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4 Ways SBA Lenders Can Cultivate More Efficient Processes

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For many years, SBA lending has looked the same. Despite significant technological innovation and cloud transformation, many of the steps and processes involved in originating small business loans have remained stuck in the past. Unfortunately, this has prevented the majority of lenders from growing their client bases and bottom lines. Sound familiar?

4 Ways to Improve Efficiency

Historically, lending hasn’t been the most efficient or modern process. Admittedly, there’s a lot that goes into the underwriting and due diligence processes, but slow is the only way to describe it. 

Thankfully, the tides are changing. Thanks to new technology and shifting perspectives, there are now ample opportunities to improve efficiency and smooth over rigid processes. Here are a few ways SBA lenders can follow the lead:

 

  • Recruit the Right People

 

When it comes to building any business, people are the gasoline to the engine. Without the right people on your team, even the best processes will come to an abrupt halt. However, if you look at most small business lenders, you’ll discover that they don’t have any formal process for consistently recruiting, training, developing, and retaining skilled loan officers and other team members. This is problematic.

Your business might be fine right now, but there are no guarantees that your best people will still be here in 12 months, two years, or five years. You must constantly recruit top talent into the fold so that you can improve over time. 

A good recruitment strategy starts with your brand. While factors like competitive pay and benefits certainly matter, you need a clearly defined value proposition and online web presence that people connect with. Because as soon as a talented loan officer sees that you’re hiring, they’re going to start by vetting your company online. If you don’t meet the smell test – meaning they could see themselves being a part of your team – you’ll never consistently recruit top talent.

As you collect applications and conduct interviews, analyze applicants based on their soft skills. You can teach hard, technical skills, but it’s much more challenging to teach someone how to be disciplined or show attention to detail. Hire for the right natural skills and then train them to master the technical aspects.

 

  • Invest in Loan Origination Software

 

If you’re still using manual lending processes, then you’re probably experiencing a lot of friction. This might include wasting time on manual/duplicate tasks, rekeying information, double-checking for accuracy, inputting inaccurate data, and switching between multiple platforms. In other words, you’re spending all of your time and energy addressing backend challenges when you should be out there developing relationships with clients.

The good news is that there are solutions designed to address each of these problems. More specifically, there’s something called loan origination software.

Loan origination software comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but SPARK is quickly becoming known as the industry leader. The platform’s entire goal is to end complex and outdated lending processes and replace them with smooth, automated activities. They do this by unifying every aspect of the loan origination process, including lead capture, screening, and underwriting, which results in a 30 percent reduction in loan origination time.

 

  • Adopt a Forward-Looking Perspective

 

Traditionally, small business lending decisions have been made by looking at the past and letting that data influence outcomes. And while there’s still something to be said for keying in on past data, efficient lenders are beginning to adopt a more forward-looking perspective. Understanding that 2020 was a tough fiscal year for even some of the healthiest businesses (for factors outside of their control), it may be wise to cast a broader net when underwriting.

 

  • Get the Little Things Right

 

At the end of the day, it pays to get the little things right. In fact, efficiency is usually the byproduct of doing hundreds of small things right.

For example, do you really need all of your loan officers to come into one centralized office five days per week? Would your team be able to get more done if they worked from home?

Are there ways to eliminate useless meetings? Can you cut down on back-and-forth email conversations by picking up the phone and making a call?

Success is found in the details. Get the little things right and efficiency will follow.

Take a Step Forward

Every SBA lender has its own unique approach and process. However, if you’re willing to recruit the right people, invest in loan origination software, adopt a forward-looking perspective, and get the little things right, good things will happen for your business. It won’t always be easy, but it will be much faster, smoother, and more efficient. 

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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Business

Business Strategies of Michael Gastauer

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Michael Gastauer, a German billionaire and entrepreneur, has led Black Banx to remarkable heights with his innovative strategies in the digital banking sector. As the founder and CEO, his vision has transformed Black Banx into a significant player in the global financial industry, serving millions and revolutionizing banking practices. 

