#VCThoughts | Community Banks and Fintechs Partnerships to Help Small Business

Posted on May 20, 2020
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By Wayne Miller,

Executive Director, The Venture Center

Back in early March, The Venture Center team was in the midst of the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program working with some of the most ambitious and talented fintech founders in the world to drive solutions helpful to community banks and their customers. To say that our world has changed since then could be the understatement of the Century. One thing that’s remained constant? Despite sweeping changes, community bank and fintech partnerships have been successful, and continued innovation will be critical while small business owners navigate the new world of the PPP Loans. Collaboration to tackle the task at hand has been our main area of focus over the past several weeks.

But what exactly is the task at hand? Well, we’re all learning as we go. When we first embarked upon this journey, we’d never before seen a government aid program the magnitude of the CARES Act implemented so quickly and affecting so many small businesses. The bankers servicing these loans have risen to the challenge, working around the clock to help small businesses suffering from the devastating economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. These men and women stood ready to do the work, much of which remained undefined until they started.

Many eagle-eyed fintech founders saw ways to help banks process the deluge of loan applications, and jumped into the effort. With lightning speed, companies like Teslar developed products to help bankers through the process. The application process was just the first step in getting small businesses back on their feet.

Processed and distributed loans, particularly those from the government, require extensive servicing. Community banks across the nation have been working through all of the requirements and reporting required of these loans and the loan forgiveness process, but the details involved aren’t clear yet – guidance continues to evolve. 

Fintechs seeking to serve community bank partners today require a herculean amount of flexibility and agility to navigate an always-changing terrain. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and AIR, the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, to identify the fintechs most able to handle the challenges coming around the next corner related to reporting, tracking, and calculating loan forgiveness.

To address these and other PPP concerns, ICBA, in partnership with AIR, the Alliance for Innovative Regulation and The Venture Center, is hosting the PPP Tech Loan Forgiveness Solution Sprint. This virtual event will showcase cutting-edge technologies to address managing PPP loan forgiveness requirements. During the two-hour event Thursday, May 21 at 11:00 am CST, 12 cutting-edge fintech companies will each conduct five-minute product demos of their PPP-specific offerings before participating in a two-minute Q&A with community bank leaders. 

Empowering partnerships between community banks and fintechs is key to successfully executing the next steps in the PPP Loan process. We are honored to play a role in bringing fintechs and banks together to find meaningful solutions to this next great challenge. 

Register for the event today at https://bit.ly/ppptech.