If you are a lender that offers SBA loans, you use E-Tran as the tool to submit your borrower’s applications. E-Tran is a critical part of the SBA lending program. As a longtime SBA partner, we wanted to provide you some background on E-Tran and the process.
What is E-Tran?
E-Tran is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) online loan portal. The service gives lender partners the ability to electronically submit, track and service SBA loans for their borrowers.
With E-Tran the SBA took a significant jump forward into the digital age. The effort accelerated the loan process, providing a faster loan turnaround and increased efficiency for lenders in an industry that has typically been paperwork heavy.
Many small business lenders are familiar with the web interface of E-Tran. It is reached by logging in to the Capital Access Finance System (CAFS).
With the right permissions, a user can access E-Tran through CAFS and submit their SBA loan for approval, inquire about the status of a previously submitted loan and even perform servicing actions on a loan that has been funded.
Something that people are likely less aware of is that you can also access E-Tran via loan management software, like Ventures+.
In technical terms, an application programming interface (API) is used, which simply means the systems can talk to each other directly without using the CAFS website.
Brief History of E-Tran
The inspiration behind E-Tran was to provide SBA lenders with an online tool to better serve borrowers, while also achieving more transparency.
In the early 2000s, loans were still arriving at the SBA on paper, by courier and by fax. They needed something new to bring them into the digital age.
They initially started accepting loan applications and documents through an FTP (File-Transfer-Protocol) service. This was a great improvement over paper documents and their transformation to an E-Tran based system had begun.
By 2014, E-Tran had gained enough momentum that the SBA set a goal to shift to 100% electronic processing. The SBA has continued to evolve the E-Tran portal in frequent consultation with partners.
With each iteration, more improvements to the efficiency and speed of the process were seen. E-Tran was here to stay.
These efforts by the SBA have led to great successes, including cutting back on unnecessary paperwork and boosts to productivity.
The technical team at the SBA are continually making improvements to the service and website to keep up with the ever-changing world of government-backed lending.
Recently, E-Tran was used as the conduit for CARES Act, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Overall, for a system not designed for the incredibly high volume of traffic it received, E-Tran performed well and was the key to getting PPP funds where they needed to go.
How Ventures+ Improves the E-Tran Experience
While E-Tran improved the process of submitting loan applications to the SBA, it’s role is not to assist in the large amount of work required to prepare and document the loan process up to that point or to help the lender service the loans after they are approved and funded. With that in mind, Ventures+ was created to provide lenders a complete ecosystem.
Remember the API we talked about above? Ventures+ uses the E-Tran API to save you time which also saves you money.
Ventures+ allows you to connect to E-Tran and submit your loan applications and documents without having to go to the CAFS website.
But how does that make things better? There are a few main advantages of using Ventures+ overusing E-Tran directly:
Minimize Double Data Entry + Inconsistent Information
When using the E-Tran website on CAFS, the user must key in all of the required application data manually.
If your internal loan system does not have connectivity to E-Tran, this means that you are now doing double data entry by keying the loan into your system and then into E-Tran. This can lead to incorrect or inconsistent data which will slow down the approval process. Nobody likes typing the same data over and over.
With a connected system, like Ventures+, you enter your data once and it gets mapped where you want, when you want. E-Tran requests, document generation and communication to your borrowers are just some of the places where Ventures+ saves you time by allowing you to map in data that you have already entered into the system.
Automated Document Management
Now let’s think about the workflow for uploading documents if you were using the CAFS website.
First you key in all of your loan data manually; don’t make any mistakes. Then you need to upload the supporting documents.
Sounds simple enough. But how does that actually work?
Whether you are generating documents from another system or producing them manually, you still need to pick and choose which files get uploaded to E-Tran and how to categorize them and upload them one by one. It is yet another error-prone, manual process.
With multiple documents to be uploaded, an automated system greatly streamlines the process.
Enter it Once, All in one place
Ventures+ eliminates these headaches and does a whole lot more.
Because Ventures+ is a comprehensive loan management system built by people with decades of combined experience in SBA lending, it handles these problems without a hitch.
When a loan application gets keyed into Ventures+, it doesn’t ever have to be keyed in anywhere else.
When you are ready to send your loan data to the SBA, you’ll provide the same login information that you would use to log in to the E-Tran website and Ventures+ handles the rest.
Everything happens in the Ventures+ interface.
Easy Document Management
When using the optional Doc Storage+ module, you are able to define different types of documents for storage and the type of SBA document that it represents. This makes it easy to tell which documents are required to be sent based on the SBA loan type and the SBA document type.
Managing this process outside of a connected, smart system like Ventures+ is difficult at best. You would have to rely on the filename or possibly have to open each file to determine what type of document it represents.
Simple Custom Document Generation
Since we touched on manually composing documents earlier, let’s talk about how Ventures+ solves that problem too.
Ventures+ generates any type of document with the data that is collected.
In addition to included standard document types, you can also define any style of document you wish with our online editor. Just key in the text, style it how you like and select any data collected by the system to be mapped into the document. You can then generate the same consistent document for any loan in the system.
Responsive World Class Customer Support
The Ventures+ customer support team has a reputation for being the best in the business and it shows in the way they conduct their activities.
Our Ventures+ customer care team, currently based in California and Texas, responds quickly to requests via email or phone. Whether you have a simple question about the system or something that requires some hands-on assistance, our team will solve your problems quickly and with a smile.
The team are experts in both the lending and software realms, and will efficiently help you solve your problem. And they do it with a smile.
E-Tran has been an amazingly successful program developed by the SBA. That’s why we built Ventures+ to make using E-Tran even easier. If you would like to learn more, contact us to schedule a demo.