Entrepreneurial

SBA says small business lending up, but some feeling left out

This week Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills gave America’s top banks a pat on the back for boosting their lending to small businesses over the last 12 months, while separate data showed that funding for the most needy small businesses actually contracted.

In a blog posted on the SBA’s official website, Mills trumpeted that the U.S.’s top 13 biggest banks have increased loans to small businesses by a whopping $11 billion since last September as part of a commitment to boost lending by $20 billion by the end of 2014.

“The continued success of this commitment serves as an important example of what is possible when the public and private sectors work together to assist America’s small business owners and entrepreneurs,” Mills wrote.

While not disputing Mills’s arithmetic, small business funding expert Ami Kassar said the $11-billion figure “does not represent Main Street lending whatsoever.”

Kassar, whose Philadelphia-based company MultiFunding LLC helps small businesses get their hands on capital from a variety of lenders, said the SBA number covers loans made to businesses with as much as $20 million in revenue who tend to borrow in excess of $1 million.

Small business owners turn to pawn shops

– Cynthia Hsu is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. –

Small business owners that are struggling to make ends meet sometimes need business loans – or a pawn shop. Pawn shop loans are now something that some business owners are turning to as a result of the tight economy and lack of lending.

Pawning is probably easier than getting a bank loan, though the interest rates may be significantly higher.

Exclusive: Fewer small businesses shopping for credit: PayNet

When the financial crisis hit, panicked small businesses were scrambling to find credit. Nearly three years later it’s a much different story.

The level of credit shopping – when a borrower seeks a loan or lease from more than one lender – by small businesses has fallen nearly 30 percent since September 2008, according to new data released by PayNet Inc and it may lead lenders to offer better terms said William Phelan, PayNet’s president and founder.

“It indicates that it’s not a very competitive market right now,” said Phelan, whose Skokie, Illinois-based company released the data as part of the launch of its new Credit Shopping Indicator, which measures the number of lenders a borrower shops for business credit. “In 2008 you would have expected it to be high because of the recession and the lack of availability of credit.”

10 questions to find the right bank for your business

– Mary Goodman and Rich Russakoff are co-founders of Bottom Line Up Enterprises. This article originally appeared on The Money Dept. column for BNET. The views expressed are their own. –

Finding the right bank for your business is not all that different from finding the right mechanic for your car, or the right surgeon for an operation. You need some objective information first.

The best way to determine whether or not to consider a particular bank is to find out the answers to the following 10 questions. Use them as your starting point, but know that you should dig deeper if you can.

Why America’s small businesses are becoming like banks

By Terra Terwilliger
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Over two years after the start of the Great Credit Crisis, banks are still not lending money. But big businesses know exactly where to go for a quick, interest-free loan … the little guy. Even as corporate profits recover, big companies continue to squeeze their small vendors, stretching out payment terms and writing late checks. Unfortunately, this blatant exploitation is damaging the small business economic engine that drives half of US GDP.

A friend who owns a small consulting company recently received notice from a Fortune 500 client that henceforth their payment terms would be extended from 90 to 120 days. No discussion, no recourse, just a fancy legalese version of “we’re going to start paying you later because it’s better for us, so get used to it.”

That’s as if your employer casually one day sent you a letter saying that they were going to start paying you 30 days late. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to tell your landlord, the gas company and the supermarket the same thing. Your bills still have to be paid on time.

Peer-to-peer lender Prosper resumes service after SEC nod

lendingLet the lending begin. Prosper, a popular Web portal that facilitates peer-to-peer loans, announced on Tuesday that it has been given the go-ahead by federal regulators to resume its lending platform in several U.S. states after wrapping up a detailed registration process with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC’s approval ends a nine-month enforced hiatus for the company and should come as welcome news to small businesses and entrepreneurs, many of whom are still struggling to find loans amid tight credit markets.

Prosper is now cleared to let lenders in 14 states and borrowers in all but a few use their online auction platform to buy loans and request to borrow money. The approval allows lenders in California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming to use Prosper, and more states will gain access soon, the company said in a press release.

SBA announces new ARC loan guidelines

Today the U.S. Small Business Administration announced new lender guidelines for the America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loan program it unveiled last month.

According to the SBA release, the ARC program provides emergency funds, in the forms of deferred loans, of up to $35,000 to “viable small businesses suffering immediate financial hardship.” These loans are not provided directly by the SBA, but through SBA-backed lenders – mostly smaller or community banks – and are 100 percent guaranteed by the government and have no lender fees attached.

The SBA defines a “viable” business as an “established, for-profit business with evidence of profitability or positive cash flow in at least one of the past two years.” The term “immediate financial hardship” is subsequently defined by the SBA as “evidence to show a change in the financial condition such as declining sales, frozen credit lines, difficulty meeting payroll, paying rent, difficulty making loan payments or perhaps something else.”

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