Credit unions revive personal lending with fintech help

Unsecured personal loans were sucking up staff time at Princeville State Bank. But after finding a fintech partner, the bank has streamlined the process — and freed up staff to tackle bigger loans. More than 50 community banks and credit unions are using the technology from Quilo, which also allows them to offer point-of-sale financing to their business customers.

For most banks, a $500 personal loan is a thing of the past. But at Princeville State Bank in rural Illinois, customers were still coming in to apply for small, unsecured loans — a process that chewed up about 90 minutes for loan officers tasked with taking the applications.

Princeville State didn’t want to abandon the business. However, it wanted a faster, tech-oriented solution, “something that shows that we’re a little bit more cutting-edge, that we’re not just the old, rural, farm-town bank that has a cool design on their checks,” says Andrew Black, president and chief executive of the $109 million-asset institution in Princeville, Ill., north of Peoria.

The answer arrived via the ThinkTECH Accelerator, a program started by the Independent Community Bankers Association to match community banks with early-stage fintechs. During the accelerator’s 2022 edition, Princeville State struck up a relationship with Quilo, which had developed a digital application platform for unsecured loans.

After testing the product in-house, the bank rolled out Quilo to its customers in fall 2022, Black says. It makes the loans directly to its retail banking customers and through small businesses that want to offer point-of-sale financing to their customers.


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