Nick Elders, CEO
Recently, financial uncertainty and widespread unemployment resulting from the pandemic have transformed consumer spending habits and caused changes in retirement balances. On top of that, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates, which led to a spike in home and auto refinance applications from owners looking to save money. What’s more, the ever-evolving nature of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) mandates for small business loans added confusion to lending processes. These changes made it necessary for the players across the banking or lending industry to digitize their processes by leveraging cutting-edge banking and lending technology. However, according to the developers of SPARK, a digital lending solution for business lending, transforming an age-old operational model is a task easier said than done. “The technology solutions that are commonly available in the market are not specifically designed for the unique challenges of banks,” says Nick Elders, CEO, SPARK by Ignify Technologies.
To meet the need of the lending industry, we have designed an all-in-one, cloud-based digital solution for business lending that enables clients to make digital transformation a reality,
“To meet the need of the lending industry, we have designed an all-in-one, cloud-based digital solution for business lending that enables clients to make digital transformation a reality,” says Elder. “For a long time, it’s been about unicorn hunting—the magical solution that does all the things. Fortunately, people are finally getting off that train and starting to adopt a more agile framework of thinking, one that incrementally changes toward always getting better.”
SPARK undertakes a straightforward approach to lending technology for banks, lender service providers (LSPs), and mission-driven lenders. With automation, user-centered design, deep SBA and commercial lending expertise, the company simplifies the loan origination process for every department, including sales, underwriting, and disbursement. “We allow different teams to collaborate in one platform throughout the loan origination process, eliminating the need to use multiple tools or platforms for their individual operations,” says Elders.
He further notes that another big challenge of the finance industry today is finding top talent as the workforce is aging and not a lot of young talent is coming in behind to backfill. The SPARK platform solves the talent acquisition problem as well. “Since it’s a machine, it won’t age or forget,” he adds. Also, due to its intuitive design, new talent can be more easily trained on SPARK’S loan origination tool. This plays a vital role in making people productive from the very first day.
SPARK manages all loan origination banking processes starting from the initial inquiry that a customer does on the bank’s website to leading them to a secure portal for data and document collection. It then facilitates decision-making related to underwriting and credit, including credit polls, credit models, and analysis for both internal and external credits. Beneficially, the SPARK platform maps out all the data and analysis onto the proper forms that a bank needs to effectively make decisions and produce a loan. SPARK then provides all these critical documents through a customer portal where the whole process is digitized end-to-end, including DocuSign for digital signatures. Also, through a self-service borrower portal, the platform allows end-users to gain complete insight into the status of their transaction. “We deliver complete transparency to help consumers understand the lending process,” says Elders. Not stopping there, using client feedback, the company continuously updates the software every eight weeks to further enhance the user experience. “Being on the forefront of the latest loan origination technology, we are helping clients surpass their competition, increase ROI, and win customer loyalty,” adds Elders.
We deliver complete transparency to help consumers understand the lending process
With such a comprehensive solution, SPARK has helped several reputable clients. For example, it enabled Holtmeyer & Monson, a SBA lender service provider to community banks, to grow its business four times with modernized processes. Similarly, the company has allowed The Bancorp, a full-service community bank, to modernize its processes and support fleet leasing and equipment leasing by modifying the existing functionalities.
“At SPARK, we’re not here to meet industry standards – we exist to rise above them. Moving forward, we want to continue to innovate to benefit banks and the SBA lending process. As important, we want to link together for profit and non-profits on the same technology, as we see non-profits as the solution for the 14 million under banked U.S. adults.” says Elders. “We are masquerading as a loan origination company when we are really social change agents. Our goal is to link banks and CDFIs together, thus propelling the small business community forward,” concludes Elders.