The seed for CrediVia was planted more than a decade ago, when company co-founder Anuj Mittal applied for a hotel loan—marking his first venture into commercial real estate. But finding a lender who would speak to him proved difficult. After six months of emailing, calling, and personally visiting lenders all over the U.S., Anuj was finally able to sit down with a lender to discuss options for his hotel loan. After that, he spent another three to six months collecting and providing the data and qualifications needed for loan approval.
Since then, Anuj has built a long career in hospitality financing on both the borrower and lender sides. As a senior loan officer and in other management positions at international banking and financial institutions, he has had a hand in the origination, approval, and oversight of commercial real estate loans totaling more than $1 billion. In 2004 he crossed over to the borrowing side when he founded MJM Group, a successful hospitality development company active in the Southeast and Midwest.
In his 25-year career in hospitality finance, he has never forgotten the frustration of his first borrowing experience. This and later experiences—along with his extensive knowledge of the CRE lending and borrowing process—inspired Anuj to partner with software solutions expert Dr. Ajay Jain to create CrediVia, a platform that makes the loan process simpler on both sides.
A confusing, disorganized process
In the traditional, paper-based loan process, the documents and information that borrowers must provide to lenders tend to be scattered among different forms. The sheer volume of data is so overwhelming that it’s hard for both lenders and borrowers to maintain, organize, and update it all. “The current process is time-consuming and non-standardized,” Anuj notes. “Communication among parties is often convoluted and lost in mountains of paperwork and emails.”
Anuj’s experience taught him that automating the hospitality lending process could make it more efficient and less onerous for everyone involved. The hospitality industry would benefit from a tool that would not only make it easier for borrowers to tell their story effectively to lenders, but also help lenders to quickly acquire the information they need to make well-informed decisions on loan approvals.
The CrediVia solution: organizing data into a consistent, digestible format
To develop this tool, Anuj found the ideal partner and co-founder in Jain, who has over 20 years of experience developing innovative solutions that transform business issues and ideas into practical products. Together, Anuj and Ajay created a standalone solution where borrower data can be uploaded and stored in an organized, user-friendly format. And so, in 2017, the CrediVia platform was born.
CrediVia digitizes the hospitality lending process to make it faster and easier for lenders and borrowers. Borrowers simply enter their relevant data and upload the necessary documentation into the system, and CrediVia organizes, formats, and presents that information in one standardized, user-friendly application.
With CrediVia, borrowers no longer have to grapple with complicated Excel spreadsheets that require a banking background and extensive commercial real estate experience to understand. CrediVia’s ability to present borrowers’ information in a consistent format to lenders “evens the playing field” for borrowers of all portfolio sizes, Anuj points out. “It allows first-time borrowers to use the same application formats that experienced borrowers use.”
On the lending side, CrediVia’s transformation of borrower data into digitized, standard formats helps lenders to digest and analyze the nine years of borrower information—data from the past three years, data from the current year, and projected data for the next five years—they must collect to do their due diligence on potential and existing deals. CrediVia mitigates this Herculean task by presenting lenders with all of this information at once so they can make an informed decision.
“Loans are often declined because either the borrower fails to understand the requirements for loan approval, or the lender lacks sufficient knowledge to fully understand the proposed project,” Anuj observes. “But if you have a meaningful way to organize and communicate the information, then analyzing it isn’t that difficult.”
Enabling borrowers’ stories to be told—and understood
The inefficient bureaucracy that bogs down the lending process often prevents lenders from fully understanding borrowers—each of whom has a story to tell. The CrediVia platform allows those stories to be clearly communicated, and lenders to hear and understand them. In an industry that depends so much on relationships, a tool that helps pave the way to mutual understanding—and, ultimately, mutual profitability—is always an advantage.