I’ve had several meetings with Nick Elders, Vice President of Technology Solutions and Services at Community Reinvestment Fund about their online small business lending platform, Spark. It allows CDFIs to improve their lending process efficiency, save money and increase volume while maintaining internal control of underwriting.
Spark is cloud-based, and offers both borrower-facing and lender-facing portals, allowing 24/7 access. A potential borrower can create an account to complete an application, upload supporting documents, check the status of their applications and communicate with their lending officer.
Spark has built-in underwriting guidelines for SBA loan products and can customize modules for your organization’s specific loan programs. It also comes with portfolio reporting, underwriting summaries and disbursement management.
I’m hoping to lure Nick out to California in early 2017 to present Spark to the California CDFI network.
It is important for community lenders to adopt lending technology: borrowers have come to expect ease, speed, and mobile-access in all things. By evolving with the online environment, CDFIs better serve their communities and protect vulnerable entrepreneurs from usurious lenders.