Cognistx (Cognistx.com), a tech firm that builds artificial intelligence (AI) systems for clients across the U.S., developed a solution to speed up a Miami-Dade County community loan process, accelerating the disbursement of millions in COVID-19 relief funds to struggling small businesses.
Traditional loan programs, whether processed by the SBA, a bank, or in this case, a community development financial institution (CDFI), rely on staff carefully reviewing and checking applications. This initial process can take up to an hour per applicant.
The Pittsburgh-based Cognistx reduced the initial review to seconds, alleviating staff from having to cull through hundreds of forms. Its AI solution analyzes applications to the $25 million RISE Miami-Dade Fund, determining which businesses are the best candidates and where they’re located by commission district. The location ensures an equitable distribution of money. Teams of loan reviewers focus on interviewing applicants who make it out of the first round and give their final recommendations.
“Our technology saves hundreds if not thousands of hours in staff time and better serves businesses applying for loans,” said Cognistx CEO Sanjay Chopra. “We built a solution that, in essence, puts the relief funds into the hands of the businesses that need it the most before it’s too late. The faster the money is dispersed and into the community, the greater the impact on the local economy.”
Since the launch of RISE on Monday, July 6, more than 1,200 applications have been submitted and analyzed for CDFIs like the Miami Bayside Foundation.
“The quicker we receive the data, the quicker the businesses receive results,” said Michael Sellinger, director of loan programs at Miami Bayside Foundation. “When there’s a high volume of applications, the speed and accuracy AI offers is dramatic.”
In contrast, the Paycheck Protection Program money loan process was mired by delays because banks couldn’t process loans quickly and get the money out the door. Thousands of businesses closed while waiting to hear of their approval.
The Cognistx AI solution for Miami-Dade County is poised to transform how banks and lenders big and small do business, especially during times of crisis.
“This leading-edge technology will make lenders more responsive to the needs of businesses and communities,” said Roberto Pareja, director of finance and business development for Cognistx. “We also have the potential to help the lenders like CDFIs after the loan is disbursed in helping them automate lots of the loan servicing and monitoring functions, enabling their staff to focus on better servicing customers and keeping asset quality standards.”