StreetShares Review - Goodbye Small Business Loans, Say Hello to Atlas

StreetShares is a financial technology (fintech) company that recently pivoted away from the digital lending that it began doing in 2014. Initially, the company funded veteran-owned and other small businesses through a unique peer-to-peer lending model. Today, StreetShares focuses on its Atlas platform, which provides community banks and credit unions with the technology it needs to serve the needs of its small business owner customers. So, if you’re looking for business funding, unfortunately, StreetShares is no longer for you. But if you’re in the banking industry, read on to learn about how the Atlas platform can help you improve customer relationships and streamline the lending process.

What is StreetShares?

StreetShares began in 2014 as a mission-based digital lender. When founded, it primarily focused on funding military veteran-owned small businesses nationwide. In 2016, StreetShares expanded its capabilities to support small business owners with referral partnerships from community lenders.
In 2018, StreetShares began its collaboration with banks and credit unions to serve their small business customers. This collaboration resulted in the launch of StreetShares’ digital business banker application marketplace, Atlas. Up until this point, StreetShares was directly lending to small businesses. After surpassing $200M in direct lending, StreetShares ended its direct lending to focus on helping community leaders serve small businesses with Atlas.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlas became a guarantor and expanded once again to help community lenders with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lending and forgiveness. It quickly became one of the nation’s most extensive PPP lending solutions.
Today, the Atlas platform provides community leaders across the country with state-of-the-art business lending capabilities, including business loans, lines of credit, and more.

How does StreetShares work?

StreetShares offers a suite of products through its Atlas platform. To learn more about a product, you have to visit the website and review the options presented. Then, you can click on the product that seems the most appropriate based on your needs.
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I decided to click on the end-to-end small business lending option. This brought me to a page with information about the product and what it offers. It also gave me the chance to choose between Atlas Complete or Atlas Advanced.
Atlas2a
I clicked on “Go Atlas Advanced.” From here, you can put in your contact information to request a demo of Atlas.
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After you’ve received your demo, you’ll be able to explore the product(s) and decide whether it’s right for you.

How much does StreetShares cost?

Unfortunately, StreetShares does not publicize its pricing model. If you’re a financial institution, the best thing to do is request a demo of the product(s) you are interested in. After trying out the demo, you can speak with a customer service representative about pricing based on your needs.

StreetShares features

Atlas Platform

StreetShares' focus is on Atlas, a platform that provides next-generation technology to community banks and credit unions. Its bank and credit union partners receive access to tools and solutions through the Atlas platform that helps to serve the full suite of banking needs for small business owners in America.

Marketing & Sales Engine

With online banking on the rise, Atlas offers a platform to provide teams with accurate account analysis in real-time. Using existing relationship data, the platform can suggest relevant offers that can help address customers' financial needs.
The Atlas Marketing & Sales Engine helps you prioritize and put your best opportunities at the forefront. All you need to do is upload your existing data into Atlas to get started. Atlas can use this data to provide a snapshot view of relevant account information and your opportunities. From here, you can build prospect lists to narrow down targeted offers for specific businesses.
Atlas provides banks with clear and detailed information to help every branch understand each customer’s financial profile. This valuable information can help grow business engagement and improve your sales and marketing efforts.

Digital Application & Small Business Owner Hub

Having been in the direct lending game, StreetShares understands what borrowers are looking for. That’s why it tested hundreds of application formats before creating an all-digital, intuitive application process. The application uses a streamlined data collection process to minimize the burden on small business applicants. Not only does this make the application process easier on the borrower, but it also benefits lenders by maximizing borrower application completion rates.
Applicants can complete business loan requests in amounts up to $1M in as little as 7 minutes. As a lender, your credit team can pre-screen applications by adjusting the Credit Policy Wizard. This allows you to set criteria to pre-screen by industry, credit score, and other criteria. After the pre-screening process is complete, your team can qualify, score, and accurately price offers within a matter of minutes.
The Small Business Owner Hub is also there to support small business customers beyond the application process. Your small business customers can log in to check the status of their applications, apply for other financial products, and communicate with your branch and relationship managers. The hub is available on both desktop and mobile devices, allowing for real-time communication to boost lender-borrower relationships.

