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NatWest to launch speedy SME digital lending platform

Published 17 February 2017

NatWest is launching a new digital platform to accelerate the lending process for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The new platform, codenamed Esme, has been designed to give fast decision to customers about their loan application.

The loans can be obtained, potentially within an hour, if the application is approved.

The bank also stated that customers can benefit from no early repayment charges.

According to the bank, the scheme took shape as a means to simplify and speed up lending process and has been developed in response to direct and P2P lending platforms.

The lending platform also offers a maximum period of five years to repay the loan amount. This new loan scheme can be availed by UK SME customers who may or may not have an account with NatWest.

The new scheme is said to have taken birth at the bank’s ’innovation cell’, working with Fintech – Ezbob. It has been developed in response to the emergence of innovative direct and P2P lending platforms, with aim to simplify and speed up lending process.

The launch of the digital loan platform is part of the bank’s digital agenda and follows the launch of Nift, a software platform that helps customers read and understand ‘Terms and Conditions’.

In the coming five years, the bank is planning to invest about £70m to offer its non-personal banking customers the best digital experience.

NatWest commercial and private banking CEO Alison Rose said: “We are excited to launch the trial of Esme this week offering SMEs yet more choice in how they access the funding they need to invest and grow.

“Esme will offer SMEs a quick decision and almost instant funding, allowing those customers to go on and do what they do best – run a business. Through Capital Connections, our panel of five P2P and alternative lenders, we’ve already broadened choices for customers but we wanted to go one step further and create our own alternative lending platform.

“At NatWest we are committed to designing, developing and trialling innovative customer solutions so we can offer services and products that will really make a difference to our customers.”

Image: NatWest introduces new digital lending platform for UK SMEs. Photo: Courtesy of Royal Bank of Scotland.