As a member of a Board of Directors at an almost $1 Billion bank, I am always looking for strategies to free our Resource Managers from the struggles of paperwork and backroom activities. The more feet on the street we can get, the better off we are. To make that happen bankers need tools and Akouba Credit is one of the best around.
Founder and CEO Chris Rentner has an extensive background in both asset management and startups. He help found Akouba Credit in 2013 and after two years of testing with Chicago area banks, the company is ready to have its coming out party in January. Akouba Credit is a state of the art underwriting platform. It helps community banks qualify opportunities faster and in our experience it is time, not rate, that helps seal the deal with a small to medium size business. The neat thing is that the bank keeps the asset on its books – something we all need.
Executing on an approach that is tailored to each bank and its underwriting standards, Akouba Credit can provide bank clients the right loans under the right terms within 48 hours. This has allowed the pilot clients to:
We are always looking for new tools that make our lives simpler and to make it easier for the client to do business with us. Simple financing is just one of these tools and Akouba Credit seems to have cracked the code on small business lending.
You know the adage, big things come in small packages, right? Don’t believe it? Just take a look at small business loans. Nothing puny about them. Today, the under $250,000 line of credit represents the second-largest loan market in the U.S.
But banks are missing the boat.
In the past year, online small business loans have increased by more than 250 percent, while small business bank lending has decreased by three percent. That bears repeating. Online lenders are up 250 percent; banks are down three percent!
So it’s easy to understand why banks are scratching their heads or shaking their fists. Or both.
Yes, it’s true that Millennial whippersnappers are drawn to online lenders like they are to craft beer and artisanal cheese. But, they are just front runners in a stampede. Small business owners need – not prefer, NEED – ease-of-access, streamlined processes, and 24/7 availability. Most of these folks are doing their banking in the middle of the night or on weekends. What they don’t need – what they loathe, but are willing to accept for the sake of ease – are those exorbitant online lender rates. And, they actually would prefer to have a real-live person, a friendly face from their neighborhood, in their corner. These online lending drawbacks are where banks excel.
So, why don’t banks snap to it and get on the small business loan bandwagon? They can’t. Two reasons: Paltry ROI and outdated systems. Paltry ROI. It takes a comparable amount of time to secure and service a $25,000 loan as it does a $5 million loan. You do the math. Outdated Systems. Most banks use Jurassic infrastructure and technology. Sorry, but it’s true. And these hamper their ability to support quick turnaround and smooth loan review/processing/approval. Banks may be big, but they’re not nimble and change takes time and money.
How about this, a little bit more salt in the wound, and then I’ll provide some salve? Did I mention that because they avail themselves of state-of-the-art technology, online lenders are three times more efficient at making lending decisions? I know that hurts.
But did you also know that $100 Billion a year in prospective small business loans go completely unfunded?! Not to banks. Not to online lenders. Small businesses just max out their credit cards or do without growth. Very frustrating for everyone.
The salve is SaaS (software as a service)—platforms that work with banks to make loan review and processing a snap. Here are FIVE reasons banks should avail themselves of this financial tech.
With the right software and guidance, small banks and credit unions can offer alluring rates to small businesses that otherwise would be forced to forego growth or agree to palpitation-inducing lender rates.
Think of tech as an extra set of hands—bankers, loan processors, and salespeople can focus on bigger accounts while software expedites small business loans. Done well, the partnership enables banks to welcome small clients with wide arms, keeping loans on their own books, instead of someone else’s. And small loan borrowers get exactly what they need as quickly as they need it.
Chris Rentner is CEO of Akouba Credit, an innovator in cloud-based SaaS platforms for banks. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Akouba Credit provides lenders an algorithmic underwriting platform that reduces the cost and time required for banks to issue a small business loan. The platform, customized to each lender's underwriting principles, allows small businesses to apply and track their application electronically, with results delivered within 48 hours.
Prior to co-founding Akouba, Rentner led investment firm Full Ahead Ventures (FAV) as its President. FAV invested in and operated companies ranging from early stage technology companies, to consumer products and transportation companies. He also served as founder and president of Chicago Marine Asset Management, an intermodal transportation company.
2. Mills, Karen. "Online Banks Fill Funding Needs for Small Business." Harvard Business School Working
3. Knowledge. Harvard Business School, Sept.-Oct. 2014.