Walmart, Citi Introduce Bridge to Walmart Suppliers

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Citi (NYSE: C) are collaborating to introduce the Bridge built by Citi platform (Bridge) to Walmart’s 10,000 small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in their US-based supplier network.

Bridge is “a digital platform that connects SMBs with a diverse group of more than 70 lenders that provide qualifying businesses with loans of up to $10 million.”

Through a single loan request form, Walmart suppliers can “interact with a broad group of lenders located across the United States.”

Once a request is submitted, the platform seamlessly “connects suppliers with multiple potential lenders that can evaluate their requests.”

This provides for “a more efficient loan process for both the suppliers and lenders and empowers suppliers by offering them greater choice, convenience, and access to capital.”

It also “provides lenders with the potential to expand their reach beyond their immediate local market and diversify their lending businesses.” In preparation for this launch, the platform’s lender base has “grown from 18 banks in 2021 to more than 70 lenders nationwide currently on the platform.”

Jason Fremstad, Senior Vice President of Supplier Development at Walmart, said:

“At Walmart, we know small- and medium-sized businesses are the engine that drives the U.S. economy and local communities. Many diverse owned businesses also fit the small- and medium-sized business profile. As such we stand to strengthen our longstanding Supplier Inclusion offering through this specific opportunity. By leveraging the platform, our suppliers can have better access to the funding they need to expand their operations to reach and surpass their goals. Greater access to capital will help our suppliers continue to provide the products that our customers are looking for.”

Working capital loans, commercial mortgages and other pre-shipment financing loans are among the potential loans “extended by some of the lenders on the platform.”

Walmart has programs that “help with post-shipment financing, but Bridge built by Citi has the potential to expand options available to qualifying suppliers.”

Bridge was “developed to provide more inclusive access to capital while supporting innovative, digital-first solutions for SMBs.”

Rohit Mathur, Head of the Bridge built by Citi platform, said:

“Many small and medium-sized business owners don’t have a network of existing bank relationships – especially those operating in underrepresented communities. Bridge offers a modern and efficient way for Walmart’s U.S. suppliers to navigate the lending process and cultivate relationships with multiple lenders while helping them gain access to the capital that is essential for them to grow.”

In preparation for engaging Walmart’s supplier network, Citi focused “on increasing the number of Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) on the platform.”

Of the more than 70 lenders currently “participating on the Bridge built by Citi platform, more than 20 are MDIs and four are women-owned institutions.”

M&F Bank in North Carolina has “used the platform to source opportunities to lend hundreds of thousands of dollars to businesses they would not have found otherwise.”

Emily Turner, Head of Business Development, Institutional Clients Group at Citi.

“At Citi, we are focused on delivering innovative solutions that create value for our clients and contribute to a more inclusive and efficient financial ecosystem. This includes our collaborations with clients and partners such as Walmart to identify optimal paths for the solutions we are creating.” 

Walmart suppliers can “access the platform and review terms of use through a dedicated website: www.bridgebuiltbyciti.com/walmart.”

As noted in the update, neither Walmart nor Citi have “any influence in lending decisions, nor do they participate as lenders on the platform.”

Bridge helps “to facilitate the establishment of an independent relationship between a prospective borrower and one or more lenders.”


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