Applying for a bank loan is not a feeling that one has in their gut. This is one of those decisions you make after thinking hard and consulting a lot. This is because once you sign the respective documents, everything is irreversible. It is therefore important to note down some of the factors you should weigh before signing on the dotted line.
Once you have decided on which loan type you will be going in for, you will have to consider other details.
Interest Rate: Even if this is one of the most important details governing our decisions, you should not be blinded by faulty advertising. A lower interest rate is a good thing; but it also means that the repayments will carry on over a longer period of time. If the interest rate is reasonable compared to the loan term, then go ahead and sign those papers.
Loan Term: A lot of loans have fixed terms, usually 15, 20, 25 or at most 30 years. Some lenders will enable you to change the term, if they think you can pay the whole debt off within half the time. But this may not be an option that lenders will willingly offer. Ask your bank if they offer opportunities to pay them back earlier or later, and how the change will affect your interest rate as well as monthly payments.
So you want to take a bank loan for your business. You saw an advert on television you are quite sure that the bank sounded friendly and they will not hesitate to support your idea. Well that is not the case. The bank is not just going to hand over the money to you there are a few things they need to know.
So here’s what to expect a bank to ask for when you apply for a commercial loan for your business. There will be occasional exceptions to every rule, of course, but here’s the general rule:
As I explained above, banks do lend money to startups. One exception to the rule is that the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) has programs that guarantee some portion of startup costs for new businesses so banks can lend them money with the government, reducing the banks’ risk.
So your business has to have hard assets it can pledge to back up a business loan. Banks look very carefully at these assets to make sure they reduce the risk. For example, when you pledge Accounts Receivable to support a commercial loan, the bank will check the major receivables accounts to make sure those companies are solvent; and they will accept only a portion, often 50 or sometimes 75%, of receivables to back a loan. When you get an inventory loan, the bank will accept only a percentage of the inventory and they will kick a lot of tires first, to make sure it isn’t old and obsolete inventory.
- Business plan
There are exceptions, but the vast majority of commercial loan applications require a business plan document. Nowadays it can be short—perhaps even a lean business plan—but banks still want that standard summary of company, product, market, team, and financials.
You are still not out of the woods yet. The bank hasn’t said yes and you are not sure about their answer but still you can try and improve your chances of getting an approval. All you need to do is to know the factors that affect approval and then work on them.
Payment History – Do you make your payments on time? Since this determines (on average) 35% of your score, it is certainly in your best interest to make any and all payments on time! Your payment history includes credit cards, car payments, mortgages, student loans and other loan types. Other public records on file, such as a bankruptcy, will be calculated in this group as well. If you have been late on payments bits of additional info, such as how recently these payments were made and how much time elapsed between the due date and pay date, will also factor into your score.
Outstanding Debt – Most people over the age of 18 have debt. The question is how much? All outstanding balances for credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc. will determine (on average) about 30% of your score. How many of these accounts have balances? For example, if you can possible pay down significantly or pay off credit card debt, you’ll be in much better shape during loan approval. Eliminating some avenues of credit can demonstrate your willingness and ability to responsibly pay back new loans.
Credit History – How long have you been establishing your credit? Specifically, how long have your current accounts been opened and how long as it been since you used each of them? This usually determines approximately 15% of your score. If no credit history exists, you should begin by establishing credit accounts and be sure to keep them spotless. The less history that exists, the less the loan amount you’ll likely be able to obtain.