2016 National State of Financial & Economic Education

April 26, 2016

Every two years, the Council for Economic Education (CEE) comprehensively reviews the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States, collecting data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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We recently spoke to Rob Mills, Vice President of Technology at Rivermark Community Credit Union to discuss the credit union’s new digital banking experience, how they “fail faster,” and how they continue to evolve...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

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Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
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Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
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The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
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2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Making Banking Fun: Gamification in Financial Services

August 5, 2013
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Recently, the Banking.com team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Gamification in Financial Services: Five Proven Ways to Get an Edge,” which shared how leading brands in financial services have applied gamification to reach...

Technology M&As: The Beats Go On

May 29, 2014
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The ongoing fascination with Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics is entirely understandable, because it’s a cool story. However, it also says a lot about what’s going on between finance and tech.

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
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Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below. Virtual Banking Worlds Provide Tangible Lessons American...

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
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In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2012
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom. Mobile Thursday? Plans for Thanksgiving...

One of the least favorite tasks of any entrepreneur might be raising capital. After lenders clamped down following the Great Recession, it became even tougher to access small business loans. Credit is starting to loosen up, however, so if you’ve been holding off on applying for a loan, it’s time to get the process started.

Whether you’re a restaurateur or a retailer, having access to capital can help you take your business to the next level. One great option to consider is an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan. SBA loans have some of the lowest interest rates and monthly payments in the market because they have 10 year terms and no prepayment penalties. Also, these days, you can secure up to a $350,000 SBA loan—in as little as a week after completing the application— for business needs such as equipment or real estate purchases, debt refinance, or working capital through SmartBiz, the #1 online SBA loan marketplace.

There is a lot of misconception surrounding SBA loans, specifically about how difficult and time consuming they are to apply for and secure. New online vendors and processes are available to make it easy to quickly access the low cost capital small businesses need from a trusted source.

Follow these steps to make the SBA loan application process as painless as possible:

Beef up your credit. Lenders will look at both your personal credit score as well as your business’ credit history, so you’ll want to make sure both are in good shape before you apply for a loan. You won’t be automatically disqualified if you have previous bankruptcies or foreclosures, though they could make it more difficult to borrow and many lenders require at least 3 years of seasoning.

You’re entitled to get a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus via AnnualCreditreport.com. Request those a few months before you apply for a loan to make sure that there aren’t any errors on your report that could be pulling down your score. Once you’ve eliminated errors, sign up for a service like Credit Karma, which will monitor and analyze your credit score and provide recommendations for improving it.

If your credit needs work, focus on paying all your bills on time and reducing outstanding debt. Avoid applying for new credit, such as opening new credit cards, right before you apply for a small business loan.

Consider building up your business credit history by getting and responsibly using a small business credit card.  Check out a comparison site like NerdWallet.com to find the best card for you.  Get a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet and submit vendors that you are paying on time to them to build up your D&B rating.

Get organized. As with any loan, you’ll need to provide plenty of paperwork. Be ready to show a potential lender several years worth worth of tax returns, account statements, and other important financial documents related to your business such as leases, contracts, and incorporation papers. Have on hand your business’ quarterly financial statements and projections for the coming year. For borrowers that are buying an existing business, you’ll need documents that can illustrate its past financial performance.

If you don’t have an organized accounting system in place, consider using a vendor like Xero, Quickbooks Online or Freshbooks to get started. That will reduce the time you spend doing accounting and make it easier to show a lender what they need.

Have a plan. Your lender is going to want to know exactly how much money you need, what you need the money for and how you’re going to pay it back. If you don’t have answers to these questions, put a plan together.

Spend some time evaluating your plan as well as your current and projected cash flow to be sure that you’ll be able to pay back the money that you want to borrow. Build in a cushion, so that you’ll be able to meet your loan obligations even if the unexpected pops up.

Sharing your business plan and cash flow projections with a lender is particularly important for younger businesses who may not have a lengthy business credit history.

While it may seem intimidating to apply for an SBA loan through the traditional process, there are now online options to choose from. By carefully preparing your financial profile and documents before starting your application, you’re positioning yourself—and your business—for success.

About Evan Singer: Evan is president of SmartBiz Loans and is responsible for the overall profitability, growth and success of the company.  He has broad experience in both financial services and consumer industries. Evan has built a career around successfully launching and growing new brands and services along with building successful teams.  Prior to SmartBiz, Evan held leadership positions as Chief Revenue Officer at Milton’s Baking, President at Purity Organic, and General Manager at Align Technology. He started his career at Procter & Gamble. Evan holds a B.A. in Public Policy and graduated with honors from Stanford University.

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Voices

Compelling voices and contributed content from around the web

James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Brad Strothkamp

http://www.forrester.com/rb/analyst/brad_strothkamp

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.