Our client, GC Business Finance (GCBF), supports businesses based in the Greater Manchester area that have been denied funding from mainstream lenders or financial institutions. They provide alternate finance options, such as loans, to these businesses, encouraging economic growth and opening up new employment opportunities in the region.
The aim was to make the registration and application process easier for the applicants, and, at the same time, allow our client to efficiently track, approve, and disburse business loans to those eligible.
The COVID-19 pandemic and consequential lockdown further restricted day-to-day operations across multiple industries, greatly affecting both GCBF and the local businesses that it aims to support. Thus, it became imperative that the loan application process be digitised and automated to the greatest possible extent.
Given a large number of potential users, the system also needed to be highly intuitive. Multiple critical UI/UX considerations had to be kept in mind.
Before we could start with the loan management software development process, we conducted a rigorous discovery phase. A detailed software requirements specification was compiled. This document contained all the functions and features that the client wanted as part of the new loan origination system.
This loan management software development project aimed to address the specific needs expressed by our client GCBF. Loan applicants and GCBF users can perform their respective functions via dedicated frontend and backend portals.
Given the client’s express requirement, the loan management software was designed with maximal user-friendliness in mind. The simple and intuitive interface allows a large number of GCBF users to easily review and manage loan applications, and draw up relevant reports. The application is also optimised for mobile devices, including tablets.
Since GCBF partners with other organisations for different types of business loans, the system has been developed as white label software. It can be implemented in partner organisations looking for similar lending platforms for different user bases.
The basic eligibility requirements are pre-loaded into the loan management system. When a potential applicant lands on the homepage, they are asked to submit some basic information. This includes their desired loan amount, location, and whether or not their business was affected by COVID-19.
The system automatically determines their eligibility based on the submitted information. It grants permission for account creation to only those applicants who are deemed eligible. If the applicant is not considered eligible for the Bounce Back Loan, they are redirected to other partner organisations which may be able to provide financial assistance.
The portal provides a very convenient way for applicants who have cleared the system's credit scoring criteria to register online.
Each new application that is commenced at the frontend presents a form to the user. This form has three sections, filling out all of which is mandatory.
The first section covers the details of the business for which the application is being filed. The second section includes the personal details of the applicant(s). In the third and final section, the applicant is required to upload all relevant documents to their application. They can add proof of business identity, business plans, cash flow forecasts, and so on.
The user can easily save their application progress at any time and resume it later.
Once an applicant has given their consent, a credit check is automatically initiated via a relevant credit reference agency. The third-party agency's response is received directly into the system.
Our loan management software development efforts aimed to provide a holistic solution for the loan lifecycle, from application to debt collection. Thus, we made use of existing third-party plugins and services to enhance the system's capabilities.
The software has an integrated auto-populate feature that automatically fetches the details of limited companies or limited partnerships from the Companies House database. The system also makes the loan repayment and process convenient for the users via Equiniti's loan servicing software integration. Integration with HelloSign, an e-signature solution, allows applicants to sign the submitted forms and documents with ease.
The system’s self-service section enables applicants to make payments, check their payment history, and view pending payments. Applicants can also revisit the terms of their loan agreement via this section.
The backend of the loan management software allows access to certain features depending on the role of the logged-in user. This makes the system secure from data leakage and other security risks. It also ensures that each loan application goes through the proper approval process.
Since the system clearly defines the roles of each GCBF user, it ensures that each application goes through the proper review process. First, the Loan Administrators review applications for completeness and correctness. The Loan Managers conduct further reviews and then draw up recommendation reports. The final decision of approval or rejection, often based on feedback from the Managers, lies in the hands of the Loan Approvers.
Audit trails, which are essentially event logs, ensure that the processing of loan applications is fully compliant with financial regulations. All the activities that the GCBF staff perform are recorded with timestamps and details. The audit trails can be accessed by authorised users to review the changes. Thus, the lending process is extremely transparent and secure from any possibility of fraudulent activity.
Before we began working on this loan management software development project, we exchanged detailed notes with our client. We gathered the exact requirements that they wanted the system to meet. The lending system was divided into modules, the two major ones being the applicant portal (frontend) and the GCBF admin portal (backend).
The requirements analysis phase was followed by drawing up wireframes for the various modules of the new system.
The system delivery involved a combination of manual and automated testing. The final product was launched after thorough testing and evaluation, bringing our agile process to an end.
The team for this loan management software development project was led by the project manager. Our app development team was composed of the technical lead, business analyst, senior software engineer, and senior QA engineer.