Gastauer’s approach has been distinctly customer-centric, focusing on solving real-world problems through accessible financial services. This strategy has not only captured a vast market share but also established Black Banx as a model of innovative fintech success.

Innovate Early and Often, Invest Strategically

Gastauer’s journey began with a robust foundation in the fintech sector, where he initially created and later sold a payment services company for US$480 million. 

This significant capital boost allowed him to invest in his next venture: Black Banx. Launched in 2014, Black Banx differentiated itself by offering real-time account opening and cross-border payment solutions to a global audience, addressing major inefficiencies in traditional banking. 

Gastauer’s foresight in identifying and investing in these key areas early on allowed Black Banx to scale quickly and efficiently. His strategy was clear: leverage high initial investment to accelerate growth and secure a substantial market presence before competitors could catch up.

Within a year of its inception, Black Banx expanded rapidly, reaching over 1 million customers. This was just the beginning, as the platform soon integrated cryptocurrency options, enhancing its appeal and utility for a broader client base. By the end of 2018, Black Banx was valued at US$9.8 billion, a testament to its rapid growth and the successful implementation of its business model. 

Gastauer’s bold move to integrate cryptocurrencies early in the game positioned Black Banx as a pioneering force in fintech, well ahead of traditional banks.

Pinpoint Problems and/or Challenges

One of the core components of Gastauer’s strategy was to tackle financial exclusion head-on. Black Banx made significant strides in offering banking solutions to the unbanked and underbanked, particularly in regions with limited access to traditional banking services. 

By leveraging technology and strategic partnerships with mobile network operators, Black Banx has been able to extend its reach and offer innovative banking solutions to millions worldwide. This strategic alignment with mobile operators has been crucial, as it taps into an existing infrastructure to reach remote areas, significantly lowering the cost of expansion.

The platform’s ability to facilitate quick, cost-effective international money transfers has been a game-changer, particularly in markets like the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. This not only supports individuals and businesses in these regions but also contributes to the overall growth and stability of the global economy. 

Gastauer’s focus on simplifying and reducing the cost of these transactions demonstrates a deep understanding of the core needs of his customers, thereby enhancing customer loyalty and trust in the brand.

Take a Tech-Driven Approach

Under Gastauer’s leadership, Black Banx has remained at the forefront of technological integration within the banking sector. The adoption of blockchain, AI, and data analytics has enabled the platform to offer personalized financial services, enhancing customer experience and satisfaction. 

This technology-driven approach ensures that Black Banx stays ahead of industry trends and continues to offer relevant and secure banking options. Gastauer’s commitment to integrating advanced technology not only streamlines operations but also provides a scalable model that supports continuous growth and adaptation in a rapidly evolving market.

Leave No Market Unturned

Gastauer’s vision for Black Banx was never limited to a single region. By 2023, the company had expanded its services to include 28 FIAT and two cryptocurrencies, with a robust presence in over 180 countries. This global approach has not only diversified the company’s customer base but also minimized regional economic risks, allowing Black Banx to thrive in a competitive and fast-changing financial landscape. 

The strategic decision to operate across diverse markets also mitigates the risk of localized economic downturns affecting the overall health of the company.

Set Milestones

The year 2023 was a landmark year for Black Banx, as it reached 39 million customers and reported revenues of US$2.3 billion. The company’s ability to maintain a high rate of customer acquisition and satisfaction speaks volumes about its effective strategies and customer-focused approach. 

The first quarter of 2024 continued this trend, with Black Banx announcing a pre-tax profit of US$639 million and revenues of US$2.1 billion, driven by strategic implementations like fixed monthly account maintenance fees. Gastauer’s strategy to introduce fixed fees was a calculated risk that paid off, providing stable revenue streams and further solidifying Black Banx’s financial foundation.

Michael Gastauer’s strategic foresight and relentless innovation have propelled Black Banx to new heights, making it a leader in the digital banking sector. His commitment to financial inclusion, coupled with an aggressive expansion strategy and technological integration, has not only shaped the future of Black Banx but has also set a new standard in the industry. 

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