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.”


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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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


About 10 Minutes is All it Takes: Bank of the West's FinTech Solution Delivers Small Business Express Lending - Fast, Easy Access to Capital

SAN FRANCISCOApril 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Bank of the West announced today the launch of Small Business Express Lending– an online platform designed for small businesses seeking business capital. Through a 10 minute application online at www.bankofthewest.com/expresslending, upon approval, small businesses can receive up to $100,000 in as little as two business days. Small Business Express Lending is also available in branches, providing full digital capabilities and bankers with expertise to help when needed.

“Small businesses are the bedrock of the U.S. economy,” said Michelle Di Gangi, Executive Vice President and Head of Small and Medium Enterprise at Bank of the West. “I come from a family of small business owners and learned early on the critical need for this type of financing coupled with access to business banking experts when you need them. We want to be the financial advocate that helps small businesses grow and thrive in the communities we serve.”

Small Business Express Lending was built in collaboration with fintech firm, Fundation, to deliver fast, simple applications for small business owners. “Customer expectations when consuming financial services products have and will continue to change,” said Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation Group LLC. “We’re excited to collaborate with Bank of the West, a leader in innovation, to offer a market leading borrowing experience for small business owners.”

The Small Business Express Lending Platform:

  • Uses a simple, online application that can be completed at home or in a Bank of the West branch with the help of a small business banking expert.
  • Provides rapid approval and funding in as little as two business days for up to $100,000.
  • Includes Business Lines of Credit, Business Credit Cards, and Non-Real Estate Term Loan products.
  • Saves time through its convenient start-to-finish digital application with closing via electronic signature.

About Bank of the West

We are driven by our fundamental belief in redefining banking for a better future. At a time when people demand more from companies, we are taking action to ensure our activities help protect the planet, improve people’s lives, and strengthen communities. That’s why we are focusing on areas where we can have a real impact: supporting energy transition, helping enable women entrepreneurs and financing innovative start-ups. As the bank for a changing world, Bank of the West is committed to sustainable finance along with our parent company BNP Paribas. Through Digital Channels and offices across the U.S., Bank of the West provides financial tools and resources to more than 2 million individuals, families and businesses.

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.

Deposit and loan products offered by Bank of the West, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. © 2019 Bank of the West. Doing business in South Dakota as Bank of the West California.


Provident Bank to expand small business loans with Fundation

Provident Bank and Fundation announced Tuesday the launch of a program to expand small business loan approvals for customers of the Jersey City-based bank.

With the new feature, small businesses can apply for term loans ranging from $15,000 to $250,000 and lines of credit from $20,000 to $150,000 and receive funds in as soon as one business day.

Fundation Chief Executive Officer Sam Graziano said the company’s platform was developed to serve the small business community with speed and convenience.

“This will enable us to effectively serve the growing small business market by providing the capital many small businesses need to grow and reach their full potential,” Josephine Moran, Provident Bank executive vice president, director of retail banking, said in a prepared statement. “In turn, this will assist these businesses to flourish and create new jobs in our communities.”

Virginia-based Fundation provides credit solutions through technology and application processing services.

Provident Bank is celebrating its 180th birthday this week by offering customers the chance to win prizes and enter a giveaway. On Wednesday, refreshments will be served at all branches to commemorate the occasion.


Provident Bank Launches Digital Lending Capability for Small Business Customers Powered by Fundation

Program will expedite and expand small business loan approvals for Provident Bank customers

ISELIN, N.J. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Provident Bank and Fundation today announced a new digital lending solution that will enable the New Jersey-based bank to offer a new, streamlined, end-to-end, lending program for small businesses seeking a business loan or line of credit. The solution enables small businesses to apply for term loans from $15,000 to $250,000 and lines of credit from $20,000 to $150,000, through a simple application and receive funds in as 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 2014, less than one-in-five credit applicants (18 percent) sought financing at an online lender, rising to nearly one-in-four (24 percent) in 2017.

“We’re proud to extend our commitment to small businesses through this strategic alliance with Fundation,” said Josephine Moran, Executive Vice President, Director of Retail Banking. “This will enable us to effectively serve the growing small business market by providing the capital many small businesses need to grow and reach their full potential. In turn, this will assist these businesses to flourish and create new jobs in our communities,” concluded Moran.

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 bank partner. Aided with this new capability, Provident Bank will be able to offer their local small business customers a market leading lending program.”

Small business owners can apply online at Provident Bank or visit their local Provident branch to apply in-person, where they will be able to work with a Banking Center Manager to assist them with their application.

