About getting a business loan from banks

Financial capital is important when starting, running or expanding a business. In our previous posts, we assessed ourselves whether we are worth the risk of being extended a commercial loan or a mortgage loan or a personal loan by banks. Bank loans are the primary financing vehicle, other than the owner's savings, for small business purposes.

Banks like to have hard assets such as buildings, motor vehicles, or equipment as collateral against mortgage loans or business loans. They will loan against receivables and inventory, but, especially in the case of smaller businesses, tend to heavily discount the protection these assets offer. They are fearful the inventory and receivables will be converted to cash in order to cover operating losses if the business experiences any financial difficulties along the way.

While banks prefer the ultimate protection of hard assets, they also want to be aware that there is little possibility that the business, or the bank, will have to call upon these assets to pay off the loan. Banks don't care whether or not your business has sky-high profit potential. They are only concerned in the business' ability to cover the principal and interest payments.

In making a proposal for a business loan or a even mortgage loan, the bank will want to see all of your recent tax returns, financial statements, and cash flow projections. They will also want to know how much you would like to borrow. And, if yours is a small business, it will expect you to conduct all of your business banking activities through its institution.

Banks are unenthusiastic to loan to businesses that cannot show at least two years of profitable operation. They want to see that the owner of the business is seriously invested in the enterprise. And, typically, they won't make loans in amounts that exceed 50 percent of the firm's capitalization.

Many bankers feel they are extending a business loan not only to the small business, but to the owner-operator as well. They will feel more comfortable loaning business funds to someone with community ties, who has experience related to the business he or she is conducting, and who has made a complete and total commitment to that business.

Small business loan criteria vary greatly from one bank to another. It can even vary from one loan officer to another. If you have been turned down by nine out of ten banks in your region go ahead and try the tenth. While all banks and loan officers consider the same factors when weighing a loan request, they will place different emphasis on those factors. Some bankers place great store in hard asset collateral, some in the profitability or continuity of the business, and yet others will go with their impression of the owner as the deciding factor.

Some Loan Accounting Terms That Could Help You:

Accounts Receivable Financing - A loan gained by borrowing against receivables. Loans are paid down as receivables are collected.

Annual Fee - The amount charged by the lender each year to cover the administrative costs of the loan.

Business Credit Card - An amount of money, which a business can borrow against at times it needs capital. Using a card accesses the money.

Commercial Real Estate Loans - Similar to residential mortgages, but collateral is business property. Interest rates are usually fixed, the length of the loan can range from 5 - 20 years and payments due monthly.

Commercial Term Loans - Loans made to businesses that can be either secured and unsecured. Usually made to mid-size and large businesses.

Credit Rating - A predictor of the ability to pay back a loan. The credit rating is a result of credit scoring

Credit Report - Financial history supplied by a credit information company like Dun and Bradstreet, Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Contains credit information on a business or an individual, including payment history of bank cards, store cards, mortgages, student loans, and trade payments.

Credit Scoring - The evaluation system used by lending institutions to determine relative credit riskiness of a business or consumer. When evaluating businesses, it generally considers factors such as credit payment history, new credit sought by owner of business, and financial strength and longevity of business.

Debt Financing - A loan with pre-agreed terms, including payback schedule and interest.

Fixed Interest Rate - An interest rate that is the same throughout the life of a loan.

Interest Rate - The amount charged by a lender for the money borrowed. It can be fixed or variable.

Inventory Financing - Money borrowed on the basis of finished inventory. The loan is paid as inventory is sold.

Line of Credit - An amount of money, which a business can borrow against at times it needs capital. Often accessed by check, ATM, or business card.

Loan Term - The length of time the borrower has to repay debt.

Long Term Debt - Financing used to purchase or improve assets such as plant, facilities, large equipment and real estate.

Maturity - A loan's maturity is the life of the loan; that is, how long you have to repay the loan. It usually applies to term loans and not lines of credit.

Personal Guarantee -A guarantee that the primary owner will assume personal responsibility for repayment of the loan, should the company not repay the loan.

Prime Rate - The rate a lender charges its best customers. The rate is calculated differently by each lender.

Revolving Credit - It is the same thing as a line of credit: an amount of money, which a business can borrow against at times it needs capital. Often accessed by check, ATM, or business card.

Secured Loan - A loan secured by specific collateral. Creditor may foreclose and seize the specific property that is collateral to satisfy an unpaid secure loan.

Small Business Administration -Established by Congress, the SBA provides financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run, and grow their businesses.

Short Term Debt - Financing used to secure cash for accounts payable and inventory.

Subsequent Draw Fee - It's a fee that the financial institution may charge each time you use the line of credit after the initial use.

Term Loan - A loan for a specific amount of money. It has either have a fixed or variable interest rate, matures in between one and ten years and has a set repayment schedule.

TransUnion Corporation - One of three leading providers of personal credit information.

Unsecured Loan - A loan granted upon the good credit of the borrower. No collateral involved.

Variable Interest Rate - An interest rate that changes during the life of a loan.


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