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BankiFi Partners With Praetura to Expand Small Business Funding Access in UK

FinTech BankiFi has partnered with financier Praetura to develop a lending-as-a-service solution for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the U.K.

The platform is specifically designed to help SMEs access growth funding, even if they do not meet the requirements of traditional banks, according to a Wednesday (Feb. 21) news release on The Business Desk.

Through BankiFi’s technology platform, Praetura will provide asset and invoice finance to SMEs on behalf of banks that are unable to support these businesses, per the release.

This solution allows traditional lenders to cater to the various financing needs of small businesses, with Praetura taking on the risk of the initial investment, according to the release. The banks are positioned as the primary finance providers; once the businesses have grown and meet the eligibility criteria, they are referred back to the bank.

 “We’ve built great relationships with high street banks due to our bank-friendly distribution model and our ability to leverage the benefits of open banking,” Mark Hartley, chief executive and founder at BankiFi, said.

“Our partnership with Praetura is the natural evolution of our existing SME payment solutions, which have focused on reducing the time SMEs spend collecting money and helping them to manage cash flow, growth and now access finance.”

Peadar O’Reilly, chief executive of Praetura Lending, added: “Praetura’s initial investment in BankiFi was driven by the shared vision of addressing market gaps for SMEs. There isn’t anyone in the U.K. that has the combined senior funding lines, specialist lending expertise and technology capability to help fund this gap for SMEs in the market.

“This unique partnership signals a new era for SME lending, demonstrating a commitment to innovation, collaboration and meeting the diverse needs of businesses,” O’Reilly added.

BankiFi specializes in payment processing and financial administration services for SMEs and has received backing from Praetura Ventures since September 2021, according to the release. The company has been working to revitalize banks’ relationships with SMEs, with an emphasis on placing banks at the core of business operations.

This partnership with Praetura further strengthens BankiFi’s commitment to providing a solution that aligns with the demands of SMEs, the release said.

PYMNTS Intelligence has noted a correlation between a small business’s revenue and its likelihood of using credit.

According to SMB Borrowing Dynamics: Trends, Tools and Decision Drivers,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and U.S. Bank collaboration, SMBs’ approach to borrowing is significantly influenced by their revenue size, with 20% of low-revenue SMBs avoiding borrowing in the last year.