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Small Business Loan Alternatives - Banks Are Not the Only Source

From the small business owners perspective, the problem with banks is the overly formulaic approach they take to determine if your business is loan worthy.

Formulas are fine and should be used in the qualification process. But they shouldn't be THE qualification process. A computer is not going to accurately represent the true potential, value or worthiness of a business.

Computers overlook what is most important -- business is about people -- the people in the business, their customers and the community they serve.

This site is set up to help you locate alternatives to bank loans, and in some case, information about small business friendly banks.

Business Owners Ache as CIT Scales Back
July 13, 2009 -

Tom Drennen, a 29-year-old businessman, has been paying $5,000 in monthly rent on an empty restaurant space in a strip mall in Newport, Ky., since December after CIT didn't extend him a $500,000 business loan it earlier approved. Mr. Drennen, who was preparing to open a Beef 'o' Brady's neighborhood pub, was two weeks away from closing on his loan last September when a CIT officer called to say the company was putting a freeze on lending and couldn't give him the money.


Unique Ways Entrepreneurs Are Raising Money
June 23, 2009 -

Taking unconventional routes to raise cash has become a necessity for many small-business owners as traditional sources of funding (i.e., venture capital and bank loans) have dried up. Here are five businesses that are doing just that.


Banks, borrowers dig in over credit crunch
June 22, 2009 -

14 percent of 1,794 owners around the country surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business reported that loans were harder to get in April than they were in March—the highest percentage since the 1980-82 recession. Making things worse, about two-thirds said rates rose on their credit cards—which many small firms use to finance operations—while 40 percent reported decreased credit limits.


Ohio Law Would Establish Micro-lending For Small Business
June 17, 2009 -

Other state incentive programs provide financing involving hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. The new one would focus on smaller loans -- potentially in the $20,000 to $50,000 range -- for established businesses wanting to expand.

"(We're) trying to fill a gap that we're seeing at some level in the market to help support small businesses that we think have an opportunity to grow in this environment," Schoeny said.


When Your Business Loan Affects Your Personal Credit
June 15, 2009 -

Small business borrowing is generally not reported on owners' consumer credit reports unless they fail to pay on time. But with banks facing rising defaults, at least one lender is moving to add small business loans to borrowers' consumer credit files, meaning small business owners could soon find that their business debts are affecting their personal credit. Any debt that owners personally guarantee—including many business loans and credit cards—could be reported.


Kiva Now Allows You to Invest in US Small Businesses
June 10, 2009 -

Today, the much-lauded microlender Kiva announced it will begin a pilot program of loans to U.S. small enterprise. Kiva began in Africa, and after four years has since expanded to 44 countries, mostly in the developing world.


Missouri launches $2 million micro loan program for small businesses
June 02, 2009 -

Gov. Jay Nixon's administration has $2 million to loan to small businesses in need of low-interest capital — that some state officials doubt will ever be paid back.


Firm Gives Loans When Banks Won't - And, Yes, There's A Catch
May 28, 2009 -

Rather than issuing a monthly bill, On Deck automatically deducts small payments every day directly from a borrower's checking account. For instance, one client received a loan from On Deck for $15,000 at a quoted 21 percent interest rate. Five days a week, On Deck debits $71.48 from the company's checking account.


Credit card reform leaves small biz out
May 26, 2009 -

When the Senate passed its credit-card reform bill on Tuesday, Senator Christopher Dodd called it "a great day for consumers." But what will it mean for small business owners who've been struggling with inflated rates and unexpected fees on their credit cards? That depends on how your small business is incorporated, and what kind of card you have.


5 tips for securing small business financing
May 21, 2009 -

Credit-crunch. Collapse. Too big to fail. Bail-out. For a small business owner looking to invest and grow his or her business, or just to obtain financing to stay afloat in these times, these phrases have meant that there is little money out there for that.


Advanta Dumps One Million Small Business Customers
May 21, 2009 -

Advanta's move is one of the most extreme retreats in the credit-card industry, which is being racked by record delinquency and default rates. While Advanta is a tiny player overall, with about $5 billion in outstanding card loans compared with $176 billion at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. as of March 31, Advanta focused solely on small businesses.


