Tag Archives | banking

Managing the Banking Relationship in a Growing Market

extending lineBusiness is rarely easy.  Even in a growth market, there are still challenges.  They are just different challenges than in a recession.

Managing the Banking Relationship in a Growing Market

In Houston, we are seeing companies who are continuing to grow and generate cash. As they seek to expand their operations and invest in infrastructure, they are running up against the debt limits set by their bank. Right now, banks want to lend money!  That is how they earn a profit.  Unfortunately, a lot of companies are not making it easy on them.

Pursuing an aggressive tax-minimization strategy may generate cash to a point, but makes it difficult for banks to lend the company money once the tax savings aren’t enough to fuel growth.

Companies who violate the concept of sustainable growth, by borrowing more than the company’s internal growth rate can sustain, tie their banker’s hands and often make it necessary to seek sources of funding outside their bank.

Another obstacle for the bank loaning more money is the regulators.  Since the financial meltdown, bank regulation has increase dramatically and the banks have to keep the regulators happy.  We’re finding that in order to get more leverage, companies often just need to address the bank’s issues in a manner that makes sense.

Bankers hate surprises. Consequently, the key to a successful banking relationship is communication. Openly communicating your plans with your banker not only gives them confidence that you know where you are going, but gives them the opportunity to help you get there.

Learn how you can be the best wingman with our free How to be a Wingman guide! Be the trusted advisor your CEO needs.

managing the banking relationship

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managing the banking relationship

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Analyzing Your Return on Investment (ROI)

return on investmentReturn on Investment is a useful tool to understand, analyze, and compare different investment opportunities. ROI measures the efficiency of a specific investment by revealing how net earnings recover the cost of the original investment. Have you ever wondered if the result of your investment was really worth the cost? Well, a return on investment model looks at the inputs and assumptions of the ROI equation to determine if the benefits of the investment are worth the costs. Following are the ROI model tools you need to analyze ROI and improve ROI. Then you can determine the value of your investment:

Analyzing Your Return on Investment (ROI)

The first step is to identify and analyze overall benefits from the investment. For different financial situations, the percentage of returns may vary according to what the decision-makers consider to be gains or losses from the investment. As long as you are consistent with how you classify benefits of the investment, you should be able to effectively use your calculations for analysis and comparisons. Focus on benefits which are measurable and attainable. Measure and evaluate tangible benefits to improve ROI percentages.

If the benefits appear significant, the next step is to identify and analyze associated costs of the investment. Costs are simpler to identify than benefits. Make a list of costs and then breakdown the costs into groups to better categorize the origination of costs. This will enable you to understand where the majority of costs are coming from. Are there any costs that appear inflated? Can you easily reduce some costs? Are there costs that could be eliminated completely? These questions will help you analyze expenses of the investment. Keep in mind that the cost of an investment includes not only the start-up cost, but also the maintenance and improvement of the investment over time.

Improve Return on Investment

To improve the return on your investment, business managers and directors should develop comprehensive and realistic projections for both revenues and expenses. Effective planning will account for unexpected expenses and underperforming sales revenue. By analyzing projections, you should be able to develop strategies to reduce costs and increase sales.

If you don’t want to leave any value on the table, then download the Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper.

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Manage your Banking Relationship

Manage Your Banking Relationship

In order to manage your banking relationship a key strategy is to establish lines of open communication with your banker. Treat them as your friend instead of an adversary. If you are in danger of breaking a covenant, you could very well have a much better experience if you make the banker aware of the potential problem than attempting to hide it or delay breaking the news. The earlier the banker is aware, the more likely it is that they can assist you in mitigating the problem and finding a suitable solution for you both. In addition, the more trust you build with your lender, the easier it may be for you to borrow in the future as your needs change.

Managing your banking relationship is a part of being the trusted advisor to your CEO. Learn how you can be the best wingman with our free How to be a Wingman guide!

company's legal costs

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manage your banking relationship

See Also:
Financial Jargon
Categories of Banks
Finding the Right Lender
Funding Source Versus Lender
Interest Definition
Is it Time to Find a New Bank?

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What Does A Lender Want To Know?

See Also:
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
Required Rate of Return
Venture Capital

What Does A Lender Want To Know?

I had a conversation with a prospect that needed working capital funding. He asked, “What does a lender want to know?” I hear this from every prospect I meet with. So, I gave my normal answer, “We will need personal and business financial statements, a completed application, detailed information on accounts receivable and inventory, and that is just the beginning.” After leaving the prospect, I realized not only did I not answer his question, but also I have never totally answered that question. I now know, the prospect is really asking me what information the lender is looking for so he can get the money.

