Keep your algorithms! Let’s keep things personal

Gary Guest
Fund Director
business colleagues shaking hands

Technology and innovation are disrupting nearly all industries, and banking is no exception. Financial technology (FinTech) has given rise to new applications, processes and business models, and its adoption and impact is set to grow.

According to the UK Fintech State of the Nation report, there are now over 1600 FinTech firms in the UK, and this is estimated to more than double by 2030. Among these are challenger banks, some of which are entirely branchless and digital-only. More traditional banks are also following suit and becoming more digitalised.  

One trend occurring across banking services is the move towards automation and artificial intelligence – from chatbots in front office through to automating the underwriting process. Algorithms and advanced data analytics are now being used to assess a business’ eligibility for loans and make decisions.

While this might sound like a good thing for business owners, there are many who still prefer to do more face-to-face business banking. They want to be able to talk things through directly with a person who takes the time to understand their business and their requirements.

At FW Capital, we believe that the personal way still holds value. If a business is looking for a loan, we don’t use algorithms to assess its performance and we don’t rely on credit scores.  What if your credit score is low, but you can provide reasonable context to explain why? With some of the new FinTech lenders you don’t get a chance to explain yourself or perhaps talk about the great new contract you’ve just won. Our lending decisions are always made locally, by people who have worked in the North of England for decades.

We think it’s important to meet every customer before they take a loan from us. We like to understand what they do and how they operate, and get to know the management team. That way we are best placed to help – not just now, but during the term of the loan. But it’s not just about us assessing their business; it’s also really important for the customer to assess us.  Are we the kind of people they want to work with for the duration of their loan? Will we support them if things don’t go to plan?  If you take a loan from us, you will get a dedicated relationship manager, with a direct telephone number and their mobile number as well.

As other banks are reducing their branches and staff and using more automation, we are doing the opposite. We recently doubled the size of our portfolio team to ensure that our rapidly growing customer base continues to receive the best possible service, and our portfolio executives are geographically spread around each of our six offices in the North of England. We want to make sure we are close by should you need to meet with us but also to ensure we understand your local market.

We do however like to make quick decisions, and our local underwriting helps a lot in that regard, but we will never do it at the expense of doing the wrong thing for the customer.

If you’re a business in the North of England looking for finance, get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help.