ABN AMRO’s New10: A fully digital approach to business lending

Corporate Startup of the Week

Applying for a business loan isn’t easy, as most small business owners can attest. The process takes a lot of time and energy which can discourage people from even trying. In most cases, you have to wait four to six weeks to get a loan decision and the results are almost always uncertain. 

The onboarding process is frustrating, to say the least.

ABN AMRO, the third-largest bank in the Netherlands, was able to transform this service into a quick 15-minute process in which clients get their money in as little as two days. 

Meet New10, ABN AMRO’s fintech startup which provides entrepreneurs with the best of both worlds; the financial knowledge of one of the most renowned banks in the Netherlands and the flexibility of a start-up through their digital platform.

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ABN AMRO bank and bikes

A little bit about ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO, currently headquartered in Amsterdam, was nationalized by the Dutch government in 2015. It currently has more than 4,500 branches spanning 53 countries and employing more than 100,000 people. 

Despite their success, in 2017 the bank discovered some key market trends that were disrupting their industry:

  • The rapid emergence of innovative fintechs.
  • The increasing number of banks experimenting with new technology.
  • The various shifts affecting the financial services of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s).  
  • The increasing number of companies focusing on small businesses and beginning entrepreneurs.

It became evident that more and more traditional banks were being disrupted by fast-moving startups using their tech-enabled knowledge to innovate faster. 

Facing that pressure from more dynamic companies, ABN AMRO understood the urgent need to reinvent themselves and put more effort into digitizing their business and developing new products.

New10 wasn’t their first startup project; in fact, ABN AMRO has long trod the startup path with products like Florius (a mortgage provider) and Tikkie (a mobile payments app).

ABN AMRO new10 desktop

New10 – A digital approach catering to growing businesses

It all started in a meeting in December 2016 when Patrick Pfaff, ABN AMRO’s Director of Commercial Banking Clients (and New10 founder), spoke about the rapid market developments and highlighted the need for ABN AMRO to take action. 

The platform went from concept to launch in the span of 10 months, with people from all different departments in the bank (e.g. modeling, risk management, architecture, customer focus) and McKinsey working together to define personas and pain points.

From the early stages, New10 was designed to function like a startup rather than a division in the large traditional bank. The team working on the project was separated from ABN AMRO and the general culture was fast-paced and digitally-oriented.

Now, with New10, SMEs and entrepreneurs looking for a loan can go online and know whether they qualify or not within fifteen minutes. They provide loans ranging between EUR 5,000 and EUR 1 million. 

Of course, there are certain requirements e.g. a € 50.000 yearly turnover and a minimum of 15 months as a business. 

The process goes as follows:

  • The applicant fills in an online form where they select the purpose of the loan, the amount and the terms of the loan.
  • Next, they upload all of their financial statements and transactional documents.
  • The information is processed to determine whether the candidate is eligible for the loan or not in 15 minutes.
  • Approved clients get a digital identity and a contract is signed digitally and on the spot.
  • Two days later, the money is deposited into the business owner’s account.
The speed of a bank & the security of a bank

How ABN AMRO and New 10 benefited each other

The creation of New10 is a great example of how large banks can quickly respond to alternating market trends and create a truly user-centered service. 

New10 kept most of its operations separate from those of ABN AMRO’s while simultaneously utilizing the bank’s intellectual capital e.g. fraud management, data, patents, risk models and compliance. 

New10 was able to reap the benefits of ABN AMRO’s expertise and investment by: 

  • Launching a fully functional and operational lending service in 10 months.
  • Leveraging the bank’s expertise and resources, while working with a small team, allowing them to stay efficient and creative.
  • Not having to make ends meet like other startups and instead focusing on innovating.
  • Utilizing ABN AMRO’s valuable knowledge about credit risks and being able to offer reasonable interest rates to consumers.

The benefits to ABN AMRO:

ABN AMRO got to experiment with new technologies and learn from an alternate business model without risking too much capital (because New10 operated as a startup). This led to:

  • More opportunities to learn and adapt to the changing standards in the business loans market. 
  • Higher levels of agility and flexibility that would have previously been hard to create at such a large corporation like ABN AMRO.
  • Innovation without rocking the bank’s internal structures.

Additionally, ABN AMRO has a login for all of New10’s dashboards and is able to analyze and utilize all their reports. The platform is a treasure trove of valuable insights for the bank.

ABN AMRO new10

In the end…

ABN AMRO was able to incorporate the nimble approach of startups all while capitalizing on its own inherent advantages i.e. expertise, a large customer base, and capital.  As described by, Patrick Pfaff:

“Bringing in ABN AMRO Bank’s expertise enabled New10 to develop our proposition more quickly than a stand-alone company could have and to offer attractive pricing and experiences to customers on the day we launched” 

And it worked in their favor!  ABN AMBRO became a top online lender in the Netherlands thanks in part to New10. New10 for its part is currently being run as its own company, independently and away from the offices and traditional culture of its parent company. 

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Ritza Suazo

Ritza Suazo

Innovation Journalist