Financing equipment in all markets is always a slightly moving target. Hard credit rules are constantly changing because underwriters and credit teams are pressured to make the right decision; their jobs depend on it. The squeeze on one end for lenders is to minimize bad debt by avoiding financing clients which end up in default. On the other end, lenders and investors need to make a profit and federal regulations require they approve a certain number of loans. The scenario is frustrating for both the customer and finance agent but we can confirm that investors are still lending and approvals are much higher than last year.
What are some common approval guidelines?
Complete financial disclosure is best for getting a quick decision. Knowing what your credit, assets, liabilities look like and how your company is performing will provide the underwriter a complete picture thus allowing them to offer the best terms possible. Hiding bad debt almost always comes out and simply delays or terminates the evaluation process so put all your cards on the table. Explain specific losses or why certain bills went unpaid.
Check your own credit score or Dun & Bradstreet report; if something negative pops up then work to correct or repair it before you fill out an application; there are many agencies which help correct or fix credit quickly. Rectify the issue and have proof that it has been cleared; this step will show the underwriter that your credit is being managed properly.
If you’re a smaller business, be prepared to PG (personally guarantee) your finance. It’s a blanket guarantee with your assets as a pledge that you will make your payments. If you don’t, then like any creditor, they will leverage or take your assets to repay the debt. Years ago, small businesses were not regularly asked to PG but now, they are. Lenders feel if you don’t “believe” in your business and prepared to stand behind it, then why should they. Side note; often high net worth individuals with poor cash flow feel they should get approved based on how much they are worth. This is often not the case, lenders are not in the business of filing lawsuits and chasing after assets for repayment which often results in a loss to them anyways. They want to lend to businesses which have a high probably of paying them back through their normal business operations.
Finally, write a brief summary of yourself, your business and why the finance request will benefit your company. Whether you are the vendor or the borrower, putting a human touch to the finance application goes a lot further than many people realize. Describe length of time in business, who the owners are with brief background, what products you sell and areas or markets you serve and describe the opportunities. It’s how you would describe the business in a two minute introduction to a stranger.
This market requires awareness and flexibility on both sides of the transaction; it’s not what lending was five years ago but in the long run it will be much better for all of us. Remember, you’re asking to borrow money from a stranger who has to be comfortable with your ability and willingness to pay them back.