Simon Cureton acknowledges that the view of entrepreneurs and business owners as time-poor is something of a cliché. But as CEO of financing platform Funding Options, he’s seen plenty of evidence that it’s one that’s firmly based on fact. In a little over ten years, Funding Options have assisted more than 10,000 businesses in the UK and the Netherlands to find finance, and until quite recently their owners and management teams have had to devote a significant amount of time and effort to put together the paperwork to support their applications. Until a couple of years ago, for instance, they had to send bank statements, sometimes hundreds of pages of them, by email or even fax.
Open Banking has revolutionised this situation, freeing up business owners’ time so that they can focus on the tasks that can really make a difference to their business. In Simon’s experience, using Open Banking has in some instances cut the time taken for a lender to approve an application to a matter of twenty seconds. In one case the time from the moment the lender received the application to the moment when the customer received the funds in their bank was just 18 minutes.
And it’s not simply about speed. By ending the reliance on vulnerable systems like fax or email in favour of ultra-secure data exchange via APIs, Open Banking minimises the risk that anyone might leak or tamper with the information. In terms of quality, by enabling access to a wide range of itemised data in real time, Open Banking allows lenders to make better informed, more accurate, bespoke decisions, and so add a great deal of value to their customers’ business.
Ultimately, Simon believes that’s it all about delivering vital services faster and more securely to British SMEs, helping them and the UK economy to thrive.