The lending industry is at a turning point. Patrick Stäuble and Marc Schillinger discuss the key benefits of automation.
Fintechs are disrupting every corner of the lending industry, from loan origination to risk scoring and debt collections: Two such fintechs are Teylor and eCollect, who have recently teamed up to use the synergies of their respective offerings. In the following interview, Patrick Stäuble, founder and CEO at Teylor, and Marc Schillinger, founder and CEO at eCollect, discuss the use of automated tools in the lending industry.
Q: In a few quick sentences, what do your companies do?
Patrick Stäuble: In one sentence: We build the lenders of tomorrow! We provide a modular Software-as-a-Service solution to banks enabling them to digitize and automate their lending processes. We also use our self-built technology to power our own digital lending platform that provides business loans for SMEs. We finance those loans through our own loan fund and in cooperation with partner banks.
Marc Schillinger: We provide automated tools for the end-to-end receivables management process for enterprises, from invoice creation and distribution to pre-legal debt collection and legal procedures. Our fully digital and AI-based service provides a faster and cheaper alternative to the outdated traditional debt collection methods, taking the customer journey to the next level.
Q: How does automation benefit your customers?
Patrick Stäuble: We mainly serve two customer groups: SMEs and banks. SMEs benefit from our technology as they can get loans much more quickly. While they usually have to wait at least six to twelve weeks to get a loan from a bank, Teylor provides an offer within minutes. For banks, the benefits of digitizing and automating credit processes with our software are increased speed, lower operational costs, and a better customer experience.
Marc Schillinger: Similar to what Patrick said, we also focus on speed, efficiency, and lower costs. We enable companies and corporations to automate their entire receivables management, which significantly speeds up the processing time – for example, to issue invoices or collect debts. Additionally, our clients and end-users can use our tailor-made international payment pages to pay an invoice, dunning or collection fee. As all of that happens digitally, there is no paperwork, and everything happens faster and at a lower cost.
Q: Will lending in the future be completely automated?
Patrick Stäuble: Most of the back office processes, yes, but not the communications. Decision-makers in SMEs still want to talk with a financial advisor to make credit decisions. So even though you can get it all done online through our website, we have real human finance specialists that our clients can talk to. That’s one of the key differentiators between Teylor and other digital lending platforms. We use digital technologies to improve processes, but we still emphasize the human factor in communications.
Marc Schillinger: We employ a wide range of automated solutions for back office processes, but also when communicating with debtors. We want to make it as easy as possible for debtors to talk to us, which is why we offer multiple touch point channels. We use an AI-based approach to set the ideal communication for each debtor, may it be email, SMS, WhatsApp, Viber, letter or call, you name it. We use different channels, but we also tailor our language, colors, and style. For example, we address a person from Generation Z differently than a Baby Boomer. With all of that said, you can’t entirely replace the human factor. Like Teylor, we also have an in-house call center to communicate with debtors in 13 languages across Europe.
Q: What’s your take on automating lending with cryptocurrencies?
Patrick Stäuble: Cryptocurrencies don’t play any role yet in our business. They are just not relevant for most SMEs, at least not today. There are interesting projects that apply blockchain technologies in the lending space, such as decentralized lending platforms. So things might change in the future.
Marc Schillinger: We offer 12 different cryptocurrencies as one payment channel, for example, Bitcoin and Litecoin via smart contracts. Overall, we offer more than 60 payment methods, for example, via PayLink or PayQR codes and even WeChatPay and AliPay. As cryptocurrencies become more relevant in the global economy, the next step for eCollect is to make the platform blockchain compatible. In the next six to twelve months, we want to address the topics of tokenization and smart contracts in the area of collection.