Digitising loan management for GC Business Finance

About the client

GC Business Finance (GCBF) is a non-profit loan provider dedicated to supporting small and medium-sized businesses in Greater Manchester. By offering various loan options to businesses that have been turned down by traditional lenders, GCBF stimulates economic growth and fosters employment opportunities in the region.

Industry Finance Location Manchester, UK Engagement period 2019 - Ongoing Technologies MS .NET Framework, React Native

Business challenge

GCBF’s cumbersome manual business loan processes

GCBF realised the constraints in their internal processes for managing customers' loan applications:

  • the system was predominantly manual, making it cumbersome and resource-intensive.
  • there was a lack of online digital options and process automation in the CDFI sector.

Taking the lead in this space, GCBF decided to initiate digital transformation and engaged GoodCore to develop a custom loan management solution.

During the software development, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and prompted the UK government's Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which was introduced as a response to the financial challenges faced by businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For lenders like GCBF, efficient processes became crucial to quickly evaluate and disburse loans to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

The solution

Enabling an automated business loan disbursement

Enabling an automated business loan disbursement

The system had to fulfil the following critical business requirements:

  • Automate GCBF's loan approval and disbursement process for eligible candidates
  • Optimise the registration and application process for the applicants
  • Implement security and GDPR-compliant data handling measures to meet finance sector regulations
  • Enable mobile optimisation to enhance operational mobility for clients using tablets and smartphones
  • Be operational within a few weeks, given the time-sensitive and urgent nature of BBLS

The solution

customer facing web portal

Loan management system overview

GoodCore delivered a custom loan management platform for GCBF, with all the urgent changes implemented within a tight timeframe. The solution fully aligns with the BBLS and covers the entire loan lifecycle.

The system comprises of:

  • Customer-facing web portal that simplifies applications with automated eligibility checks, streamlined forms, and payment management.
  • Backend admin panel empowers GCBF decision-makers (loan administrators, loan managers, and loan approvers) for application processing and reporting.

Since GCBF partners with other organisations for different types of business loans, the system has been developed as white-label software.

The solution - Customer portal features

Customer portal features

Automating workflows with robust features

Eligibility check and registration

  • System auto-determines eligibility, using predefined criteria uploaded to the portal
  • Automated credit checks are implemented through a relevant credit reference agency, with integrated responses
  • The permission to create an account is only granted to applicants who pass credit scoring 
  • Ineligible borrowers are automatically redirected to partner organizations for financial aid

The solution - Customer portal features

Eligibility check and registration

Automating workflows with robust features

Application creation and submission

  1. Streamlined form creation, divided into three logical parts for user-friendly input while gathering crucial personal and business details (e.g., business identity, plans, cash flow forecasts)
  2. Business data is automatically populated via the Companies House API, streamlining tasks like obtaining director consent

The solution - Customer portal features

Automating workflows with robust features

Automating workflows with robust features

Self-service customer portal

Through the self-service portal, applicants can:

  • Auto-make loan repayments thanks to the Equiniti integration
  • View their payment history
  • Check pending payments
  • Review loan agreement terms

The solution - Admin panel features

Admin panel features

Automating workflows with robust features

Application management workflow

The system ensures a proper and streamlined review process from GCBF staff where all the parts are aligned in the process:

  • Loan administrators check for application completeness and correctness.
  • Loan managers conduct deeper reviews and draft recommendation reports.
  • Final decision of approval or rejection is given by loan approvers.

The solution - Admin panel features

Enhances data security and reduces data leakage risks

Automating workflows with robust features

Role-based access

Enhances data security and reduces data leakage risks:

  • Backend access varies by GCBF staff roles
  • Ensures the correct and logical loan application approval process

Security and audit trail

Audit trails (event logs) maintain compliance with financial regulations, by ensuring transparency and security against fraud:

  • Activities by GCBF staff are timestamped and detailed
  • Only authorised users can access audit trails

The solution - Admin panel features

Enabling security and GDPR compliance

Given GCBF’s operation in a sensitive and regulated finance sector, ensuring the system's protection against security vulnerabilities was paramount.

  • The app's MVC architecture, based on ASP.NET MVC5 framework, bolstered security through robust input validation, strict authentication, effective CSRF token implementation, precise session management, and comprehensive logging
  • We also ensured end-to-end data encryption for secure handling, storage, and transmission within the platform, bolstering overall security.
  • We implemented role-based access for the backend of the loan management system, making the system secure from data leakage and other security risks.
  • Audit trails were implemented in the form of timestamps against any changes that the applicants make to certain fields on their application, making the system extremely transparent.
  • We established a robust data backup strategy for uninterrupted operations and protection against potential threats. Using AWS's managed backup service, we scheduled and automated monthly software backups after identifying critical data.
  • We conduct regular penetration tests regular penetration tests to uncover system vulnerabilities, examining areas like misconfigurations, weak passwords, and application-specific flaws.

We’re not in IT or an experienced digital company, so their support was key to making sure that our staff got the most out of the system that they built for us.

David Williams

Peter Treadwell, Operations Director

 GC Business Finance


The impact

  • We helped GCBF with their digital transformation initiative, making them one of the first Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) to digitise loan management.
  • Since its 2019 launch, the solution has streamlined loan applications for thousands of GCBF clients, thereby enhancing the loan processing capacity for GCBF significantly.
  • In November 2020, powered by the bespoke platform we built, GC Business Finance became the first UK lender accredited by The British Business Bank to offer BBLS, facilitating our client's adaptation to the COVID-era business landscape.
  • The system's white-label design allows other organisations to use it, offering GC Business Finance revenue potential through custom deployments.

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