed by Q
Jonah Goodhart and Noah Goodhart - Moat
Dev Ittycheria - MongoDB, Inc.
Shafqat Islam - NewsCred
Mary-Jean Eastman and Bradford Perkins - Perkins Eastman
James Mastronardi and Andrew Vagenas - Pharmapacks, LLC
Seph Skerritt - Proper Cloth
Ricky Joshi and Ronald Rudzin - Saatva
Daniel Siegel - Safe Passage
Joe Reilly - The Community Development Trust, Inc.
Tom Patterson - Tommy John
Michael Batt - Travel Leaders Group
Nick Romito - VTS
Jeff Rosenzweig - Wet Brush
Kenny Dichter - Wheels Up
Stephen J. Fanning - Z-Medica, LLC

Now in its 31st year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year national program.  Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall National Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California on November 18, 2017. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum™, the nation's most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. The Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner then moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco in June 2018.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of The Year®, founded by EY, is the world's most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, chosen from an independent panel of judges including entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from business, finance, and the local community. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries.