Trade Ledger and Equifax extend partnership to support bid for Capability & Innovation Fund (CIF) to transform SME credit scoring

Trade Ledger, the global banking platform, and Equifax, the consumer and business insights expert, have announced an extended partnership for the UK market which will bid for the BCR Capability and Innovation fund. The fund is part of the RBS Alternative Remedies Package, designed to improve the financial products and services available to small and medium enterprises.

Trade Ledger’s advanced loan origination and servicing technology, currently being implemented in a number of tier-one UK banks and alternative finance providers, has been purpose built to securely aggregate, store and transform any type of structured data directly from common SME applications like accounting packages to facilitate better digital credit products. It also combines transaction data from banks and credit history data from credit bureaus, such as Equifax to help better underwrite risk.

Building on an established data collaboration relationship, the two parties plan to work together to create a portable credit file solution for SMEs. The proposition will use breakthrough financial technologies such as Open Banking and Open Accounting to enable UK SMEs to build their credit profile.

If successful, the solution will be the first time a dedicated SME lending automation platform and a commercial credit bureau have collaborated on a fully interoperable credit passport for SMEs with the capability of being used to expedite and improve the entire credit application process for lenders and SMEs alike.

Martin McCann, co-founder and Chief Executive of Trade Ledger, comments: “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.

“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.”

Jayadeep Nair, Chief Product & Marketing Officer at Equifax UK, said: “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. 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.”

Equifax has been part of the SME sector in the UK for over 40 years, delivering credit reports, scores and credit limits. Equifax is one of the world’s largest information services businesses and, with circa 10,000 clients in the UK, has established relationships with the majority of the commercial lending market.

As part of the new collaboration, Equifax have also committed to joining Trade Ledger’s SME fintech taskforce, formed 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.