SVP and President of Pitney Bowes Financial Services Christopher Johnson said the move positions the company for long-term growth, one of many in mind to offer a full range of services to customers.
“America’s 32.5 million small businesses are the engine of our economy, but the number of small business loans approved by big banks has halved in just two years,” said Christopher Johnson, senior vice president and President of Pitney Bowes Financial Services.
“Our partnership with Funding Circle will help Main Street business owners get the working capital they desperately need to grow their business.”
In February, Pitney announced it would build an all-new banking platform in 2022, powered by partner Fiserv.
SME loan, by correspondence?
A name that hasn’t been heard in the traditional financial space for some time, Johnson has traveled the history of the company, well known for logistics and mail, but not for strict financial services like loans to small businesses. He said the company has always contributed to financial services by handling logistics and trade, but not in the way most customers might think.
“Most of your audience will know the Pitney Bowes name from its postal heritage; we’ve been in the courier business for over 100 years,” Johnson said. “What you may not know is that, like many places in the world, postage is hard currency under the law. When you think of Pitney Bowes, it’s really cutting edge, part and parcel of this business idea. Moving purchase orders or invoices are the basics of business? »
If Pitney Bowes pioneered secure mail sending orders and invoices across the United States and the world, Johnson said you could think of them as a longtime member of banking and financial services, enabling SMEs to transact and move goods.
Pitney wants more
He said that over the past five years, the company has strived to offer more than courier and logistics services. He said partnering with one of the leading online SME lenders is precisely the kind of move the company needs to take to provide better services to customers and gain access to the capital they need to do business.
“We’ve evolved from what I would say is a niche provider of financial services to a more mainstream and consequential value provider in this financial services space,” Johnson said. “This small business lending space is very fragmented and very underserved.”
Powered by Funding Circle, Pitney Bowes will offer small business term loans to its customers and benefit from Funding Circle’s streamlined online application and loan origination process. Like other partners using Funding Circles technology, clients will be able to access critical funds in as little as 48 hours, Johnson said.
Historic Industrial Bank
Not convinced that logistics services are financial services? Johnson said the move involves the banking arm of Pitney Bowes and an institution holding an industrial lending chartered bank license that has been in operation for more than 24 years.
Joining Pitney Bowes’ list of business banking products, such as revolving lines of credit and working capital or equipment financing, Funding Circle loans will allow businesses to go “further faster.”
“It will allow us to leverage some of that digital financial services capability with a world-class customer focus built around it,” he said. “We can meet many of the more than 700,000 customers we have today in our portfolio and beyond.”
Drawing on data from Funding Circle, Johnson said the pilot program aims to advance the lending experience when many SMEs seek funding. Seventy-two percent of owners said they need financing this year, according to Funding Circle’s 2021 Small Business Survey.
Vipul Chhabra, MD of Funding Circle US, said the company is excited to offer its machine learning technology platform to Pitney Bowes customers. He said more than a third of business owners see 2022 as the year for growth, but many are being held back by their access to capital. Funding Circle is committed to helping these businesses unlock the financing they need to grow and fuel economic recovery, he said in a statement.
“We share a common mission with Pitney Bowes to break down barriers and help facilitate access to finance for all SMEs,” Chhabra said. “This loan-as-a-service partnership showcases the strength of our machine learning and technology platform to help customers access finance in a simple and transparent way.”
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