Blog   Commercial Banking

How to secure a commercial loan: a lender’s inside scoop

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From bakers and brew masters to dentists and doctors, all business owners have one thing in common – they all need money. That fact is true regardless of the stage: starting, expanding or continuing their operations. Securing financing for a business can be one of the most overwhelming tasks an entrepreneur will ever face.

Lenders ask the same questions and look at certain criteria when evaluating loan requests no matter the amount of money a business owner needs.

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What’s the Plan?

Lenders want to know how much money will be personally invested in the business, how much money the creditor is being asked to fund and how the money will be used. For a startup company, you will need to present more than the basics. You’ll need to show a business plan, giving the opportunity to answer the aforementioned questions as well as the following:

  • Who will own and operate the business?
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  • What experience and/or qualifications do you have to operate the business?
  • What will the business sell/provide?
  • Who is your target market?
  • What is your marketing plan?

For a company that has already been in business two or more years, lenders will require current balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and interim balance sheets. It’s a good idea to bring personal tax returns and financial statements, as well.

Money Makes the Business World Go Round

Once the lender has reviewed your business plan and expertise, they will move on to the money. For a startup, the first question a lender will ask is how much money is needed to start the business and make it profitable. Think about working capital such as inventory, real estate, equipment and furniture.

The next question is how much money will you personally contribute to the business? Actual cash investment by the business owner is necessary. An existing business will need to present its current balance sheet to demonstrate how much has already been invested and how the money was spent. All of this information will be reviewed to determine how much actual cash investment remains after paying out expenses and providing a living for the business owner.

These questions will be evaluated by the lender to determine if the business will operate soundly, that the debt burden does not place unreasonable demands on the profits of the business to repay the debt, and that you have enough capital at risk to keep you committed to the success of the business.

The Payment Terms

The biggest challenge business owners face when seeking a loan is showing the lender how and when they will pay the money back.  This is the chance to prove to the lender that your earnings will be enough to repay the loan.

To accomplish this goal, existing business owners should bring historical operating statements to showcase prior sales, expenses and profits. If you’re new to this, provide projections of sales, expenses and profits for the next two to three years, and an annual budget of cash expected from sales. Industry and market research data can serve to back up your projections.

Borrowing money is all about convincing the lender that you have the capital needed to succeed, the ability to repay the loan, the character and skill to implement the plan and the collateral to serve as backup. When entrepreneurs clearly understand the process and questions a lender will ask, they are adequately prepared to go out and secure a loan that will help their business succeed.

For more tips to prep you before your meeting with a lender, check out this earlier blog post: The 5 C’s of Credit.


Michael Rosales is senior vice president and small business banking manager at UMB Financial Corporation. Mr. Rosales joined UMB in 2005 as part of the founding crew of the Small Business Banking Department. He manages a group of associates who process requests for small business loans. Mr. Rosales can be reached at Michael.Rosales@umb.com.

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Community banks are the lifeblood of their communities

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There has been much discussion and debate recently about the role of community banking in America.  In fact, I read with interest a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Tally of U.S. Banks Sinks to Record Low,” which compelled me to write this blog post reaffirming our support of these banks.

The article points out that the number of banks has dramatically decreased to 6,891 as of September 30, 2013. The reasons for this decline are varied.

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On one side there are changing demographics, and the challenges smaller, more rural communities face while simultaneously trying to prosper. Not to mention the impact of rapidly changing technology and accelerating costs.

On the other side, persistently low interest rates and a difficult regulatory environment have made the business of banking more challenging. Clearly interest rates will return to a more “normal” level at some point, and our hope is that regulators find proper balance as we move forward.

So, you may be wondering, what does this all mean for the banking industry? Opinions have varied greatly as to whether a reduction in the number of banks is a positive or negative trend. There also have been various viewpoints on the impact it could have for community banks, given the large number represented in the decline. This in particular is the point I would like to address.

UMB has been offering Correspondent Banking services since 1928, and we currently work with more than 1,000 community banks. Because of our relationships and experience in this area, we know firsthand the value they provide and the part they play in not only our industry, but in their communities as well.

We understand the critical banking and financial needs community banks address within their communities, and we are firm in our convictions that the community banking model works. Our company has always been an advocate for community banks that serve their local communities, businesses and citizens, often providing services larger banks are frequently unwilling to extend.

We know that banks are the lifeblood of their communities. As such, having community banks solidly positioned with the services required to fulfill their mission of growing and supporting their communities is crucial to the long-term economic health and vitality of their communities. It is also essential for the future of banking—and we will continue to be here to support community banks in their endeavors.


