13 Apr 2021

Westpac NZ and Common Ledger are giving Kiwi small businesses faster and more efficient access to lending, reducing online loan application times to as little as five minutes.

Under the open data arrangement, Westpac business customers applying for loans from $50,000 to $1m can use Common Ledger’s CreditScout cloud lending platform to share data from their accounting software package with Westpac.

Westpac’s business banking team then assesses the application based on a full view of the customer’s business financials and its normal credit rules, resulting in a faster and more transparent process for both the customer and the lender.

The new functionality is currently available to all Westpac business customers who use MYOB as their accounting software provider.

Common Ledger CEO Carlos Chambers says the CreditScout platform allows customers to share data with Westpac and apply for a loan application in a couple of clicks.

“The information is securely delivered to the bank, where it’s structured using our machine learning engine and packaged into insights presented to the lenders,” Mr Chambers says.

“The goal is to present the information customers want to share and lenders need to see in a workflow that’s super easy to use – removing time and effort and accelerating the flow of capital to customers.”

“Westpac is making a big move for small businesses. We’re really excited about this partnership and transforming the lending process for customers.”

Westpac NZ General Manager of Institutional and Business Banking Simon Power says small businesses have shown impressive resilience despite difficult economic conditions over the past 12 months. 

“Small businesses are essential to our economy and will continue to play a big role in our COVID-19 recovery. The best way we can help them adapt and grow their business is to provide timely access to lending solutions,” Mr Power says.

“We chose to partner with Common Ledger because of their proven track record of integrity, innovation and reliability. They bring unique and specific knowledge to business lending, and a deep understanding of how open business data can be used to reimagine and improve it.”

Westpac has already established itself as a proactive and early leader on open data. In October 2020, it launched a partnership with sustainable spending app CoGo, helping Westpac and non-Westpac customers track and reduce their footprint based on their spending decisions. In December, the bank announced an investment in consumer open banking fintech Akahu, which builds and maintains tools that provide data connections between banking, KiwiSaver, investment, utility, and telco providers.

“Open data is already here. What’s exciting about this partnership is we’re empowering our business customers to participate in the open data economy and make use of their digital and portable data,” Mr Power says.

Mr Chambers says all major accounting software providers already enable business owners to structure and store their data to fulfil important accounting, tax and wider business functions.

“Surprisingly, despite the age of the Application Programme Interface (API) and data portability, this information has been locked up and under-used by both business owners and established bank lenders,” Mr Chambers says.

“With Westpac deploying our CreditScout lending platform, they’re handing business owners the keys to their data and inviting them to share it to help them make it easier to do business.”

Westpac customers can apply for a Business Overdraft or Term loan online here.