Online small business lender Fundation has partnered with community bank consortium BancAlliance to improve community banks’ small business lending ability.

BancAlliance is a network of more than 200 community banks in 40 states. Their combined assets would make them the country’s fourth largest bank by total locations and thirteenth largest by total assets.

The initiative includes the launch of a fin-tech platform developed by the two companies which allows small businesses in need of funding to peruse different loan products.

Participating community banks see lower lending and customer service costs as they provide more financing options for their clients, the companies said. New lenders have been invited to the platform in order to provide borrowers with additional choice.

BancAlliance board member and Bank of Bennington CEO Leslie Andersen said community banks are well-positioned to maximize the benefits of this new platform.

“Small businesses need credit to grow and add jobs, and community banks are the best lenders to serve them but have struggled with the costs of building their own systems and processes. This BancAlliance program gives its community bank members access to the best and latest technology, freeing banks like mine to deliver for our customers and help our local economies thrive.”

Fundation CEO Sam Graziano said community banks will see dramatically increased service capacity.

“Small businesses are so important to the economy and an extremely diverse market. They have demonstrated that they value the relationships they have with their bank, and continue to prefer to access financial products from their bank when possible.

This program will dramatically broaden the number of small business customers that can be served through the community bank system, and we are thrilled to be in a position to enable that.”