Emergency small business loans coming in June
May 19, 2009 -

The new program will back short-term loans of up to $35,000 that business owners can use to temporarily cover their payments on existing debt. No repayment on the ARC loans will be due for 12 months, and owners will have up to five years to repay them.


Snipping Credit Lines for Small Businesses
May 19, 2009 -

In many cases the businesses whose lines were cut had not missed loan payments. Instead, their credit score or their financials had deteriorated, and credit-line agreements typically give banks the right to change the terms of the line if there is a change in the borrower's financial situation. In this case, the changes in the terms are dramatic. If business owners can't convince Chase of their creditworthiness, they have three options: 1) pay off the balance in full; 2) agree to a conversion of the line of credit into a term loan; or 3) go into default.


New SBA Administrator Karen Mills on the stimulus
May 18, 2009 -

The program is the right program at the right time to the right constituency. We wanted to unlock capital to small business. We wanted banks to lend again. And we got an immediate response at an ever-increasing rate. So we feel very, very good about that.


Small-Business Credit Sees Thaw
May 06, 2009 -

Many small-business lenders are seeing signs of a thaw in the secondary market for loans backed by the Small Business Administration. That is spurring more lenders to originate new loans -- and more small companies to apply for them.


D.C.’s microloan program fails to get attention of small business owners
May 05, 2009 -

A total of $233,000 is available, through low interest loans of up to $15,000 for all city-registered small businesses and up to $25,000 for those operating in commercial corridors designated by the Neighborhood Investment Program or with established Main Streets programs.

The program was announced at the beginning of the year but to this point, only about 15 companies have applied, according to Donna Grigsby, executive director of the Washington Area Community Investment Fund Inc., a Northeast D.C. nonprofit that operates the program through a contract with the city.


Small Business Administration Temporarily Expanding Its Definition of 'small'
May 04, 2009 -

Starting early next week, larger businesses will temporarily be eligible to apply for loans backed by the Small Business Administration, a move aimed at getting help to besieged auto dealers and industry suppliers.

Through September 2010, the SBA will raise the size standard of what counts as a "small" business, allowing slightly bigger companies to participate in its flagship 7(a) lending program.


U.S. small business loans in arrears stabilize
May 04, 2009 -

Delinquent loans at small and medium-sized U.S. businesses showed tentative signs of having peaked in March, according to figures from PayNet Inc, a firm that tracks trends in the commercial lending market.

Loans first falling behind in payment fell slightly on the month for the first time since October, although those more severely behind rose again to hit new peaks for the current U.S. recession.


Small Biz to Washington: About Those Promises…
April 28, 2009 -

This Administration needs to get everyone-Treasury, the regulators, and the banks-on the same page with a policy that genuinely frees up credit for small biz. The amount of lending that banks view as prudent business vs. the amount targeted by Treasury must be aligned.


North Carolina Lt. Gov. Discusses Small Business Assistance Fund
April 28, 2009 -

The fund is modeled after the disaster loan programs the state implemented after hurricanes Fran and Floyd.

It will provide loans to small businesses, those with fewer than 100 employees or annual receipts of less than $1 million. Loans may be used to guarantee commercial loans, as emergency bridge loans and for other purposes related to small-business job preservation. As a revolving loan fund, the interest and loan repayments will go back into the fund, providing capital for additional loans.


Should Car Dealers Qualify for SBA Loans?
April 28, 2009 -

President Obama’s task force is looking into a solution to prevent the shuttering of tens of thousands of dealerships by making loans currently reserved for small businesses available to car dealers, making it easier for them to borrow money to get showroom vehicles.


SBA help not getting through to businesses
April 17, 2009 -

The parts of the federal government's stimulus program aimed at small-business owners aren't working as they should, say local owners and small-business experts who are trying to figure out what to do about the problem.


Small Businesses vs. Bailed-Out Banks
April 14, 2009 -

As banks pull back on lending and work to cleanse their balance sheets of loans that probably never should have been made, some borrowers are attacking the banks for their own difficulties, filing lawsuits, putting out news releases, holding protests and rallying politicians to their defense.


Small-Business Agency Prodded to Spur Lending
April 09, 2009 -

The chairman of the House Committee on Small Business yesterday urged the new head of the Small Business Administration to try to jump-start lending by using provisions in the economic stimulus bill that so far have sat idle.