Decisioning & Analytics

Atlas helps lenders meet the needs of small business owners by providing the tools that can aid in speeding up the underwriting process. After a digital application is submitted, Atlas organizes the risk profile of each borrower. It specifically considers the business’s credit performance, credit profile, industry risk, cash flow analytics, payment history, and credit utilization. It also scans for identity risks, including fraud alerts.
This portion of the platform allows lenders to access a holistic risk view of each application, allowing for quicker decisions with thorough analytics. It also will enable you to auto-generate your boarding file and exchange closing documents with business loan applications.

Who is StreetShares best for?

Banks and Credit Unions

StreetShares is great for banks and credit unions because it provides the tools necessary to offer high-quality small business loans to current and new customers alike. Its fully digital experience can help with the entire business loan process, including customer acquisition and support after issuing the loans. The Atlas platform can be up and running in as few as 4 to 6 weeks, making it quick and easy for financial institutions to get started.

Who shouldn’t use StreetShares?

Small Businesses

StreetShares used to offer direct funding for small businesses as an online lender. Specifically, they were a military veteran business that provided small business loans primarily to other veteran business owners. StreetShares’ financial products offered many benefits, including quick preapprovals, no prepayment penalties, and a best-price guarantee. However, they stopped offering direct funding in 2020 to focus on the Atlas platform for banks and credit unions.
Small business owners were able to apply for various financial products from StreetShares. There were short-term loans with a 3-36 month term length and a loan amount that could vary between $2,000 and $250,000. StreetShares also offered business lines of credit with 3-36 month terms and between $5,000 and $250,000. Businesses could borrow up to 20% of their annual revenue and set up automatic weekly payments for the loan repayment. In addition to offering an interest rate of roughly 6%-14%, StreetShares only required businesses to pay interest on funds used. StreetShares also offered cash advance loans and contract financing options. StreetShares charged a one-time origination fee of 3.95% or 4.95% if a borrower accepted a funded loan. The fee is based on factors including term length, loan amount, and risk.
StreetShares did have some limitations on its financial products. This included restrictions on sole-proprietorships in some states and restrictions on industries such as real estate development.
Customers with outstanding loans or lines of credit balances through StreetShares still need to make weekly payments until the loan or line of credit is paid in full. Fortunately, StreetShares still has no prepayment penalty if a loan is paid off early.

Investors

In addition to offering business financing, StreetShares was a good option for investors as well. It provided a version of peer-to-peer lending that connected investors with borrowers based on shared characteristics.
These days, since StreetShares no longer offers small business financing, it also no longer offers opportunities for investors.

Pros & cons

Pros
  • StreetShares has years of experience offering financial products. This has allowed the company to learn about what lenders need to create the right solutions, which are now offered through the Atlas platform.
  • Financial institutions can begin using the platform in as little as 30 days.
  • Atlas can be used to assist with all stages of the business loan lifecycle, proving a true all-in-one solution.
Cons
  • StreetShares no longer offers financial products directly to small businesses.
  • StreetShares no longer offers peer-to-peer investment opportunities.
  • Pricing information for the Atlas platform is not available on the StreetShares website.

