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5 Questions to ask a Small Business Lender

What questions should I ask to find the right lender?


Finding the right lender for your business is like finding the right accountant. You want one that not only knows your business but understands your needs as well. Here are five questions to ask to determine whether a bank might be a good fit:

1. Does the bank focus on small business?

Different banks cater to different kinds of customers. To receive the level of care and attention you deserve, you’ll want one that has lenders focused specifically on small business but also has the services and solutions needed to grow along with your business.

2. Is the bank on the Small Business Administration’s list of top lenders?

One way to confirm a bank’s interest in small business is to ask about its SBA lending record.

3. Does the bank cater to your industry?

Banks have more experience in some industries than others. Be sure to explain what your company does, how long you’ve been in business and the kind of financing you’re seeking. Ask whether the bank typically makes loans to businesses like yours and whether your request falls within its lending limits.

4. Does the bank offer the products and services you need?

Assuming the bank serves your industry, you’ll want to find out whether it offers checking, merchant payment services and cash management tools in addition to financing for your small business. Mention that you’re looking for a long-term relationship with the right bank and that you need one that can serve you now and as you grow.

5. Who makes the lending decisions?

Find out whether loan decisions are made locally or in another location. While a locally made decision is not a guarantee of success, it means your application will be reviewed by people who understand the local market and can make decisions quickly. In addition, working with a bank that will service your loan long-term will make the loan process quicker and more seamless as well as making refinancing in the future easier.


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