The American Bankers Association has been searching for an online platform to allow its member banks to get into the digital lending business.

The banking trade group has run a formal bidding process to find a partner in the marketplace lending business, ABA spokesman John Hall confirmed Friday. He would not say which companies were under consideration or provide additional information. Reuters reported on the ABA's efforts earlier Friday.

The trade group's initiative could enable small banks that do not have big technology budgets to get into the online lending business. Other banking industry groups have launched similar efforts in the last two years.

BancAlliance, a consortium of more than 200 small banks across the country, has entered partnerships with Lending Club, which is one of the nation's largest online consumer lenders, and the small-business lender Fundation.

Western Independent Bankers, another community banking group, struck a deal in 2015 with the online consumer lender Prosper Marketplace.

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