Skip to content

SME Lending

askif Logo White



October 20, 2022 | Jonathan Pryer

AskIf Plans to Support Many More SME Borrowers by Using Alternative Data to Gain Deeper Insights

  • Ability to detect and quantify risk more accurately
  • Estimated 80% saving in time to underwrite case
  • Remove burden of providing publicly and privately available data from loan applicants
  • Use of non-standard data sets enables AskIf to look beyond the business data to truly understand the business owner and their needs
  • Live with new solution in three months
  • Easily configured 150 business rules and 3 different Python risk models

The Challenge

One of the few female-led fintechs in the UK, AskIf is a business with a mission to deliver loans to small, credit-worthy businesses unable to secure funding from mainstream lenders, financing the £1.5bn+ annual gap that exists for SMEs in the UK.

Many organizations that are positioned to lend to underserved SMEs can only process a small number of loans. AskIf wanted to change this paradigm by using technology to automate necessary operations and simplify the application process to be a force multiplier, enabling AskIf to assist more small and micro businesses. Hence, AskIf was seeking an innovative and sophisticated credit decisioning platform that provided a low friction loan application process.

“The partnership with Provenir and the access to data they provide has been a really important part of our solution. It allows us to extend our footprint and make decisions on those applicants on the boundaries. It also means we can make very quick decisions, which is critical for small businesses.”

Samantha Bamert, Founder & CEO of Ask Inclusive Finance

The Solution

To accurately assess eligibility, detect fraud and create a comprehensive analysis of each small business applicant, AskIf uses Provenir’s API orchestration technology to call out to 17 bureau services to collect data, and then feeds that data into its uniquely configured credit and fraud decisioning engine. Most lenders call out to fewer than five services.

The Results

By combining rules, data and analytics, AskIf is able to deliver best-in-class decisioning to SMEs seeking funding, many of whom are excluded from mainstream finance, whilst detecting and quantifying risk and optimising risk-adjusted returns. The use of non-standard datasets and new technologies delivers a more accurate assessment of risk. This approach enables AskIf to look beyond the business data and to truly understand the business owner and their needs.

The agility of the Provenir platform and its Professional Services capabilities, together with the expertise and collaboration of the AskIf team, resulted in this project being built in only three months.

Since being awarded CBILS lender status in 2020, AskIf has worked with a variety of businesses in multiple sectors; from family-run food manufacturers and business consultancies to construction companies and even childcare providers, helping them to survive and thrive through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than £5m of lending was advanced by AskIf to credit worthy SMEs under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILS) scheme during the pandemic.

Latest outcomes