Small business lending drops 57%
April 06, 2009 -

President Barack Obama warned recently that small business lending had declined so sharply that the Small Business Administration was on track to back only half as many loans this year as it did last year. The SBA's lending data for the just-ended quarter bears out that bleak forecast: The number of loans the agency backed though its flagship program declined 57%.


SBA pick pledges to help get credit flowing
April 03, 2009 -

President Barack Obama's choice to head the Small Business Administration told lawmakers Wednesday that if she is confirmed, she would make it a priority to get money flowing again through the agency's loan programs.

Karen Mills, a venture capitalist from Maine, said working to "unstick" the frozen credit markets is key to helping small businesses weather the economic meltdown.


Federal Plan to Aid Small Businesses Is Flawed, Lenders Say
April 01, 2009 -

Two weeks after President Obama announced a $15 billion initiative to spark lending for small businesses, every major provider of these kinds of loans says the plan will not work as designed.

The conditions attached to the program, which require these financial firms to surrender ownership stakes to the government and limit executive pay, are so off-putting that these companies say they will not participate.


Microlenders Widen Their Client Base
March 31, 2009 -

With many banks continuing to put a hold on lending, more small-business owners and would-be entrepreneurs are turning to microlenders, organizations that dole out smaller loans typically ranging from as little as $500 to $35,000.

Microlenders, most of whom are nonprofits, have traditionally focused on helping small-business owners, particularly minorities and women, in lower-income communities as well as entrepreneurs in developing countries who need a few dollars to buy, say, a sewing machine. They tend to charge higher interest rates than banks because their borrowers are often first-time entrepreneurs or have weaker credit profiles.


Top lenders pull plug on small biz loans
March 26, 2009 -

At a time when small business owners desperately need loans and credit lines to help them weather the recession, some of the industry's most active lenders have bolted shut the doors to their vaults.

Temecula Valley Bancorp and Capital One Bank have stopped taking applications for new loans through the Small Business Administration's flagship 7(a) loan program, and Bank of America has slowed its lending volume to a trickle.


Stimulus Prompts Small Business Loan Scams
March 24, 2009 -

The government does not give loans directly to small businesses. The government works through commercial lenders, such as banks, by guaranteeing the small business loans of banks that participate in their loan programs.

The confusion on this point has unfortunately opened the door to fraudulent operators who charge fees purporting to help small business owners and individuals get government money, says Alison Southwick, spokesperson for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, Va. "Anytime there's a story dominating the headlines, scammers are going to take advantage of it," she says. "When people hear the word 'stimulus,' they know that's something they heard about in the news, so it must be legitimate."


Gov't Takes Steps to Make SBA Loans Easier to Get
March 23, 2009 -

Small business owners who have watched banks and automakers get assistance from the government can now receive some help too.

The government is making it easier for companies to get loans from the Small Business Administration. It's eliminating fees on its most popular loans, known as 7a loans, and guaranteeing a larger portion of the amount borrowed. It's also eliminating fees on what are called CDC/504 loans.


Emergency biz loans: What qualifies
March 23, 2009 -

The Small Business Administration is still drawing up guidelines for its forthcoming emergency loans program, a stopgap measure intended to shore up small businesses struggling to keep up with payments on existing debt. But the agency this week confirmed an unexpected twist: Businesses with current loans backed by the SBA won't be able to use the new loans to cover payments on their existing SBA debt.


The Pros and Cons of Easing Access to Credit
March 23, 2009 -

Over the past few weeks, President Obama has unveiled multiple plans for aid to small businesses, including lowering loan fees, increasing guarantees on government-backed loans, and buying up to $15 billion in Small Business Administration-backed loans. But will the new programs unfreeze credit as they are intended to do? And how can entrepreneurs take advantage of the warmer climate if they do?


Small Business Administration Wary of Rebate Scam
March 11, 2009 -

he U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a scam alert to small business owners warning them not to respond to letters that falsely claim they can qualify for a federal tax rebate under the Economic Stimulus Act.