About Provident Bank

Provident Bank, a community-oriented bank offering “Commitment you can count on” since 1839, is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $9.73 billion as of December 31, 2018. With $6.83 billion in deposits, Provident Bank provides a comprehensive suite of financial products and services through its network of branches throughout northern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The Bank also provides fiduciary and wealth management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company. For more information about Provident Bank, please visit www.provident.bank or join the conversations on Facebook (ProvidentBank) and Twitter (@ProvidentBank).

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.

Contacts

Media:

Provident Bank
Keith Buscio, 732-590-9407
Keith.Buscio@provident.bank

Fundation
Barry Feierstein, 571-418-6387
Barry.Feierstein@fundation.com

Bridget Nagle
Sard Verbinnen & Co (SIVIC)
630 Third Avenue, New York NY 10017 | 212.687.8080 | sardverb.com


Case study: Citizens Bank – fintech friendly

US heavyweight pivots for digital era

Citizens Bank, headquartered in Providence Rhode Island, 50 miles south of Boston, is the 13th largest bank in the US with $158.6 billion in assets. Beyond its physical locations in 11 states, it is using digital platforms to reach customers across the nation loans and savings products.

Since undertaking an IPO spinout from RBS in 2014, Citizens Bank has moved quickly to develop digital capability across the bank including peer-to-peer (P2P), trade finance, robo investment advisory, digital small business lending and an entirely digital savings bank, Citizens Access. In its drive to digital, Citizens is working with fintech partners, developing its own solutions and sponsoring hackathons.

“We’re doing quite a bit in digital,” says Charles Beyrouthy, assistant vice-president at Citizens. “We have quite a few different programs including partnerships with fintechs and fintech initiatives.”

The bank wants to be part of customers’ lives in a way they don’t have to think about, he added. It is working on artificial intelligence to understand customers’ spending habits so it can suggest ways to save for a specific objective, like a vacation, by setting aside a reasonable amount toward that goal on each payday.

The emphasis is on making it easy for customers by presenting information they can act on rather than leaving them to research to see what is available.

“Providing capabilities is not enough; we have to provide them in a way that is intuitive.”

To understand their customers better, bank staff get beyond data to spend time with clients.

“That is often under-done by tech companies and banks,” says Beyrouthy.

In his strategy role, Beyrouthy works between fintechs and the line of business (LOB) organisations in the bank.

“We do quite a bit of due diligence and work with folks in different verticals,” he explains. “We think about how the technology could work — the LOBs are the ones who are dealing with the customers, they understand who the customers are and how the customers could use the technology. Our job is to empower the LOBs in terms of seeing the value of the technology.”

To get out on the cutting edge, the bank is reaching out to local universities, meeting with startups and sponsoring hackathons.

In July 2018, Citizens hosted a hackathon and brought in 150 innovators in different technologies and tech enthusiasts to innovate around four themes:

  • 360-degree engagement with customers by consolidating all the customer information the bank has.
  • Liquidity crystal ball — what tools can Citizens provide to help customers understand their cashflow challenges.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital engagement — how can Citizens leverage AI platforms to increase its response rate and support capabilities to its customers.
  • Social banking — how can Citizens better deliver more personalised products to its customers.

“The idea was for us to get insight into initiatives at MIT, Harvard and U Mass and see how, or if, they could be applied to the bank, how they could help us innovate and think differently about the future of banking. From that point we started talking about proofs of concept and we have had some great collaborations.”

Working with fintechs, especially new fintechs, presents some challenges for a bank in due diligence – especially around security and compliance but also the financial stability of the fintech.

“We have a cybersecurity team that looks into the risk,” Beyrouthy says, “and we are launching a broader initiative to work with fintechs that aren’t product-ready but might be in the future.”

Fintechs can offer a bank some new approaches to customer experience, he adds, including AI, chat bots, analytics and personalisation.

Charles Beyrouthy, Citizens: “We are fintech friendly and very interested in helping them grow”

“In the past six months we have talked to 200-plus start-ups; we are committed to really aggressively pursue this market. We are fintech friendly and very interested not only in partnership with them but also in helping them grow. A lot of fintechs are looking for a partner willing to coach them in how to approach the market.”

Fintechs are often focused on the front end of finance — customers and customer experience — things they understand as customers themselves.

