NatWest fintech loan platform partners Microsoft for data warehouse and AI chatbot

NatWest SME lending platform Esme Loans has signed a deal with Microsoft which will see the software giant build a cloud based data warehouse to support Esme’s automated decision making.

Esme Loans promises to cut the time it takes to apply for a loan to 10 minutes for SMEs. It offers SMEs loans of up to £150,000 and makes it easier to apply for them by using the latest technology, including application programming interfaces (APIs).

The data warehouse combined with AI will support Esme in meeting its promise of quick decisions on loans. It will also use the resource as part of the development of an artificial intelligence driven chatbot which will answer customer questions on the website.

Since it launched last year Esme Loans has approved over £59m of lending to UK SMEs.

The Microsoft technology will be rolled out from next month. The agreement demonstrates how fintechs focus on what they are good at and will buy-in technology that fall outside this. Traditional banks often build technology platforms themselves which resulted in complexity.

Richard Kerton, CEO and co-founder of Esme Loans, said: “Combined with [Microsoft’s] considerable insight and experience, we’re confident that this new partnership will help us accelerate our growth throughout this year and beyond.”

Wayne Bartlett, head of UK banking at Microsoft said: “By automating processes and applying artificial intelligence it means that Esme can understand their customers better than ever before and will mean that more businesses get access to credit quicker, which in turn helps the overall economy.”

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