According to SBA officials, the false letters contain the agency's letterhead, and advise recipients that they may be eligible for a tax rebate. The letters also claim that the SBA is assessing the businesses' eligibility for such a rebate. The letter asks the small business owner to provide the name of its bank and account number.


SBA readies emergency biz loans
March 10, 2009 -

Called the Business Stabilization Program, the initiative will offer loans of up to $35,000 that are essentially interest-free. The loans will only be available to companies that already have bank-issued business loans - Congress wants the new loans to be used to make interest payments and pay down principal on existing debt.

The loans can be used to make payments for up to six months, and no repayment on them will be due for a year. Businesses must fully repay their stabilization loan within five years.


A $200 Billion Credit-Crunch Buster?
March 10, 2009 -

The federal government on Mar. 3 provided some long-awaited answers on how it plans to unlock consumer and small business credit markets, which have been frozen more solid than an icy tundra.

The $200 billion joint Federal Reserve Board and U.S. Treasury program, known as the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, is intended to get money flowing for small employers, student-loan providers, credit-card issuers, and auto lenders.

TALF was first announced late last year, but with only hazy parameters and few details. Whereas the better-known Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was created to bail out banks, TALF's purpose is to induce investors to buy up AAA-rated securities backed by new consumer and small business loans by offering $200 billion in low-interest loans to would-be investors. The idea is that these securities will spur enough investor interest to eventually generate up to $1 trillion of lending.


SBA's 'Goodwill' Leaves Bad Taste for Small Businesses
March 02, 2009 -

The SBA's new rule means that if a buyer is interested in purchasing a $2 million firm and is asked to come up with a 20 percent down payment, or $400,000, the SBA would be able to provide a qualified buyer $250,000 under the new rules for the goodwill portion of the company's value. Previously, it could have offered as much as $1.6 million on that particular deal, according to Don Naideck, president of business broker Prime Investments in North Bethesda, Md.


Community Banks Increase Small Business Loans
January 28, 2009 -

As the credit freeze continues and the recession deepens, many community banks, generally defined as having less than $10 billion in assets, are reporting an uptick in loans and credit lines to small businesses. At a congressional hearing on small business and the economic recovery earlier this month, economist Paul Merski, of the Independent Community Bankers of America, a Washington (D.C.) trade group, told lawmakers that community banks make 20% of all small-business loans, even though they represent only about 12% of all bank assets. Furthermore, he said that about 50% of all small-business loans under $100,000 are made by community banks.


How Merchant Cash Advances Work
January 19, 2009 -

As attention grows, providers of the loan alternative are trying to avoid regulators' scrutiny. Here's what you should know about the industry.


Fishing for funding
January 19, 2009 -

The market for small business loans has become a little more scant in the wake of the national economic crisis, but the lending climate isn't completely frozen for new entrepreneurs.


How to Raise Money to Grow in Current Climate
January 15, 2009 -

I own a heating and air-conditioning company that has grown to a roughly $6 million-a-year business in just a few years. I feel there is a real opportunity in today's slow economy to purchase a direct competitor. I would like to raise money through equity or debt to do this. But I understand that most of the private-equity or venture firms are looking mostly to invest in tech or biotech. How can a business like mine raise money?


On Front Lines of Debt Crisis, Luggage Maker Fights for Life
January 14, 2009 -

When Chuck Bidwell and Jennifer Guarino took over J.W. Hulme Co. a few years ago, their plan was to transform the tiny maker of duck-hunting gear and fishing-rod bags into a luxury luggage company.

They applied the modern American business playbook: Borrow heavily to grow fast. The strategy worked -- until the credit crisis threw out those rules.


SBA Loans (Still) Plunging
January 09, 2009 -

A closer look at the numbers reveals that the biggest drop in 7(a) lending occurred among -- wait for it -- SBAExpress loans, for which banks use their own forms and credit scoring models to decide independently -- and immediately -- whether to approve the loan. (In exchange for delegating that authority, the SBA offers only a 50 percent guaranty.) Express loans are down a whopping 64 percent. This should come as no surprise to faithful readers -- it's been apparent ever since the downturn in SBA lending began last spring. Express loans were an easy way for the SBA to bulk up loan numbers -- or reach more borrowers, to construe it more charitably -- at little cost to the agency.


