At SPARK, we’ve been a customer-centric company since our founding. But nothing has illustrated that more than the past year. 

When our customers needed us most in the midst of PPP nuances and an influx of applications, we were right there with them — interpreting and acting on changing SBA legislation to make sure they weren’t delayed in accepting applications. 

And that’s really what you look for in a partner, right? Someone who will be there to help when you’re stuck. We’re proud to go to bat for our customers to not only help them out of a bind but make them look good while doing it. 

While our customer success team is on the frontlines, it’s truly everyone at SPARK — from leadership to development — who interacts with customers to help them realize big wins.

Banks Become Rockstars

No one had time to prepare when the pandemic shut down the U.S. and the SBA announced PPP relief. Banks were forced to quickly respond to a tidal wave of loan applications without the ability to meet in-person and receive documents. Those who realized the power of digital early on were able to separate themselves from the pack to meet the public need.

This includes Century Bank of Milledgeville, GA. Century Bank became a SPARK customer, got onboarded, and began successfully originating PPP loans in just two weeks — a timeframe nearly unheard of in the banking industry. What’s more, SPARK’s intuitive design and Century Bank’s repeated use of the platform allowed the company to complete Round 1 of lending without having to lean on the customer success team. So when Round 2 came shortly after, Century Bank was prepared, acting as SPARK experts and completing their loans faster than Round 1. 

Century Bank is a great example of what can happen when lenders follow the advice they receive during onboarding, follow along with the SPARK process laid out for them, and use our training materials regularly.

Emily McCarty
Senior Customer Success Manager, SPARK

In addition, First Republic Bank based in San Francisco, CA was completely new to SBA lending when the pandemic hit. Due to the vast unknowns of the early days of PPP, speed was of the utmost importance to the bank when it came to developing a loan origination process. Despite having no SBA department and little SBA institutional knowledge, SPARK onboarded First Republic in an unprecedented 48 hours. From there, the successes poured in. In just a few weeks, the team successfully originated more than 10,000 PPP loans — all made possible by a simple, repeatable, and scalable process. 

“Our onboarding process is structured so that SPARK can be sufficiently customized without requiring enormous amounts of the customer’s time and effort,” said Tanner Bruhschwein, Director of Customer Success at SPARK.

After being onboarded in just 48 hours, First Republic Bank successfully originated more than 10,000 PPP loans in only 11 days.

First Republic Bank

Expertise Makes a Difference

Why is SPARK’s onboarding process so efficient and fruitful? Because of the preparedness, confidence, and longstanding expertise of our employees.

Our team has been in the weeds of all things lending (especially government guaranteed lending) for years — even decades for some. That means we start from a point of empathy and inherent knowledge of how to best partner with our customers to be successful.

“Our clients trust us to be partners with them,” said McCarty. “There’s always a knowledgeable person around to answer client questions and talk through any issues/concerns.”

And when a crisis comes knocking, it sure is nice to have people who know what they’re doing on your side. With every new change SBA made to the PPP program came confusion and uncertainty. But SPARK was able to update the product and processes to ensure customers were never waiting for changes to be made in the platform — even before SBA had a chance to implement them.

PPP was and still continues to be the largest undertaking in SBA’s history. While the agency processed 63,500 loans for a total of $28.2 billion in 2019, it processed 1.6 million loans equaling $349 billion in just the first round of PPP — a total of 13 days. In the same way, PPP pushed SPARK to its max, tripling our loan count in the system literally overnight. Thanks to quick-thinking, flexibility, and an agile team, we always kept up with SBA’s frequent changes and we were able to keep our customers up and running in their time of need.

With this confidence and proven performance, we feel well-equipped to help our customers shine in the future, whatever new challenges that might bring.

Interested to learn more? Request a demo and learn how our SPARK platform will benefit your bank.


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