When I answered this question in the past, I just gave a list of requirements and never explained why they were important to the lending decision process. This information is telling the company’s story to the lender. To start with, think of the financial statement you provide the lender as a score card. In the lender’s mind the more income you make the higher your score. As an example, the more runs a baseball team scores the more powerful the team is.

Tell Your Lender This

So after you tell the lender the score of your company, what else does a lender want to know? You should tell the lender about your company with the following information:

• How much money do you want to borrow? The lender needs this information to determine the potential to loan you money.

• Why do you want the money and how will it be used? Think of this one as if your child or family member asked to borrow money from you. I believe you would want to know what they were going to do with the money.

• What primary source will generate the funds to repay the loan? Some ways the lender might expect you to repay the loan are; selling a building, producing a product and selling the inventory, or increasing the profits of your business to generate cash flow.

• What is the secondary source of repayment? Amazingly, lenders want to be repaid as you would if you were loaning money. So they consider such things for their repayment as liquidating equipment or injecting additional capital from personal funds.

• How will the loan be secured (collateral)? The lender wants a security interest in whatever you are going to do with the money.

• Who will guarantee the loan? From the lender’s point of view, you must be 100% sure of your ability to repay the loan. And, you must be willing to put your personal assets on the line. Otherwise, they would be risking their job by making a potentially bad loan.

The better you tell your story the better your chances are of getting the money.

If you want more tips on how to improve cash flow, then click here to access our 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper.

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7 C’s of Banking

See Also:
5 Cs of Credit
Line of Credit
Credit Rating Agencies
How Important is Personal Credit in Negotiating a Commercial Loan?
Improve Your Credit Score

7 C’s of Banking

Every knows the 5 C’s of Banking. But what are the 7 C’s of Banking? Recently, I spoke to students at the University of Houston in the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship on the topic of Dealing with Lenders. During the question and answer portion of the program, a student asked me “What do lenders really look at when they are deciding whether or not to approve a loan?”

7 C’s of Credit: Condition

Is there a logical need for the funds? Does it make business sense? Are the funds to be used to grow an existing and proven business product or service business or to be used for an unproven one?

7 C’s of Credit: Collateral

Is the proposed collateral sufficient? What type of value does it have? Is there a secondary market for it? The lender wants to know, in the event of a default, that it will be likely to recoup a significant portion of the amount lent.

7 C’s of Credit: Credit

For smaller enterprises, the personal credit score of the individual owner(s) will be reviewed. As with personal loans, such as an auto or mortgage loan, the bank is looking for evidence of a history of you paying your lenders on time. For larger companies, the bank will consult Dun & Bradstreet reports for evidence of the timely payment of vendors and other creditors.

7 C’s of Credit: Character

What do those who have done business with the prospective borrower have to say about its business practices? A bank will typically ask the applicant for a list of references, such as three customers and three vendors to contact.

7 C’s of Credit: Capacity

Does the borrower have the wherewithal to pay the debt service? Is it generating enough free cash flow to reasonably assure timely interest payments and ultimately the repayment of the principal balance?

Due to the expanding levels of transnational business and cross-border lending over the last few decades, you need to discuss the two new C’s.

7 C’s of Credit: Currency

What is the recent history and outlook of the primary currency in which the company will conduct its operations? Does the currency exhibit a history or likelihood of losing its value? The more stable the currency, the more attractive the loan request will be to a lender.

7 C’s of Credit: Country

Does the borrower conduct a significant portion of its operations in a country with a history of political instability? Is there the possibility of an expropriation of the borrower’s assets due to a change in the country’s government? Is the country’s current political and legal system hostile to the interests of foreign countries? There are two factors that would make the bank more likely to be willing to make the loan, including the following:

  • The more established the country’s government is
  • The more a legal system has demonstrated a reverence for bother property rights and the rights of creditors

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7 C's of banking

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What Is Dilution?

What is Dilution?

Dilution is any portion, regardless of why, of your receivables that you did not collect. This is important as the amount available from your line of credit with the bank is based on your outstanding accounts receivable balance. The bank wants to know the extent to which your receivables are likely to be turned into cash receipts. The greater the amount of dilution, the greater the risk to the bank and the less will be your available borrowing base.

