Walmart teams with Citi on digital lending for 10,000 suppliers
By Gloria Methri
Retail giant Walmart has teamed up with Citi to introduce the Bridge platform to its network of 10,000 small-and medium-sized businesses. Bridge built by Citi is a digital platform that connects SMBs with a group of 70+ lenders for loans of up to $10 million.
By filling out a loan request form, Walmart suppliers can interact with a broad group of lenders across the United States. Once a request is submitted, the platform connects suppliers with multiple potential lenders that can evaluate their requests.
Bridge was developed to provide more inclusive access to capital while supporting innovative, digital-first solutions for SMBs. It also allows lenders to expand their reach beyond their immediate local market and diversify their businesses. The platform’s lender base has already grown from 18 banks in 2021 to more than 70 lenders nationwide currently on the platform.
Jason Fremstad, Senior Vice President of Supplier Development at Walmart said, “By leveraging the Bridge platform, our suppliers can have better access to the funding they need to expand their operations to reach and surpass their goals. Greater access to capital will help our suppliers continue to provide the products that our customers are looking for.”
Working capital loans, commercial mortgages, and other pre-shipment financing loans are among the potential loans extended by some of the lenders on the platform.
“Many SMBs don’t have a network of existing bank relationships – especially those operating in underrepresented communities,” said Rohit Mathur, Head of the Bridge built by Citi platform. “Bridge offers a modern and efficient way for Walmart’s U.S. suppliers to navigate the lending process and cultivate relationships with multiple lenders while helping them gain access to the capital that is essential for them to grow.”
To engage Walmart’s supplier network, Citi has increased the number of Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) and Community Development Financial Institutions on the platform. Of the 70 lenders currently participating on the Bridge platform, more than 20 are MDIs and four are women-owned institutions. In addition, 15 of the 20 Black-owned banks in the U.S. are lenders on the platform.
IBSi Daily News Analysis
March 22, 2023
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