Read how Bankwell Bank transforms small-business loans with GenAI, turning night inquiries into prime opportunities.

Bankwell Bank in New Canaan, Connecticut, is redefining small-business lending by integrating GenAI technology. The bank’s collaboration with startup Cascading AI introduces a virtual assistant, Sarah, designed to streamline the loan application process. This addresses a significant challenge in the industry: the time-intensive nature of small-business loans.

Traditionally, small-business lending has been a cumbersome process, fraught with inefficiencies and requiring substantial manual effort for data validation and loan approval. Bankwell’s Chief Innovation Officer, Ryan Hildebrand, recognized these inefficiencies as opportunities for innovation. By leveraging Cascading AI’s GenAI technology, Bankwell aims to enhance efficiency and customer service, particularly during off-hours when loan officers are unavailable.

The GenAI system, Casca, facilitates a smoother application process, engaging potential borrowers with timely and relevant questions and maintaining momentum even outside standard business hours. This approach not only improves the borrower’s experience but also significantly increases the quality of leads generated through organic marketing efforts.

Moreover, the implementation of GenAI in loan processing addresses common pitfalls such as data hallucination and the production of inaccurate information, with a human-in-the-loop approach to ensure reliability and compliance. The system’s ability to prequalify loans and streamline the application process represents a significant shift towards more accessible and efficient lending practices for small businesses.

The impact of this GenAI integration extends beyond operational efficiency. By automating the initial stages of the loan application process, Bankwell can offer more personalized and responsive service. This technological advancement aligns with the bank’s strategic goals of enhancing small-business lending and fostering innovation within the banking sector.