Like many industries, business finance has been majorly disrupted through the advance of technology, and most providers have had to adapt to a new way of delivering their products and services, a trend accelerated over the last two years by the effects of the pandemic. Starting with advances in consumer finance, expectations of faster, sleeker, and safer processes quickly filtered through to business finance but with a noticeable caveat: despite the need for fast funding, there remains a dominating appetite for hands on relationship management of ongoing facilities.
Technology has improved our lives in many ways and accessing the finance a business needs has never been easier in theory, with many – although not all – lenders offering simple online application forms and automated credit decisions and eradicating the long-winded and manual processes of the past.
But technology is not the answer to everything: it is not failproof and can lead to additional security risks, and machines cannot replace the human interactions that elevate a funding facility from basic access to funding to a highly efficient piece of the puzzle that helps a business meet its ambitions.
Delivering modern, simple, and fast access to funding alongside a relationship-based service is a balancing act that Ultimate Finance have been finetuning and today we look at how our approach to technology has empowered our teams in the building of strong and long-lasting relationships with our Introducers and clients to become their funding partner of choice.
The digital revolution and financial services
Technology has changed every aspect of life: from the way we shop, to the way we communicate and travel, and the way we work. The effect of the pandemic accelerated the need for providers to adapt faster due to the requirements for on-site premises to be vacated overnight and closed during periods of lockdown, and especially so for those that were behind the curve to modernise their processes using technology, presenting a requirement for off-site activities and paperless documentation overnight on the eve of the first lockdown
Today, a business lender that wants to be at the forefront of the industry needs to be equipped with not only frictionless and remote-based procedures to complete due diligence requirements and signing of legal documentation, but also the ability to transfer much needed funding quickly and easily as and when needed. However, going too far with automated processes also runs the risk of completely taking away the human element that builds relationships, with a far-too-often feared “computer says no” scenario at the end of the road. So how has Ultimate Finance embraced technology to empower our people and help them deliver a five-star rated service?
Embracing technology at Ultimate Finance
Using the most appropriate tools at Ultimate Finance has meant that we have been able to provide the right funding solutions to thousands of business owners for over 20 years through continuously improved processes that ensure our people can do their best work to support our customers.
At application stage, we have made it simple to find out more about how our funding solutions can help businesses keep moving via an easy-to-use website, but also interactive content such as videos and guides. New Introducers can register online by filling a short form and, once set up on our system, can agree to our terms and conditions digitally and start introducing our range of solutions to their clients immediately.
Business owners get to benefit from a hybrid application process where they can converse with our teams in person when they visit them at their premises, or via phone or video calls. We have removed the need to share sensitive data such as bank statements via paper or email through the use of Open Finance, which has reduced our turnaround times and increased our efficiency of underwriting, plus has removed the risks of the documents being lost or delayed in the process.
Once onboarded, we can verify identification documents remotely, providing a simple smartphone application to scan and confirm passports and driving licences to speed up our due diligence procedures and ensure we can provide quick access to the funding that will make a difference for our client.
Once the details of the facility have been agreed, our electronic signing of legal documents removes unnecessary delays between approval and access to funding as the paperwork can be actioned quickly and seamlessly within minutes instead of what could have been days when relying on postal services.
Our Working Capital facilities all come with access to our online client portal, which has been praised by existing clients with one sharing on their five-star review on Trustpilot: “My company has been using Ultimate Finance’s facility now for four years having moved from one of the major high-street providers. I can say it is one of the best decisions we have made. Ultimate Finance are better on price, all their staff are easy to contact and speak to and their web portal is clear, concise, and very easy to navigate and use”.
Solutions that work for businesses and introducers
Embracing technology at Ultimate Finance has however not meant that we have abandoned our belief in the power of human interactions. Our service has been designed with relationships at its core, and no artificial intelligence can replace the benefits of being able to communicate with a real person when it comes to accessing the right funding for a unique ambition.
Chief Executive Officer Josh Levy explains, “We know that technology provides a lot of quick wins for our customers and our people – faster processes mean faster turnarounds and we believe in minimum friction to ensure we can provide what business owners expect from us, which is a reliable and fast access to much needed funding. But we also know that models that rely on underwriting via an algorithm can become too rigid and lack the flexibility we believe is key when it comes to understanding a business’ requirements. By developing real relationships with our Introducers and their clients we get to the heart of a business’ ambitions, and we are able to tailor a facility that is unique to their needs, and no algorithm could replace the human understanding that is vital to our ways of working”.