How we helped Cembra Money Bank launch its first business loan product

Since 2018, we have been building partnerships with financial institutions that share our goal to serve SMEs with fast and tailored financing. Today we are proud to announce our latest collaboration with Cembra Money Bank, a leading provider of financial products and services in Switzerland.

Established in the consumer segment, Cembra extended its services in February to Swiss SMEs, which make up more than 99% of the country’s enterprises. The bank’s goal was to meet their financial needs with a digital loan that was straightforward but still flexible, offering up to CHF 250,000 with a credit decision in one working day.

To achieve this, Cembra needed a secure infrastructure that could deliver a seamless digital experience, efficient data processing and short review times. After an extensive vetting process, the bank selected Spotcap as its Lending-as-a-Service partner, trusting us to enable its expansion with the right technology and expertise.

Here’s how we made it happen.

Step one: make onboarding simple

To meet the rising demand for seamless digital experiences, first we needed to connect Cembra with an intuitive onboarding journey.

Reaching this goal meant two things; applying for a loan had to be quick and straightforward, and customers could do it at any time, from any location, through any device. None of which would come at the expense of security and fraud prevention, which are two crucial regulatory concerns for the onboarding stage.

To fulfil these criteria, our team built a secure system that automatically collects information through API connections with authorised third parties, such as Zefix, Switzerland’s centralised registry of commerce, and credit bureaus like CRIF and ZEK.

Customers need to fill in only a few fields in the application form while the platform automatically fetches the rest. In the background, it instantly cross-references the collected information with fraud prevention databases without adding extra wait times to the onboarding process, which can be completed in less than 15 minutes.

Step two: build efficient processes

The second step in delivering Cembra’s new product was to build efficient workflows that enable short feedback times.

With a traditional lending approach, once the customer has completed an application, credit analysts need to process, organise and interpret the data to make an assessment. Without digital technology, this step takes between 3 and 5 weeks.

Our platform enables Cembra’s team to reach a decision within one working day. It combines extensive risk assessment models, built on years of SME lending data, with machine learning techniques that automate most of the manual underwriting tasks.

Taking it a step further, we made sure to optimise the application process to match how much financing SMEs are looking for. Based on our own experience as a direct lender, we see a large variety of loan requests. For example, some SMEs need a more substantial amount for a large purchase, while others apply for smaller loans to bridge over a delayed payment. Having the same application process for both made little sense from an operational and servicing point of view.

Instead, we built two journeys for Cembra’s customers — the full version that collects all the necessary data for a larger loan amount, and a “light” version that requires fewer documents to complete.

Step three: give customers transparency

The final detail in our work with Cembra was to give SMEs full visibility of their loan terms.

To complete the customer experience, our team developed a personal dashboard that each client can access after accepting their loan agreement. It holds all the information regarding their loan, such as the amount, term and repayment schedule, as well as links to additional features that Cembra can offer depending on their eligibility.

Making the dashboard easily accessible was an important feature and our team delivered. Customers can access and navigate through it easily, whether from the office desktop or with their mobile device while on the go. Focused on what borrowers might need to manage a loan in their dynamic and fast-paced circumstances, we made sure to bring a solution that was reliable, straightforward and effective.

The final achievements

In a few months, our team delivered a custom-built lending platform that Cembra used to launch its first business product. Through our collaboration, the bank can now offer the following features:

  • Financing of up to CHF 250,000 with an online application that takes 15 minutes to complete
  • An objective credit decision in one working day based on a combination of traditional financial and transactional bank account data points
  • Access to funds in 48 hours after approval
  • A personal dashboard to manage funds, payments and documents online

By enabling Cembra’s business expansion, we have been able to demonstrate our technology’s transformational impact while also proving our team’s ability to quickly understand and adapt to a new market’s unique requirements.

With this major milestone under our belts, we look forward to further supporting their success story and launching similar partnerships in other markets through our LendSuite platform with financial institutions that aim to digitally transform their SME lending.