Mr. deSilva is president and chief operating officer of UMB Financial Corporation. He is also vice chairman of UMB Bank, n.a. Mr. deSilva joined UMB in January 2004. He is primarily responsible for UMB's fee-producing business units and product lines, including Scout Investments; UMB Fund Services, UMB Healthcare Services Payment Solutions, Prairie Capital Management. Additionally, he is responsible for all corporate operations, technology, properties, security and marketing.

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Balancing Act: The changing landscape of commercial banking

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Technology has changed the way people do business. It’s also changed the way they do business banking. You can transfer money between two business accounts in minutes with online banking or complete and submit your entire expense report on the computer. Technology gives you the convenience of having greater control over your company’s finances. But that shouldn’t change the business partnership you have with your company’s bank.

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Like any relationship, creating and maintaining an effective partnership requires regular communication between you and your bank partner.  A strong relationship with your company’s financial institution not only enhances your customer experience, but also helps the bank balance quality service with a high level of information security.

Customer Experience

Your banker should know your company beyond what can be learned from a monthly commercial credit card statement. Your bank should act as an extension of your business and not just a place for you to keep your corporate accounts. Understanding the business cycles and unique financial needs of your engineering firm or your agriculture business gives your bank the insight to be a partner working with you on developing ideas to help your business succeed. This experience begins with a simple but powerful idea: know your customer.

For example, a bank that uses “know your customer” requirements for you to access your account can take this information and use it as a chance to get to know you and your employees better. At UMB, we require you to provide information that will uniquely identify you as the customer you say you are when you call us. These precautions are also good security measures to reduce potential fraud on your accounts.

Information Security

Having a strong relationship with your bank is important to your information security. Most banks will monitor spending habits to check for fraudulent activity on your commercial cards. For example, if a commercial card for a construction company starts posting a series of expensive charges at a department store within several hours, UMB might flag that account for suspicious activity or even put a hold on the card to stop any further transactions. Some might see this as too constrictive and even intrusive, but if you have a good working relationship with your financial institution you’re more likely to view this type of monitoring as a partner looking out for your company’s financial well-being.

So what can you do as a customer to keep the two-way communication open? Keeping your profile with your bank up-to-date makes it easier to verify who you are when you need to contact them. This also helps your bank ensure an accurate and safe customer experience.

Balancing self-service, customer service and information security is a challenge. A good bank should maintain the fine line between giving you the freedom to run your business and manage your finances, while remaining a loyal business partner who will always looks out for your best interests and the financial safety of your company.


Mr. Wegner is vice president and commercial card product manager at UMB. In this role, he is responsible for product development and program design for new and existing programs. He joined UMB in 2011. He earned an MBA in Management from Rockhurst University in Kansas City MO. He is a member of the NAPCP Public Sector Advisory Board.

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Connecting the Dots: Commercial client forum

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You’ve probably attended industry or community events with time set aside for networking. But, have you ever met at your company’s bank for an event dedicated solely to networking and sharing ideas? Earlier this year, UMB’s commercial banking team brought together a group of our clients to share ideas and perspectives about everything from succession planning to product evolution and other leadership topics. We sat down with Brian Beaird, senior vice president in UMB’s Commercial Banking department, to discuss this informative client forum.

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What was your goal with the forum?

We wanted to bring in a handful of our clients so they could discuss leadership topics and expand their business networks. The goal was to create meaningful opportunities to develop relationships beyond traditional commercial banking interactions. We wanted to connect our clients to others like them so they could discuss real-life challenges and take away tangible ideas to consider for their businesses.

Who did you invite to this event?

We invited senior leadership from ten middle market clients across our eight-state footprint. The clients represented various industries, from construction to non-profits. They also represented various types of leadership within the company. Three of the businesses are family run, ranging from first to third generation leadership.

Specifically, what did the attendees discuss?

In addition to the general leadership topics, we utilized articles from the Harvard Business Review to guide our discussion. The articles created a framework for facilitated discussion that created unique perspectives based on the various styles of leadership in the room and industry-specific scenarios that enabled group members to think differently about their business.

What surprised you about their conversations?

The clients who attended provided a unique perspective that helps us to better understand how various industries are performing and how they are projected to perform. Additionally, it was interesting to watch the attendees make connections to similar issues they’ve experienced, even if they were in different industries. For example, one attendee was concerned with an aspect of his company’s succession plan. Another attendee had a very similar experience in his company and the two were able to talk after the forum and exchange ideas on how to help solve the problem.

What was the outcome of these meetings?

The companies we bring in for these forums are geographically separated, but they have begun to do business together and leverage the experiences of the group as an information source for decision-making. Two attendees have actually developed a business partnership as a direct result of this meeting.

Having done two of these forums since last fall, we continue to follow up with the attendees to ensure the conversation continues. In fact, one member requested that we help lead a strategic off-site meeting for their company.

