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Propel VenturesMar 9, 2023 12:10:24 PM3 min read

Unlocking product potential and repositioning Banjo Loans for market success

Standing out from the crowd in the saturated financial markets of business and consumer lending is no small feat, however, Banjo Loans has managed to solidify itself as a trusted business lender within the SME market on the backs of a well-rounded and customer centric team of finance experts.

Following the events of COVID-19 and its stagnating impact on all markets, including that of business lending, and with its current product suite needing review, Banjo’s leadership knew they needed a team of financial product experts to assist them in developing an innovative and market relevant strategy. Banjo sought Propel Ventures assistance knowing that their experience with end-to-end strategic product partnerships would set them up for success.


Knowing where to play, and how to win

The business lending market, now heavily serviced by an increasing amount of technology first organisations, has seen a flood of new incumbents backed by Private Equity and Venture Capital funds. Banjo’s big question was, “Which markets do we want to play in, and how can we find success in those markets?”.

This is not a straightforward question for any lender in today’s market due to an increasingly saturated competitive landscape, a growing broker market, increased speed to funds on the back of growing online processing, and new products being developed by technology focused start ups (BNPL etc.). And Banjo knew that their product suite and market approach needed to be revitalised. But deciding which direction to move the business and how to ensure success is the hardest question for any executive to answer.

It was clear that Propel needed a way to narrow down the options and provide a best path forward for Banjo.


Customer centric product excellence

A key learning that Propel Ventures has gained from its years of strategic advice is that knowing your clear strengths and weaknesses is the first step to knowing your next move. And the best way to find this information is to talk to your stakeholders, both internally and externally, gaining the collective perspective and knowledge from all those interacting with the business and every level.

Guy Callaghan, Banjo Loans Chief Executive Officer, said Propel’s commitment to the project made us feel like they were part of the team.

“Before pushing any sort of solution or advice, Propel was thorough in their endeavour to understand our business, its stakeholders and their relevance to the business. This made us really feel like we were working with an invested partner, not just another consultancy.”

A lot of businesses in this situation make the same mistake, they think of technology first. And this mistake is an easy one to make due to the hyper focus of technology enablement as a quick fix. While technology is an important part of all business operations these days, it is too often looked at as the solution to all strategic dilemmas. In the case of Banjo, it was a customer centric focus that would enable the business to understand how they should best pivot their product suite.

Simple changes for big impact

After exploring several strategic options for Banjo’s product suite revision, Propel found that Banjo did not have to reinvent the wheel to unlock value from adjacent customer markets. Propel identified, explored and defined key target areas of uplift in order to redefine and refocus the Product and Market Strategy for the business.

While articulating options for the business, Propel also put together a list of key success factors, linked to actionable insights, that would best support the selected course of action.  

“Propel’s solutions were clear and actionable, not overly complex, allowing us to discuss the strategy with the wider business and easily execute.”


The beginning of Banjo’s next stage of success

Building upon Banjo’s foundational strengths of customer relationship and personalised lending, Propel was able to put together a clear short-medium term Product & Market Strategy outlining key product differentiation and redesign guidance that would enable near term market share growth.

Banjo is in the process of implementing this expanded product suite, already seeing the benefits of exploring new customer markets and unlocking the full potential of their Business.