SmartBiz, a company whose online portal accepts Small Business Administration loan applications and sends them to member banks whose lending policies they match, is launching an artificial intelligence-based “adviser” tool on Wednesday. The software module tells business owners if they qualify for an SBA loan. If they don’t, it tells them what they would need to do to become eligible.
“We have some of the richest databases of accessible tax data on small businesses,” said Evan Singer, SmartBiz's CEO. “We have hundreds of thousands of returns from businesses and business owners, so we’re able to ingest that data, run it through unsupervised machine learning and predict whether a company can get an SBA loan.”
The small-business person answers four questions and uploads a business tax return. The SmartBiz Advisor reads the return in real time, pulls the data it needs, runs it through a predictive algorithm and provides a Loan Ready Score. It spells out the lending criteria banks use and provides personal recommendations for reaching creditworthiness.
Such a tool is necessary to clear away the confusion around loan criteria, Singer suggested.
“The banks we work with are all running business and global cash flow to see how these businesses underwrite for an SBA loan, and most businesses have no idea that that’s how a bank is going to look at them and underwrite them for a loan,” Singer said. “We’re able to share the data back with them in real time.”