StreetShares vs. competitors

CompanyProducts & ServicesSet-up TimeDemo Available
StreetSharesSales & marketing engine, customer hub & application, and analyticsAs little as 4 weeksYes
HES FinTechLoan origination, loan servicing, debt collection, custom development, credit scoring platform, consultingAs little as 90 daysYes
LendingWiseCRM software, LOS software, servicing software, marketplace, integrations, implementation & training, outsourced processing/underwriting, website templatesWithin minutes, or 2-4 weeks for unique customization requirementsYes

HES FinTech

HES FinTech provides intelligent lending platforms for financial institutions. Launched in 2012, HES creates lending software that streamlines workflows with automation and reduces operating expenses.
HES provides solutions throughout all of the life stages of a business loan. Its loan origination software helps with client onboarding and document management, including electronic document signing. It also allows you to evaluate potential borrowers with a custom-made decision-making process thoroughly. After the loan closes, HES streamlines the entire loan servicing process through the time that it’s paid off. You can also use HES to manage the loan, including payment delays, loan restructuring, and adding additional funds to the existing principal.
All of HES’ software is custom-made and designed to reduce risks by scoring applicants based on several factors. This includes scoring the application overall and prioritizing applicants who show a higher chance of paying back the loan quickly. The platform does all of the scoring work for financial institutions, making it so that the only effort required on a bank’s part is to click a button and review the results.
HES FinTech’s software takes between 3 to 4 months on average to get up and running. It currently operates in 25 countries and offers free demos and quotes from its website.

LendingWise

LendingWise offers an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM), loan origination system (LOS), servicing, and marketplace platform for lenders and originators. This fintech company was founded in 2006 under The Loan Post brand and has helped manage and process more than 2 million loans to date. LendingWise itself was launched in 2017 as a LOS platform for commercial private money lenders and brokers, specifically those who specialize in commercial real estate & Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs.
LendingWise’s CRM provides a customizable dashboard for all users, complete with many loan files and other key data points and charts. Borrowers and brokers can also use an online portal to upload documents, update payment information, order pay-offs, and more. Lenders can use the LendingWise CRM to build profiles around borrowers and brokers to help create and execute targeted marketing campaigns.
The loan origination system offers pre-built, customizable web forms to manage loan programs and documents at every step of the process. You can use LendingWise’s library of built-in docs or incorporate your preferred documents so they can be auto-populated with electronic signature options. Payments can be automated through the loan servicing software. If you use the fractional investor model, you can also set up and track the ownership share of each investor and automate their payments.
One of the best benefits of LendingWise is that it offers services as well as financial products. It offers various plans that can help train companies and implement required configurations. LendingWise can also create customized solutions for everything from installing web forms to creating custom training manuals and videos. If your website needs modernizing, LendingWise can provide website templates for as little as $495. On top of all of that, LendingWise also offers loan processing and underwriting services.

FAQs

I’m a veteran who recently founded a startup. Where can I turn to for funding now?
There is a wide variety of lenders who can provide similar products to the former StreetShares loans. First, you can check with the SBA for counseling and inquire about any specific programs available to you. You can also look into lenders on your own to see what loan products each offers.
Why should financial institutions use fintech software like Atlas?
There are several benefits to using fintech. For one, the automated processes that Atlas and other fintech platforms establish can streamline and speed up the lending process. It also takes away a lot of the manual, time-consuming work lending institutions need to provide without these platforms. Risk management is another crucial reason that financial institutions should consider a platform like Atlas. The platform can be built to analyze data based on each lender’s criteria to score applications and show which ones offer the least amount of risk.
How do I figure out which products I need?
Atlas offers demos so you can test out the features and see what does and doesn’t work for your institution.

The bottom line

StreetShares is a fintech company that provides several financial products for small businesses, primarily those owned by veterans. In 2020, StreetShares moved away from direct lending to focus on its new venture, the Atlas platform. Today, the Atlas platform can be used by financial institutions to serve the needs of small business customers.
When StreetShares offered direct financing, it used a unique peer-to-peer lending model that matched borrowers and investors based on factors they might have in common. For example, a veteran business owner might be paired with a veteran investor. This model was thought to increase the relationship between borrower and investor, thus improving the odds of timely repayment.
Now, StreetShares can help with all of the stages of the loan process through the Atlas platform. It can be used to identify relevant offers based on customers’ needs, streamline the application process, and score applicants based on individual risk assessments. Financial institutions can benefit by lowering overhead costs, speeding up the application process, and resting assured that the technology improves its loan processes overall.

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