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CRIF roundtable: Banks discuss balancing automation and personalisation with SME customers

Open Banking data is being deployed by SME lenders to automate data collection and increase underwriting capacity, but not to the detriment of relationships between lenders and their clients, according to a recent Open Banking Expo roundtable, in association with CRIF.

The roundtable, which took place on 30 May, gathered representatives from UK and European banks and specialist lenders to discuss ‘Revolutionising Loan Origination: Practical Solutions for Banks to Streamline Operations and Support SMEs’.

Opening the discussion, Daniel Skiba, senior manager at CRIF, cited a survey by the European Central Bank which found that 20% of SMEs identified access to finance as an “urgent need”, partly due to declining profitability driven by the higher costs of materials and energy, as well as increased labour costs.

Skiba said the survey put the financing gap at 9% in 2022 versus 1% in 2021, “which is a huge difference”.

We see there could be a lot of pain points – by solving those pain points we could be more ready to grant loans to the SME segment in 2023 and onward,” he added.

Skiba discussed with the participants how to identify the biggest challenges in SME lending and assuming one of those challenges is data acquisition, whether they had considered using non-traditional data sources, such as Open Banking on top of traditional credit bureau data.

Moreover, the participants also discussed how their organizations approach customer management for SMEs.