Behalf and FinWise Bank team to boost SME lending options
Utah-based FinWise Bank, a subsidiary of All West Bancorp, has partnered with alternative small business lender Behalf, writes Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).
Together the companies hope to provide a broader range of financing solutions to a greater number of SME clients. “We founded Behalf in advocacy of small businesses and solving their working capital needs with innovative technology solutions is our central focus,” company co-founder and CEO Benjy Feinberg says.
“Partnering with FinWise allows us to expand our product offering and serve more customers with financial tools that help them grow,” he adds.
Behalf enables its merchant partners to offer business clients instant credit and flexible payment terms at the point of sale. In fact, term flexibility is the key area of focus for Behalf, especially because it is a key pain point for many small businesses. By paying vendors directly “on behalf” of small businesses – as well as managing repayment and collections – Behalf gives small businesses the ability to match financing terms with the needs and timetable of their business, not the other way around. Vendors enjoy working with Behalf because they get paid on day one as opposed to day 29 or day 89, Feinberg comments.
Behalf produces credit decisions in real-time. Business clients provide personal and business addresses, as well as a social security number, and Behalf tells them what size credit line the business qualifies for. Businesses can use the line of credit for both online and offline purchases, and the size of the client’s available line of credit increases each time the client pays off Behalf. Rather than negotiating terms with multiple vendors, Behalf director of product Andrew Abshere explains, the Behalf client now has flexible terms with a single payee. Customer can take these terms with them anywhere, to any vendor, Abshere says. Clients can set up vendor payments directly through the Behalf platform, adjust the length and frequency of repayment, and add bank details to enable automatic repayment. Once the bank information is authorised, Behalf contacts the client’s vendors by e-mail, notifying them that Behalf will be paying “on behalf” of the client. The process takes less than five minutes.
David Tillis, VP of speciality lending at FinWise Bank, praises Behalf’s “talented people, technology, and acquisition channel” which he says will “change the landscape of business lending”. A self-described, “financial tech bank with a community heart”, FinWise Bank was founded in 2000. Also known as Utah Community Bank, FinWise Bank has teamed up with fintechs in the lending space before, most recently partnering with direct loan provider, LendingPoint, in March this year.
Behalf was founded in 2011 and is based in New York City. Behalf has raised $156 million in funding to date, including a $27 million Series C last year. MissionOG, Spark Capital, and Viola Growth are among the company’s investors.
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