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B-North taps Wiserfunding for SME credit risk assessment

Source: B-North

B-North, the firm building an SME lending bank for the UK, has chosen Wiserfunding as its risk grading partner.

This key element of B-North’s underwriting strategy will help the lender become more confident when assessing the credit profile of SMEs and, consequently, turn customer cases around faster and more accurately than other market participants - whilst also supporting B-North underwriters to make better informed lending decisions.

Wiserfunding is a market-leading credit risk assessment solution which adopts the use of AI and cloud technology to source the most up to date structured and unstructured data and generate the Altman SME Z-score, used to predict a company’s viability. With a strong focus on small to medium enterprises (SMEs), Wiserfunding has 90% prediction accuracy when assessing the credit risk of SMEs. B-North will use tools such as Wiserfunding’s prediction solution alongside traditional ‘human’ underwriting methods, all with the aim of making better informed lending decisions.

Tapping into the UK SME lending market valued at over £150 billion per year, B-North’s model is built upon the premise of operating regional ‘lending pods’ which include specialist lending bankers, underwriters and valuers across the UK. These regional teams build face-to-face relationships with growing businesses and finance intermediaries to deliver debt capital efficiently. Through its model of rich client relationships and utilisation of cloud banking technology B-North aims to deliver lending up to 10x faster than the market standard.

The partnership follows the recent news of B-North’s appointment of Rebecca Owen as Regional Managing Director for B-North’s first lending pod, due to open in Manchester in 2020. Wiserfunding is the latest addition to B-North’s sophisticated tech-stack: other solutions include Mambu’s banking engine, nCino’s cloud-based loan and deposit origination solution and Trunarrative’s regtech platform for compliance and onboarding.

B-North continues to make strong regulatory, commercial and technical progress and expects to commence lending activities later in 2020.

Jonathan Thompson, CEO of B-North, has commented:
“As we prepare to launch our UK regional SME lending bank, we can see that unsatisfied market demand is increasing, against a challenging economic backdrop where borrower choice is reducing. At a time like this it is even more important that we deploy dynamic underwriting strategies, and use the best technology to support our people in making great lending decisions.

“The fact that Wiserfunding specialises in the SME sector and allows us to draw on its innovative predictive capabilities, makes it a perfect fit for B-North and it’s goals.

“Whilst underwriting decisions in B-North will ultimately be down to human judgement. Wiserfunding will allow us to deepen our understanding of potential borrowers whilst allowing us to accelerate the process of lending to SMEs.”

Dr. Gabriele Sabato, CEO & Co-Founder of Wiserfunding, has commented:
”Without any doubt, B-North represents one of the most exciting and credible specialist SME banks that is about to launch in the UK. So, we are really pleased to have the opportunity to support them in building their business.

“Our mission at Wiserfunding is to empower SMEs’ growth, but our powerful risk assessment platform would not go very far without SME lending experts such as the B-North team.

“In this difficult moment for the UK economy, we look forward to powering up B-North origination, allowing them to support a larger number of small businesses by drastically reducing their decisioning time.”

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