Advantages of Leasing Equipment
January 06, 2009 -

I wanted to know the advantages of leasing equipment for a company, instead of buying or financing. Additionally, is leasing possible for a start-up or is it better for a company that is already in operation?


A Small Bank Juggles Its Roles
January 06, 2009 -

Across the U.S., a host of community bankers like him are making daily decisions that affect how the U.S. makes it through this recession and credit crunch. They walk a fine line. Holding to lending standards that are too strict can worsen the local economic toll. Being too lenient can run afoul of newly nervous bank directors and regulators, or endanger the bank's own survival. Add to that the tension of making hard decisions about customers who are also neighbors.


SBA Awards Energy Efficiency Grants To Assist Small Businesses
December 15, 2008 -

Four Small Business Development Centers, one each in Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada and New York, have been awarded Small Business Sustainability Initiative grants totaling $500,000 to fund projects offering energy efficiency assistance to small businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration said today.

The programs proposed by the successful grant winners include providing education, training, energy efficiency audits, information about adoption of energy efficiency and energy conservation practices, and help with purchasing and installing energy efficient building fixtures and equipment.


Phoenix lender debuts $3.5M small-business stimulus plan
December 15, 2008 -

Business Development Finance Corp. has launched its own economic stimulus package for small businesses, earmarking $3.5 million for Arizona banks that authorize SBA 504 loans.

The nonprofit lender, which has offices in Phoenix and Tucson, is offering a $50,000 incentive through May to every participating bank, with the hopes of greasing the credit wheels and jump-starting the state’s idling economy.


Can You Get an SBA Loan?
December 10, 2008 -

The Small Business Administration has come under fire for not lending more at a time when business owners need cash the most. We asked an Inc. 5000 SBA lender for his opinion about changes the agency is making to help small companies survive the recession.


Receivables finance booms amid the bust
December 09, 2008 -

Companies running tight budgets often find themselves at the mercy of clients' slow repayment schedules. Receivables finance, a little-known but increasingly popular service, allows liquidity-starved businesses to sell their invoices at a discount in return for cash.

Growth in this type of specialised lending is expected to take the industry to turnover of $66 billion this year, according to the Institute for Factors and Discounters of Australia and New Zealand.


Ship Today and Get Paid Tomorrow
December 09, 2008 -

Many companies know that accounts receivable factoring can help keep a company's cash flow going, while fewer business owners have heard about single invoice factoring, or spot factoring, a highly effective alternative. It is basically a discounting service that is simpler and superior to standard invoice factoring, receivable financing, receivable funding or assets based lending. Customers can sell credit-worthy invoices to IFG, and get immediate working capital, in essence enabling them to ship today and get paid tomorrow. The program allows choices of invoices to be factored, enabling them to retain most of their money, while spending the minimum fees to guarantee adequate cash flow.


Get your money!
December 09, 2008 -

If you think the client will pay eventually but you really need the cash now, consider going to a factoring company, says Mari. This type of firm buys unpaid invoices, usually at a 1% to 5% fee, and gives you the cash up front.

When the client is able to pay the bill, he may directly pay the factoring company - the new owner of the invoice. (Find a business that does this at Another option: See if your bank provides loans against accounts receivable (a.k.a. unpaid bills).


How to Borrow Money in Tough Times
November 25, 2008 -

We are living in interesting times, but as small business owners, that does not mean we can suspend what we need to do, reset the game, or choose not to move forward. If we do that, we have lost the game altogether.

Money remains the juice that keeps business going, and if your business needs money to make next season's products, build a new facility, or open a new shop, you will need to go after it one way or another.

Here are four tips for seeking the money you need.


Businesses Go to Source Of Fast Cash
November 25, 2008 -

Bank loans have been harder to come by, but that doesn't mean companies' need for funding has dried up. To get cash, small and medium-size businesses have increasingly turned to firms that get them money they are owed more quickly.

The firms, known as factoring companies (from the Latin word for "to do" or "to make"), say they are seeing an uptick in the quantity and caliber of businesses coming to them for funding. Traditionally used as a kind of short-term cash bridge, factoring has been avoided by some businesses in the past because it can cost more than traditional bank financing. But these days more firms that need funding -- ones that are growing quickly, are working out financial difficulties or have no assets to borrow against -- are selling their bills to factoring companies.