The following are common causes of dilution and suggestions for remedying them.

Discounts

Discounts offered to customers for faster repayment can increase your dilution rate. But if these discounts account for a significant amount of dilution, you may consider other methods of encouraging faster repayment.

Collection costs

The greater the fees directly paid to collect on your receivables, the less of your receivables balance you will realize. This is worth examining to see if it has a material impact on your dilution rate. You may even consider less costly collection services.

Bad debt

Receivables not collected due to the default or other negligence of the customer. Reduce this through the establishment of tighter credit policies, such as more thorough credit checks prior to extending trade credit to customers.

Offsets

Sometimes a customer may also be a vendor. In the course of paying an invoice it may seem attractive to you or them to net out the amount they owe you from the invoice’s total. Although, you may want to end this practice depending on the amount of the dilution and its subsequent impact on your borrowing base availability.

dilution

See Also:
Financial Ratios
Accounts Receivable Turnover
How to collect accounts receivable
What is Factoring Receivables?
Working Capital

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Mining the Balance Sheet for Working Capital

Mining the Balance Sheet for Working Capital

Let’s face it; there has been significant liquidity in the marketplace over the past couple of years. Debt and equity capital has been relatively easy to find and commercial banks have been very willing participants as capital providers. However, many of the commercial banks have admitted that this robust marketplace is a prolonged cycle and not a permanent or semi-permanent marketplace shift. By definition as a cycle, what goes up must come down.

Asset Based Lending Versus Commercial Bank Cash Flow Lending

Already, many of the commercial banks are starting to whisper about declining portfolio quality and tighter credit standards. This has been attributed to issues regarding the sub prime mortgage market, rising energy costs, and other economic factors. These issues have resulted in some companies experiencing a weaker balance sheet and a decline in cash flow results.

As banks start to tighten their credit standards, many companies may find they have less access or no access to working capital from commercial banks. Banks may elect not to renew certain loans that come due. Also, companies that have tripped a covenant or are in a technical default may find that their commercial bank is not as patient and has asked that the loan be refinanced.

So how can a company still access adequate working capital in a changing bank marketplace? One way is to mine the balance sheet assets through an asset based, working capital line of credit.

Comparison

Asset based lending is more common than ever and has become for many companies a more aggressive way to grow their business. Asset based lenders look beyond a company’s cash flow and balance sheet ratios to leverage the business assets for working capital purposes. They also provide an ease of doing business and typically have less restrictive operating covenants than commercial banks.

Commercial Banks

Commercial banks typically underwrite and grant credit by emphasizing in the following order:

1) Balance sheet strength/Cash flow

2) Management/Guarantors

3) Collateral/Assets

Asset Based Lenders

Asset based lenders assume there is some fundamental weakness to #1 above (at least by commercial bank standards) and flips the above equation upside down. The result is asset based lenders typically underwrite or grant credit by emphasizing in the following order:

1) Collateral/Assets

2) Management/Guarantors

3) Balance sheet strength/Cash flow

By emphasizing the value of a company’s assets as security and collateral for a working capital line of credit, an asset based lender has greater patience and tolerance for the bumps in the road and inconsistencies in the marketplace that many companies will face on a regular basis. Asset based lenders typically will provide a revolving line of credit against accounts receivables and inventory as collateral. Many asset based lenders will also provide term loans against equipment and possibly real estate.

Obviously, asset based lending is not the answer for every company’s need for working capital. It’s because not all companies generate these types of assets. Companies selling at retail or on cash terms don’t typically generate commercial accounts receivable which is the asset that most asset based lenders leverage as the base for a loan. However, if a company is involved in manufacturing, distribution and many of the service industries, then chances are they would generate the types of assets favored by asset based lenders.

Benefit of Asset Based Lending

The benefit of this type of lending is that the loan availability can grow as a company’s assets grow and, therefore, is not as restrictive as traditional commercial bank cash flow lending; especially in rapid growth situations. Since asset based lenders rely primarily on the company’s collateral versus its cash flow results, they embrace greater credit risk. They also accept inconsistent cash flow results versus commercial banks.

So as the marketplace changes and as commercial banks start to tighten up, remember that accessing adequate working capital may be as simple as mining the balance sheet through asset based lending.

For more tips on how to improve cash flow, click here to access our 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper.

Mining the Balance Sheet for Working Capital
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Mining the Balance Sheet for Working Capital

 

See Also:
Categories of Banks
Working Capital from Real Estate

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