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This fintech disruptor is taking on the big banks to take the pain out of business borrowing for SMEs

The Banjo team; CEO Andrew Colliver, COO Stephen Murphy and CTO Julian Hedt

Banjo, a Melbourne-based online lender providing secured and unsecured loans to Australian SMEs, has launched.

The business intends to cater specifically to the 51 per cent of SMEs who have no business-lending product other than an overdraft or credit card.

Banjo will provide six month unsecured working capital finance at annualised rates similar to those provided by major financial institutions. Loans can be paid back earlier without penalty and clients can access ongoing funds without the need to re-apply.

The integration of various data sources means loan applications can be assessed quickly and funds deposited within 24 to 48 hours; and already stretched business customers can avoid the paperwork and lengthy delays associated with traditional lending channels.

Banjo can verify customers by uploading a “selfie”, saving time and unnecessary paperwork. The whole process is paperless, and completed online with just 10 simple questions.

What is the story behind Banjo?

CEO Andrew Colliver, an ex-NAB senior executive, along with a team of ex bankers and fintech experts, has spent the last two years building the marketplace lending platform that promises to take the pain out of business borrowing.

Identifying a sector that remains underserviced by traditional lenders, Andrew and his ex-NAB business partners (Julian Hedt and Stephen Murphy) self-funded the start-up which has recently raised 7.5m in seed funding from like-minded experienced tech investors.

“In the digital age, customer expectations are for anything, anytime, anywhere banking, aligning perfectly with the Banjo model; custom-built for the user experience, with ease and availability on any platform 24/7,” says Andrew.

“The vision was simple,” he says, “We wanted to take the stress out of business lending by leveraging technology. Business is challenging enough as it is.”

What is this marketplace lending about?

Direct Lending Funds are an evolving asset class globally proving to be attractive to institutional investors in a low yield environment.

The Banjo Small Business Fund represents the creation of a new fixed income asset class that can provide regular income at a target return of 8-10% pa.

Unlike its competitors, which directly match investors with particular loans or parts of loans, Banjo has created a fund, meaning borrowers once approved, will be funded immediately out of a pool of funds committed to SME lending.

“Market place lenders over the next decade could achieve 15 per cent market share akin to what Aussie Home Loans did to the Australian mortgage market in the 1990’s. Institutional funding will be needed if marketplace lending is going to live up to its potential,” says Andrew.

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