Banking platform Trade Ledger has extended its UK partnership with Equifax to bid for a government-designed scheme in order to create a technology-led credit profile for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The firms will bid for the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Capability and Innovation Fund, which was set up by the government to distribute £775m of money from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), as a condition of its state bailout in 2008.
The fund was designed to improve the financial products and services available to SMEs.
Trade Ledger will work with business and consumer insights expert Equifax to create a portable credit file solution for SMEs. They will do this using open banking and open accounting technologies.
“We’re acutely aware of the challenges faced by UK SMEs as a result of Covid-19, and want to play our part in supporting their recovery,” said Jayadeep Nair, chief product and marketing officer at Equifax UK.
“Using technology such as APIs and open banking, plus a combination of traditional and new data sources, we can build a better and more accurate picture of an SME’s financial health in real time.
“For SMEs, having a way of showing their stability and creditworthiness based upon the most current data is crucial to accessing finance as they look to rebuild after the pandemic.”
As part of the new collaboration, Equifax have also committed to joining Trade Ledger’s SME fintech taskforce, formed at the end of March to establish a new business credit origination and underwriting infrastructure for lenders in the wake of Covid-19.
Current taskforce members include leading UK fintechs Nimbla, Wiserfunding & Northrow.
“Now more than ever, the UK’s smaller businesses need us to be on their side, so we’re delighted to partner with Equifax on the concept for a service which, if we are successful, will deliver tangible benefits to hundreds of thousands of hard-pressed SMEs and lenders simultaneously,” said Martin McCann, co-founder and chief executive of Trade Ledger.
“By leveraging our unique open platform for SME finance and unique commercial data assets from Equifax, we have the chance to play a significant role in driving the UK’s recovery from Covid-19, as well as building a more sustainable and competitive financial services sector after.”
This follows business finance aggregator platform Funding Xchange partnering with Enterprise Nation to bid for the fund in order to build the Enterprise Nation Finance Portal to help businesses access the finance they require.