BankTechConstruction techFintechProptech

Built, nCino team up to digitize construction lending

Fintechs partner to offer an integrated solution that provides real-time visibility into construction projects

Built Technologies, which has developed construction finance software, announced Tuesday that it has integrated its platform into the nCino Bank Operating System. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the integration, let’s first discuss exactly who Built and nCino are and what they do. Then we’ll get into the details of how they’ll be working together.

Wilmington, North Carolina-based nCino has developed a cloud-based operating system for financial institutions and recently went public in an impressive debut. A team of bankers and entrepreneurs who found the commercial lending process to be inefficient and time-consuming formed the company in 2012. 

nCino has created a self-described “end-to-end” SaaS solution, dubbed the nCino Bank Operating System, in an effort to help banks “increase transparency, efficiency and profitability while ensuring regulatory compliance,” according to its website. The company says it integrates with a bank’s transactional systems, “while replacing point solutions and manual-based processes.” nCino works with more than 1,200 financial institutions globally, whose assets range in size from $30 million to more than $2 trillion.

Now, let’s take a look at Built Technologies. The Nashville, Tennessee-based startup – also a SaaS operator – is exclusively focused on construction finance technology.

Specifically, Built aims to connect commercial and consumer construction lenders, commercial real estate owners, commercial general contractors, residential homebuilders, specialty contractors, title companies, and other industry vendors to improve the flow of capital through the construction ecosystem. The 130-plus person company has raised over $76 million in funding from the likes of Index Ventures and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.

Built’s goal is to connect all key stakeholders involved in the construction financing process in real-time with the goals of: mitigating risk; allowing for faster draws and payments; and ensuring compliance. More than 120 construction lenders and thousands of owners and contractors use its platform to manage over $40 billion of annual construction spend.

Built was founded in 2014 but started working with its first lender client in mid-2015.

“The company was born out of our firsthand frustration with the construction problem,” said Built CEO Chase Gilbert. “It takes a lot of money to build things – whether it’s offices, houses or retail. We felt like there was a real opportunity to use technology to improve the way money moves in and throughout the construction ecosystem.”

Gilbert says he and his co-founders joked at the time that “all the cool kids in fintech” were on the lending side trying to disrupt the banks.

“We realized construction is different,” he explained. “Unlike certain lending products – like mortgage or auto lending – which are more commoditized. There’s a lack of standardization. Every construction loan is unique. Every market is unique. The dynamic of the market and those participating in the market are unique.”

So rather than try to be a lender, Built set out to build software products to help construction lenders of all types, including banks, credit unions, and independent mortgage brokers, among others. It was designed to compliment other technology the lenders are using for loan origination or servicing.

“Lenders represent the lifeblood of the entire construction economy,” Gilbert told FinLedger. “Without them, nothing gets built. It’s a very elaborate process to get money from point A to point B. And that’s the emphasis of our business.”

Enter nCino. The two fintechs have increasingly had a number of overlap clients over the years. After evaluating the prospect of working together, they decided to integrate their technologies. The goal of the integration is to simplify and automate the construction loan management process “while providing a convenient digital experience for construction borrowers,” according to Gilbert.

Construction and development loans often represent a small portion of most lender’s total assets, and as such, it’s an area of lending that has experienced very little digital innovation over the past twenty years, Gilbert said. 

“Most lenders spend valuable time managing these complex loans on spreadsheets and emails with manual data entry to core systems,” he added. Such manual administration processes not only present risk and compliance challenges, but they also make loans expensive to service and can create a difficult experience for their clients throughout construction, according to Gilbert.  

Built and nCino are teaming up to tackle the challenge with an integrated offering that aims to provide real-time visibility into construction projects, from loan origination through construction completion and stabilization. Lenders, borrowers and other authorized parties (i.e. contractors, draw inspectors/consultants, title agents, etc.) can “easily” view relevant information and take appropriate action based on their role. Draw requests and disbursements happen more quickly as excessive handoffs and multiple system interactions are eliminated. “Construction borrowers are happier because there is less paperwork, faster access to funds and transparency into the process all along the way,” the companies claim.

ConnectOne Bank was the first lender to use the integration. Frank Sorrentino, CEO and founder, believed that taking lending digital would always keep ConnectOne’s clients at the forefront of their business. 

“Built’s niche-specific software coupled with nCino’s robust infrastructure allows ConnectOne Bank to build and customize our infrastructure based on the different niches we serve,” Sorrentino said in a written statement. “As a former builder, I understand the need for speed, consistency, and transparency in the construction lending process. This integration of two top software companies allows us to scale the construction lending process.”

Trisha Price, nCino’s chief product officer, said her company recognized that there “are additional applications and services” that can further the functionality, efficiency and overall value of its operating system to financial institutions and their clients.

“By working with Built, we are able to provide an integrated solution to the financial services industry that helps maximize productivity and eliminate friction in the construction lending customer journey,” she added.

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