Vancouver FinTech startup working with financial institutions to facilitate federal COVID-19 loans

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Vancouver-based FinTech startup JUDI.AI is working with its credit union clients to roll out a digital solution supporting online applications for the federal government’s Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

“We have a platform that is engineered to enable us to be nimble and make rapid deployments.”

The CEBA is aimed to support small businesses struggling with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic, and several banks began rolling out the federal program this month. JUDI.AI has developed, tested, and deployed a digital solution that the company says has processed $150 million worth of CEBA funds, and has assisted with thousands of applications.

“During these unique times, it’s an important business decision to make to steer slightly away from your short-term product roadmap in order to continue to support Canada’s small business community,” said Gord Baizley, CEO of JUDI.AI.

JUDI.AI provides financial institutions with an artificial intelligence-driven loan adjudication platform with a credit engine for small business and consumer lending. The startup, founded in 2016, aims to reduce the time it takes to process applications and automate workflow for financial institutions.

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Baizley noted that JUDI.AI has a platform that is engineered to enable “nimble” and “rapid” deployments of loans. He said this allowed the startups “to adapt in real-time to the current market demand for support in operationalizing the BCAP loan programs.”

Under CEBA, financial institutions are able to provide interest-free credit facilities of up to $40,000 to eligible businesses. CEBA is available to Canadian employers with $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019, and operating as of March 1.

CEBA is part of the government’s Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), a three-pronged program that also involves credit and cash flow term loans to small and medium-sized enterprises through Export Development Canada. The third program provides loans for operational and liquidity needs through the Business Development Bank of Canada’s co-lending program.

JUDI.AI is also assisting with the next wave of small business loan applications from the BDC co-lending program, which opened on April 24. JUDI.AI has been working in partnership with its customers to ensure a solution will be available to support the underwriting of these loans, while also offering credit unions visibility of these applications to help streamline government reporting.

The federal government has expressed interest in working with FinTech companies to help implement some of its BCAP programs. The Canada Revenue Agency partnered with Toronto-based FinTech startup Stack to receive direct deposits for Canadians eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

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In March, the Canadian Lenders Association called on the federal government to extend its current economic stimulus plan to include alternative lending options. The Canadian Lenders Association said FinTech startups are uniquely positioned to be able to reach those most in need during the economic crisis, as they can deploy capital, quickly and efficiently to customers that are largely underserved by the traditional banking sector.

“Our entire team has been working around the clock in order to execute on these new developments and we are extremely happy to be able to support the small business community and our valued lending customers through this situation,” said Baizley. “It’s really been a great learning experience for our team.”

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Scott Graham.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast