Relationship with Your Lender
Finding the Right Lender
The Dilemma of Financing a Start-up Company
Every Business has a Funding Source, Few have a Lender
Due Diligence on Lenders
I am sure all of you have applied for some type of a loan from some institution to be used for college, car, home or business. By the end of the process, you have given them applications and supporting documents that, in some cases, can weigh several pounds. When I am involved in a transaction with a client, I encourage them to do as much due diligence on my company, Summit Financial Resources, as we will do on them.
Example of Due Diligence on Lenders
For example, I was recently told by a business woman named Robin that all lenders are the same. A little concerned with her comment, I asked “Why do you feel that way?” She went on to tell me that banks are controlled by the government; therefore, all banks have the same rules, so all banks are the same. She continued by saying, “I just use the bank located nearest to my business.” I replied, “I agree that government does control banks. But, the government rules are guidelines, and the lenders create their lending policies and procedures from these rules. Therefore, each lenders’ policies and procedures are different, so you really should consider doing due diligence.”
The reason for the due diligence is to determine which lender understands your needs, and to make sure the lender’s policies and procedures will meet those needs. Also, I believe you should make certain the lender understands and values your business.
While looking at me as if she was not sure I was believable, she asked “What should I ask a lender? They have the money and I don’t want to make them mad by asking questions about them.” I replied by saying “Well, if that is the case, do you really want to get in a lending relationship with them?” Now appearing convinced, she wanted to know what she should be looking for in a lender and stated “All I know for sure is I need their money to have the cash to grow my business.”
Decide On The Lender
I told her, first of all, you need to decide what size of lender is appropriate and again, to make sure they meet your needs. In my opinion, location does not come into the mix. I categorize lenders into four groups, big market, middle market, small market and those in it for the money (I will share details of this conversation in next week).
Next, do you like the lender? Does he or she want to understand your needs and value your business? The lender is going to check out your credit and personal references, so ask the lender for some current or past customers. The lender’s customers can provide you with information on the lender’s strengths and weaknesses.
Another thing you want to talk about with the lender is their support staff. Make sure you are comfortable with the pre-funding and post funding support staff. By doing this you will know if the support will be via voice mail system, Internet, or a real person.
Robin did find the lender she liked with Summit. I visited with her later and she thanked me and shared the many successes her business has experienced. Then she told me she had shared her new found knowledge of due diligence with her business associates.
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