Why Small Community Lenders Have Your Back


The small community lender is the answer to your prayers. It’s a new type of bank that has been popping up across the country, lending money to people who don’t have access to traditional banking services.

The community-based lenders ppp are a group of small community lenders that have the interests of their members at heart. They offer loans to people with bad credit or no credit, and they also offer loan repayment options for those who can’t make payments on time.

Shaking hands over laptop and financial documents; bank loan conceptOne of the country’s biggest banks, having branches in your area, advertises everywhere. You’re familiar with their jingle. For small company owners, those advertisements are tempting—difficult it’s to resist the ten biggest banks, which control over $10.1 trillion in assets and have the marketing spend to show it. You apply for a small business loan after watching the advertisements on TV for weeks.

When you finally get an answer from the bank, your heart starts racing. It’s a form letter that says, “You have been refused.” When you open it, it’s a form letter that says, “You have been declined.”

You’ve become a statistic. According to the Association of Enterprise Opportunities, a national advocacy group for microbusiness growth, about 8,000 enterprise loan requests are denied each daily in the United States.

Big banks want large loans.

The chances of a startup obtaining a loan from one of America’s major banks are slim to none. According to a Harvard Business School study titled “The State of Tiny Business Lending: Innovation and Technology and the Implications for Regulation,” big banks approve just 33% of loans under $100,000, whereas small banks approve 60%. Based on a study of company owners conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), this conclusion was reached.

Large banks are focused on sourcing and growing loans above one million dollars, cross-selling goods to their clients, and driving down costs via standardized operating processes and technology.

Don’t worry, however; community lenders are assisting small companies.

Meet the local lenders.

One kind of community lender is Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Credit unions, economic development organizations, nonprofit lenders, small banks, microfinance lenders, venture capital companies, and community development corporations are all examples of CDFIs that specialize in low- to moderate-income housing.

They are often nonprofit organizations dedicated to make money available to the communities they serve. When a bank says no to a small company, a community lender will often find a way to say yes since their emphasis is on the community rather for shareholder returns.

The CDFI program, which was created in 1994 to make money available to struggling communities, is overseen by the US Department of Treasury. CDFIs address issues that the private sector does not handle responsibly, such as access to cheap credit, financial products for the unbanked (those who are not serviced by a bank or comparable financial institution), financial literacy training, affordable housing, and community development.

“Mission-driven CDFIs address these gaps by providing affordable financial products and services that suit the specific requirements of economically disadvantaged communities,” according to the Treasury website.

The Treasury invests in certified CDFIs via a competitive grant procedure once they have been approved. When CDFIs get government money, they combine it with private capital to provide small company loans and community development initiatives. CDFIs offer continuous technical support and education to its business customers in order to help them succeed. The seminars and technical support help to develop business skills in strategic planning, accounting, and marketing, ensuring the company’s long-term viability.

Opportunity Fund in California; LiftFund, with locations in Texas and the southeast; Business Center for New Americans in New York City; and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. in Maine are just a few examples of community lenders. Accion also offers small companies in the United States microfinance and bigger loans.

There are already over 1,000 CDFIs. CDFI fund allocations in 2016 resulted in $2.1 billion in loans and investments, resulting in the creation of 28,000 employment. Awardees of the CDFI program funded 13,300 companies. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a community lender near you. Visit the Opportunity Finance Network to locate a CDFI.

Complete your assignment.

Do your research before applying for a community-based lender’s business loan. Because the procedure takes time, make sure you start at least 60 to 90 days before you need the money. Local community lenders may be found by doing a search in your region. Make an appointment with a prospective lender after you’ve found one. This will allow you to ask questions about the lender and get acquainted with their lending procedure.

Inquire about the types of loans they provide (lines of credit, term loans, or commercial real estate finance), the interest rate, and the terms of the loans. Inquire about loan costs and if there is a penalty for paying off a loan ahead of time. Expect interest rates to be a few percentage points higher than with a bank, but the advantages of dealing with a community lender usually outweigh the disadvantages.

