Teslar Software of Springdale provided the software used to process more than 1.3 million — more than one-fifth — of the Paycheck Protection Program loan applications that received funding this year.
Now, the financial technology company plans to use that experience to make a new product.
“We’re taking all of that technology that we did for PPP, the scalability, the ease of use for the borrower, and we’re turning it into … making commercial lending, small-business lending for 7(a), easier for business owners out there that apply through our banks,” CEO Joe Ehrhardt said, referring to the SBA’s most common loan program, the 7(a) Loan Program, and Teslar’s banking partners. “The last area not digitized well in community banking is commercial lending.”
He said Teslar intends to digitize that function while retaining the relationship banks have with their customers, i.e., customers won’t be asked for information the bank that has been serving them for years should already have on file.
Community bankers pride themselves on knowing their customers, so their digital representation should reflect that, and Teslar will make sure it does, Ehrhardt said.
The firm’s work on the PPP loans started when it teamed up last year with billionaire Mark Cuban and Jill Castilla, president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond, Oklahoma, to launch a PPP loan forgiveness website.
Ehrhardt said that got some press, and, as a result, Teslar connected with several banks involved with the PPP. “And so it’s kind of one of those ironic things where, you know, we did a project for free, essentially to help people, and it paid dividends,” he said.