“Customers want to interact with the bank more than most people realise,” Beyrouthy notes. “We are already involved quite a bit with our customers and I anticipate that as our technology capabilities grow we are going to be much more involved. We are very focused on being able to bring the product the customer needs at the right time, being able to personalise the experience, understand where they want to spend, how they can better spend it and develop a payment that is personalised to that experience.

“A lot of banks are not able to clearly comprehend the extent to how customers are engaged in a digital space.”

The bank’s new credit card has been very successful, although it went through a few iterations to arrive at what it offers today. When it launched, the Citizens card offered 1.5% cash back, plus another 10%, or 1.65%, if you used it once a month for six months, plus another 10% if you deposited the cash back in a Citizens account. It all got a bit too complex, and in 2017 the bank decided to simplify the card and just set the cash back at 1.8%.Nerdwallet, a financial rating site, approved.

“Power to the people!” wrote Robin Saks Frankel on the site. “If you’re carrying the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World Mastercard, that is. This card’s flat cash-back rate of 1.8% on all purchases puts it ahead of a slew of cards from bigger banks offering 1.5%. But the lack of a sign-up bonus or the opportunity to earn bonus rewards might cast a bit of a pall over some in the crowd… If you like the idea of simple straightforward rewards, this might be the right card for you.”

But it is in digital capabilities that Citizens is doing really well. It has a partnership with Fundation, a digitally-based lending provider to process applications for small business loans. It lets small businesses apply for a loan or line of credit through a simple online application and receive a decision the same day in most cases. For some businesses that who do not meet Citizens’ credit requirements, Fundation will provide loans itself, expanding the number of businesses that can obtain credit through their Citizens Bank application.

Peter Wannamacher, principal analyst at Forrester, approves of the joint approach.

Banks dislike turning down small business loans, since it often has other relationships with the business owner — such as business and personal checking accounts, credit cards, student loans for the business owner’s children and perhaps a mortgage. Rejecting a loan application might be very harsh for the business owner, but being able to say the bank can help her get a loan from another source can be very powerful. And if the business is growing, it may qualify for a bank loan soon.

“Banks want good relationships with SME owners and operators, whether or not that operator is someone they can lend to,” Wannamacher adds.

Sam Graziano, CEO of Fundation, says the partnership has created a model for a bank and fintech to work together.

“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.”

In 2017, Citizens launched SpeciFi, which offers consumers a unified view of their banking and investment accounts from their online banking homepage through the SigFig platform.

“We think SpeciFi is a game-changing service that will make investing more accessible to a larger set of customers, while providing an entirely personalised and integrated banking and investing experience,” states the bank’s spokesperson.

The bank charges clients 0.5% for assets under management, about half what brokers typically charge, but more than some pure robo firms, including the 0.25% SigFig charges as a standalone platform, with no charge on the first $10,000.

The spokesperson explains: “SpeciFi from Citizens Investment Services offers customers an integrated view of their bank accounts and investment accounts all in one place, with the ability to move money among accounts simply. One fee covers both the investment management service and the cost of trades.

“SpeciFi customers also have the opportunity to consult with a financial advisor by phone for no additional charge, and/or set up an in-person consultation with one of our branch-based financial advisors who can offer advice on a range of investment products and services.”

For its commercial banking platform, the bank has turned to Bottomline Technologies to offer an integrated suite of cash management and payment services that can be tailored by market or industry segment. Citizens says it selected Bottomline after extensive industry research for its intuitive navigation; simplified transactions; integrated payment workflows and user self-service capabilities.

Digital tools like Bottomline help reduce paper and friction. Beyrouthy said the bank is continually working to increase digitalisation of processes to provide better customer services and faster processing.

In April 2018 the bank announced it would work with Indian system integrator and technology provider Infosys to implement Finastra’s flagship trade finance solution, Fusion Trade Innovation. The bank says the new solution this will “enable Citizens’ corporate clients to digitise traditionally paper-based trade processes, leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs”.

Michael Cummins, head of treasury solutions at Citizens, says the bank was also looking at other corporate banking solutions, such as syndicated lending and supply chain finance, that Finastra could provide.

The bank’s technology received some detailed coverage in the annual report where the banks said it had a focus on open architecture to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment and harness innovation. Citizens also said it would place a greater emphasis on cloud computing to drive efficiencies and re-engineer its development away from waterfall to more agile development.

By Tom Groenfeldt, editorial contributor to FinTech Futures


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 Bancofcal.com 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 www.fundation.com.

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.

Contacts

Media:
Fundation
Barry Feierstein, 571-418-6387
Barry.Feierstein@fundation.com