with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
Applying for a line of credit, like any financing, can be a stressful waiting game. After a series of rejections from my existing corporate bank and a few more from my potential new bank, I was feeling incredibly discouraged. I knew I had a booming business. Why couldn’t a bank see that?
Cindie Harrington, Relationship Manager Key4Women promptly contacted me on Wednesday, a day after the most recent rejection. I had been approved for a line of credit of $15,000.
I was floored. Speechless. I think I stammered for a few minutes. After all of headaches and heartaches I had gone through trying to provide my corporation with a cash flow cushion, I couldn’t believe a bank was actually going to help me. I knew I wasn’t a bad financial risk, but my financial past had seemed too checkered for me to be given any credit.
Finally, I had found a bank that truly operated on the basis of relationships, that looked at me not as a set of numbers and tick marks on a credit rating sheet but as a fallible but responsible human being with a successful and growing business.
I eventually collected myself and asked Cindie why they said yes to me after all the rejections I’d experienced?
She summarized it simply.
Why I Was Still Credit Worthy
1. The Relationship. I was willing to open a business account with them rather than only seeking a loan. They were committed to the new banking relationship that I established with them because I was willing to make a commitment to them.
2. My Credit Score. My credit score was 704 which was a good score so clearly my financial picture had improved enough to have such a good score. (Anything above 650 was considered a good score).
3. An Otherwise Clean Record. The financial problems were in the past, and I was willing to provide detailed, personal information in writing in order to explain the unique situations of each issue.
4. A Strong Business. My business was showing a profit.
I also had disclosed that I had more money in accounts receivables than I was asking for from the bank. Clearly I had a strong earning capacity and was only looking for the loan to bridge those dips in cash flow that came from freelance work.
Overall, because I was so forthcoming with information and willing to provide so much financial documentation, I was establishing a level of trust.
Cindie said that she would work this hard for anyone. “I’ve been on the other side of the desk,” she told me.
The Human Touch
Before I had turned to Key Bank, I actually told my existing bank advisor that I was contemplating going to other banks, namely Key. He said that Key Bank would not give me personal attention, that they did not have business advisors who would provide me with one-on-one attention. After all the banking fiasco’s I had been through, I believed him.
But I’m glad I did not listen to him.
What Key Bank has that I believe really made the difference for me is their Key4Women program. As a woman business owner, my financial picture was not as consistent as I would have liked due to a number of mistakes I made early in my entrepreneurial career. Key Bank provided me with incredible attention, listening to my story carefully, looking at the numbers critically, and making an educated judgment on both my character and financial risk.
I wasn’t a piece of paper. I was a person. And for the first time in a long time, I felt I was being recognized for what I knew I was: A successful business owner.
And I think it bears repeating: I did not get paid to do these posts. Key Bank did not pay for “product placement” or advertising. This is my story, what happened to me recently, and I wanted to share it publicly because I know that I am not alone. I know I’m not the only other solid business owner who is having trouble getting financing. Yes, the economy is shaky right now. But with the right relationship, you, too, could overcome barriers to getting the financing you need.
Next week, I’ll post some tips about finding the bank that is right for you.
Do you have a good relationship with your bank? Why or why not?
photo by Yomanimus/Creative Commons license
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