Our client, GC Business Finance (GCBF), supports businesses based in the Greater Manchester area that have been denied funding from mainstream lenders. 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 which 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, with a number of UI/UX considerations to be kept in mind.
After a rigorous discovery phase, a detailed software requirements specification was compiled, which contained all the functions and features that the client wanted as part of the new loan origination system.
The loan management system that GoodCore developed is tailored 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 system 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 which can be implemented in partner organisations looking for similar loan origination portals for different user bases.
The basic eligibility requirements are pre-loaded into the system. When a potential applicant lands on the homepage, they are asked to submit some basic information, such as 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 and 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 eligibility to register online.
Each new application that is commenced at the frontend presents a form to the user. This form has three sections, filling 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 personal details of the applicant(s). In the third and final section, the applicant is required to upload all relevant documents to their application, such as 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 the applicant(s) has given their consent, a credit check is automatically initiated via a relevant credit reference agency and their response is received directly into the system.
The system 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 process convenient for the users via the integrated credit servicing platform by Equiniti. 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 system allows access to certain features depending on the role of the logged-in user, making 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 by recording all the activities that the GCBF staff perform, with timestamps and details. The audit trails can be accessed by authorised users to review the changes, making the system extremely transparent and secure from any possibility of fraudulent activity.
Before we began working on the project, we exchanged detailed notes with our client regarding the exact requirements that they wanted the system to meet. The 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 team, led by the project manager, was composed of the technical lead, business analyst, senior software engineer, and senior QA engineer.