Message to Obama: Send loans fast
November 25, 2008 -

What could jump-start the economy? Affordable loans for small business.

With bank lending almost frozen and consumer spending down sharply, entrepreneurs foresee a Main Street wipeout if Washington doesn't take action soon to shore up the nation's small businesses.


Microloans Filling Gap for Small Firms in Detroit
November 25, 2008 -

Catherine Franklin wanted to expand her vending machine business in Detroit, but she couldn't obtain a loan to get the money because of the financial crisis that has frozen private lending.

But she turned to the City of Detroit's small business microloan program, which provided her with the money to purchase another vending company and grow her business, Vending R' Us, which provides vending machines to businesses and services them.


Funding Sources

Accion USA
ACCION USA is a private non-profit organization that offers small business loans of up to $25,000 and financial literacy education to small business owners in the United States. Are you struggling to find a loan to grow your business during the tough economy? Learn how a small business loan from ACCION can help.

Lending Club
Lending Club is a social lending network that lets borrower members borrow money through personal loans, and lenders fund these loans by investing in Notes. Each Note corresponds to a portion of a borrower loan.

National Association of Small Business Investment Companies
SBICs are privately organized and managed venture capital firms licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to make equity capital or long-term loans available to small companies. These small companies often require financing in the critical $250,000 to $5 million range that is generally not available through banks or non-SBIC private equity firms.

Springboard Enterprises
Springboard has become a central player in the infrastructure that fosters women's entrepreneurship with the goal of connecting women entrepreneurs and investors nationally and globally. What began as a series of Venture Capital Forums seeded and promoted by hundreds of supporter has proven to be a highly effective model for fast-tracking women entrepreneurs into the equity markets. Springboard educates, showcases and supports women entrepreneurs as they seek capital and build their businesses.

Virgin Money
Virgin Money helps people access affordable and flexible credit, offering unique financial services and a customer experience that most banks cannot match. We have originated over $300M in loan volume - since 2001 as CircleLending and since 2007 as Virgin Money. We are the leader in managing loans between relatives and friends and a pioneer in the emerging social lending space.

Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund
Our loans are designed to help people who cannot qualify for traditional small business loans. Whether loans are used for inventory, equipment, payroll or other costs, the UMLF understands that small business owners need access to money but often can’t qualify for bank loans because they lack a business history, sufficient collateral or have limited or a poor credit.

Arizona - Prestamos Small Business Lending
Prestamos was created by its parentcorporation, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., a community development corporation, in an effort to better promote its mission of providing economic opportunities for small and emerging small businesses in Arizona. Prestamos provides loans together with technical assistance to small Arizona based businesses. Prestamos offers the following loan programs.

Prestamos' Microloan Program addresses the problems encountered by small business entrepreneurs seeking financing, and emerging micro-enterprises among the communities in Arizona, thus increasing the potential for success of those businesses in Prestamos' target areas. Eligible counties include Maricopa, Pima, Graham, Gila, Coconino, Mohave and La Paz. Prestamos' Microloan Program offers loans from $2,000 to $35,000.

Prestamos is an intermediary for processing of SBA Community Express Loans. The program was developed to provide financing for business needs that fall between the Microloan program and conventional loan programs. Loans under this program can be made in low or moderate income urban and rural areas, and to minority, women and veteran small business owners. This program features an easy pr to expedite processing for loans from $35,000 to $250,000.

City of Phoenix Expansion Assistance And Development (EXPAND)
The EXPAND Program assists Phoenix businesses in obtaining loans from eligible local financial institutions. EXPAND provides additional collateral, up to 50 percent of a loan amount in some cases. The amount of the collateral enhancement can range as high as $150,000. There is no ceiling on the loan amount. Loans can be for virtually any legitimate business purpose. Jobs creation or jobs preservation is an essential element of any request for EXPAND assistance. With EXPAND, the successful applicant/borrower is able to receive a loan and the lender is in a more secure collateral position.

Missouri Small Business Loan Program
The Department of Economic Development works with the Missouri Development Finance Board to create a pool of funds for low–interest or no–interest direct loans for small businesses.

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