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A new face on small business lending

A new face on small business lending

Posted on: July 21, 2016 | Author: Scott Weir, Crowdlending Specialist

In Alberta’s current economic state, we have all heard the message that now is the time to diversify, to support local businesses, to embrace innovation.

At ATB Financial, we have found this message to be exciting, motivating, and ultimately one of the catalysts to start reimagining what the future of banking looks like.

We have found ourselves asking questions like:

  • What if we were more than just a bank?
  • What if banking was the avenue to all happiness?
  • How can we help small businesses in Alberta in a truly unique/different way?
  • What if EVERY Albertan could lend to an Alberta business?

Introducing ATB LendR.

What is ATB LendR?

ATB LendR is an online exchange where a borrower (business) raises a loan from a crowd of people (LendRs), in exchange for interest. ATB LendR is more than just a loan, it’s a way to build your brand and community. A LendR loan helps a business by providing funding when they might not normally qualify. By leveraging the crowd, ATB uses that as “social proof” and backs 50 per cent of the loan.

However, what makes LendR really special is its ability to help you accelerator your brand. We work with the business to develop a written and video “story” that helps get the community of LendRs excited to invest. It also provides an opportunity for your existing community to support you in your growth and to share in your success. Plus if people invest in your business, they want to see you succeed and will likely act as your advocates.

Who can be a LendR?

Any Alberta resident over the age of 18 can be a LendR. Securities rules do not allow us to accept LendRs from other provinces.

Are there limits on what I can lend?

The most you can lend to any one business on any single loan is $5,000. You also can’t have more than $10,000 lent out in aggregate.

Does ATB get repaid first?

No. All repayments are split between all the LendRs, including ATB.

What kind of businesses qualify for a Lift Loan?

A small business that has been an ATB Business customer for at least 12 months can apply for a Lift Loan. We use a unique lending model to review applications, looking at things like account history and credit scores. It is faster and closer to a business credit card application than a bank’s commercial loan review.

Why doesn’t ATB give them a regular loan?

In some cases the businesses may qualify for a regular loan, but may want a Lift Loan to help promote their business and build their brand. In some cases they may not qualify for a regular loan. That could be because they aren’t established enough for regular loan criteria, don’t have a lot of assets, or the nature of their business isn’t well suited to it.

Are there any costs for LendRs to participate?

ATB LendR is free to join. There are no fees to load funds on the platform, or make a loan, and any interest you earn is yours. During our initial launch period if you load funds and decide not to make a loan, you’ll be able to withdraw them without charge. After our initial launch period there will be a one per cent charge to take funds off the platform, to cover various transaction costs.

For more information and to sign up as a LendR or a Borrower, please visit