Make certain your financial affairs are in order. If the business is three years old, you’ll need three years of personal and business tax returns, as well as a business plan with financials, which should include a recent profit and loss statement (also known as a P&L or income statement), balance sheet, cash flow statement, and a brief description of how the funds will be used. Read up on the main components of the financial plan for background information. Update your CV to emphasize the skills and expertise you have that will help your company succeed. Your neighborhood lender’s loan officer will assist you in completing the application.

Request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, before applying for a loan. Your three-digit credit score is important to know; the higher the number, the better. A score of 680 or above is preferred. To get started, go to Annual Credit Report.

Each credit bureau is unique, and the information included in one bureau report may vary from that found in other bureau reports. Inaccurate or negative information should be deleted via the official dispute procedure, which begins with the completion of a form—another reason to plan ahead of time for the loan application process.

Prepare yourself psychologically to personally guarantee the loan. If you fail on the debt, you’ll need to do this. The personal guarantee provides the lender the right to pursue your personal assets in order to collect the loan. The lender will also need collateral to secure the loan in addition to the personal guarantee. Collateral is required for all loans. When a personal home has equity, it is the most frequent type of collateral (market value minus the outstanding mortgage equals equity). Lenders may use equipment, a stock portfolio, or other assets to secure loans. Community lenders are more flexible than most banks when it comes to collateral and are willing to work with you.

Keep the process in mind.

Your loan officer examines your application and assesses your credit worthiness throughout the underwriting procedure. The lender will get a copy of your credit report from one of the credit agencies at this stage. Lenders don’t want to be surprised or have to solve a mystery. If you don’t disclose unfavorable facts early in the process, you risk losing the lender’s confidence.

For example, supposing a family member were ill and you had to pay for their medical treatment using a credit card. As a consequence, your credit record shows multiple late payments and a $200 collections account. Provide this information to the public and a short written explanation of what occurred. Provide evidence and explain that the account was paid in full. Your lender will respect your honesty and be more willing to advocate for the deal with upper management.

The company’s financial history and cash flow must show that it can pay the debt on the proposed loan. The main source of money for repaying a loan is cash flow from the company. A community lender will give a startup’s forecasts greater weight. If you can’t show that your company can pay back the loan with cash flow, you’ll be turned down.

Learn to appreciate and respect the process. Each lender has its own set of regulations, procedures, decision-making processes, and loan papers. Don’t be discouraged by the paperwork or the time it may take from the first meeting to the loan’s funding. Concentrate on the ultimate goal: obtaining “patient” (long-term) money at a fair interest rate and on acceptable conditions. There may be quicker methods to get money, but they will almost always be harmful to your company’s long-term health.

Learn about the five C’s of credit.

The five C’s of credit will be used to assess you by the lender:

  1. Character
  2. Capacity
  3. Capital
  4. Collateral
  5. Conditions

The applicant’s track record for paying bills on time is referred to as character. It also takes into account the applicant’s overall integrity, credibility, and personality. Lenders want to deal with individuals they can rely on.

The ability to repay the loan using the business’s cash flow and the applicant’s total financial resources is referred to as capacity.

Your investment in the enterprise is referred to as capital. Lenders are hesitant to fund a project entirely. They want to see that you have “skin in the game.”

Collateral refers to the assets used to secure a loan and provide assurance to the lender that the transaction is worthwhile.

The terms of the loan relate to how the money will be utilized as well as economic and industrial variables that may affect the loan. Restaurant financing, for example, is difficult to come by during a recession or when the sector is overcrowded.

Those that really care

Rather of rushing from bank to bank in search of a small business loan, look at community-based lenders. CFDIs and other nonprofit lenders may be found in every state, and they are dedicated to helping their communities grow economically. They are familiar with the area, and their choices are made locally.

You’ll discover that community lenders don’t spend a lot of money on advertising, but the chances are that you’ll get the loan you need to grow your company from individuals who care about you.

Find your small business loan today!

Private mortgage lenders are a great way to get the most out of your money. They have your back and they know what you need. Reference: private mortgage lenders.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do small banks have an advantage in lending?


What is a small community lender?

A small community lender is a company that provides short-term loans to people who need money for things like medical bills, car repairs, or other unexpected expenses.

Are small lenders better than banks?

I am not able to answer this question.

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