NatWest-backed Esme Loans has signed a tech deal with Microsoft to build a cloud-based data warehouse and AI-assisted customer support.
Esme Loans was developed by the bank at its innovation unit with fintech firm Ezbob as a direct response to the emergence of specialist direct and P2P lending platforms.
Launched at the beginning of 2017, Esme offers UK-based SMEs a fast, paperless commitment on unsecured loan amounts up to £150,000. The digital lender has approved over £59million of lending to UK businesses since launch.
Following a proof of concept with a number of providers in late 2018, Esme Loans has begun work with the US tech giant to introduce the new technology as soon as April this year. Under the deal, Microsoft will build an online data repository capable of simplifying integration with third parties and providing a faster end-to-end application process for customers.
Esme says it will also use the technology to build an AI assisted chat bot on its website, helping answer common customer queries and assist with the application process at critical points.
Richard Kerton, CEO and co-founder of Esme Loans, stated “We are excited to form this partnership with Microsoft as their technology can help us support increased numbers of SME customers with a simpler end to end lending process, and also provide us with a greater understanding of our customers’ needs."