Through small business finance broker Funding Options, around 20 alternative lenders will now have the power to receive open banking data directly to begin making loans, AltFi reported Tuesday (April 7).
Among the recipient lenders of the new digital practice are Iwoca, Liberis, Just Cashflow, White Oak UK, Newable and YouLend, among others.
Funding Options said the new access is a big boost from the cumbersome and time-consuming way things had been done, with individual statements having to be updated via PDF.
With the coronavirus pandemic causing shutdowns, lenders in the U.K., as in the rest of the world, have been inundated as of late with requests for loans.
Funding Options said the new option will let lenders access the data they need. Borrowers will have the ability to send data, which can be standardized and shared securely via an application programming interface (API).
Funding Options CEO Simon Cureton said the process is "a very slick digital way" to go about the practice. The new technology is the result of collaboration with AccountScore to create the API, and also mutual agreements with the numerous lenders participating.
Cureton called the impact of the coronavirus "absolutely huge" and said in a single day, the company had seen more than £100 million in requests for loans. By the end of march, more than £1 billion had been requested. The numbers came out to a doubling or tripling of the amounts that had been requested before the crisis just months ago.
He added that many of the newer lenders cropping up since the last financial crisis, such as those participating in the program, are alternative and haven't traditionally been included by the bigger banks. Most of them are not eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), though some such as Iwoca have been working with the British Business Bank to try and gain accreditation.
The participation of lenders in the coronavirus pandemic is crucial — according to the Association of Alternative Business Finance in a letter to the chancellor, many lenders will have to call it quits if they don't get access.