The most important takeaway we’ve seen from these meetings is the company leaders have realized it’s important for them to branch outside of their networks like this on a regular basis. Communicating with other companies outside the standard, day-to-day business interactions can help you create partnerships you may never have developed otherwise. You may even be able to learn from the experiences of other companies and apply them to your own.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Beaird is a senior vice president in UMB’s Commercial Banking department. He is responsible for commercial banking strategy, which focuses on the development of growth through our people and various markets. He joined UMB in 2009 and has 14 years of experience in the financial services industry. He earned an MBA and a master’s degree in human resources from Webster University in Kansas City, MO. Mr. Beaird is also the co-founder of the Kids to Kings youth basketball organization.

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Is your affinity program still benefiting your organization or non-profit?

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Park University Affinity Card (CardPartner from UMB)RFPs, grant proposals, annual fundraiser dinners, donation drives. If you work for a non-profit or professional association, you’re always searching for new, creative ways to raise funds. Affinity credit card programs are one way to do this by helping to raise awareness and donations with each new account.

 

For organizations big or small, here are five tips to help begin, migrate or simply reevaluate affinity programs and financial partners.

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Evaluate the rewards program

Some affinity programs pay partnering organizations for new accounts, give them a percentage of monthly charge volume and/or cut them a percentage off balance transfers. Some even reward supporters and members with points, miles or cash back.

But some rewards programs may not actually benefit the organization or the cardholder. Some issuers offer rich rewards to the group, but fund the program through the cardholders (higher rates and pricing). And some rewards have a short shelf life, with points that expire in a year.

Compare affinity programs to learn what the rewards are, who gets them, and most importantly, who pays for them.

Know the terms

Affinity card issuers see value in reaching a particular customer base, but they also have to make money on affinity card programs. Understand where that revenue is coming from—especially if it’s coming from your supporters.

Ask these questions:

  • What are the rates and fees?
  • Does the lender charge cardholders extra for personalization?
  • Are there hidden charges that lessen the value for your organization and/or its supporters?

Consider the marketing support

Traditionally, affinity card issuers have controlled the marketing, using direct mail as their primary, if not only, tool to communicate about the affinity program. With social media, the toolkit has expanded and organizations are gaining control and customization of how they market to supporters and members.

Ask these questions:

  • Does the issuer provide tools to support marketing efforts beyond direct mail?
  • Do you have to wait for bank approval of marketing messages or can you insert pre-approved copy in a newsletter or share it on social media?
  • Does the program give your non-profit the flexibility to send messages on your own timeline?

Control of your supporter list

Many lenders will ask you for direct access to your organization’s supporters and for the control over the marketing messages and timing. They do this so they can cross-market other financial products and services when they issue your affinity card. You’ll have to decide whether you want to give up that control.

Check references and reputation

When entering an affinity program, issuers not only get access to your organization’s database—they also get an implied endorsement.

Choose a banking partner carefully. Talk with current affinity partners. Weigh the bank’s reputation among other non-profits. Check their asset quality, capital adequacy, profitability and loan growth; all factors that indicate the bank’s strength, stability and economic responsibility. Based on your research, select a bank that shares your values and will become a long-term partner.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


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Partnering for what’s ahead: A conversation with Will and Bart of AmeriFlex

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Take a look at this video highlighting one of our many fantastic clients, or should I say business partners.

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Mr. Fee serves as president of UMB’s Texas region and is responsible for designing and executing a strategy to establish UMB Bank in the Texas market, initially by way of Dallas. He joined UMB in 2002 and has also served as the community bank president of the UMB South Kansas City region. Fee earned Bachelor of Science with a major in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

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The Five Cs of Credit

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Are you an entrepreneur looking to start up a new boutique or local restaurant? Or are you an owner of an established firm seeking to expand or upgrade? Either way, securing financing for your business is sometimes an overwhelming process.

UMB has a long history of being prudent in our lending. We don’t want to put our customers, or ourselves, at risk, so we follow a sound underwriting process to ensure we are making the best decision for everyone involved.

Here are some common guidelines we use when it comes to the loan process.

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Character

This is the overall impression you make on the banker. Business experience and educational background will be evaluated, along with references and past experience.

Word of Advice: You need a business plan. Be open and honest – you should provide the most accurate and objective information about the business and industry landscape.

Capacity

You will need to detail exactly how you plan to repay the loan. Business cash flow, repayment timing and likelihood of repayment will be considered, as will payment history on your current credit. Financial partners need to have confidence that your business will generate enough cash to operate and sustain the company.

Word of Advice: Prepare to have money set aside for a down payment.  Don’t come to the table empty-handed.

Capital

This is the money you have individually invested in the business and is used to assess your risk should the venture not succeed. It’s important for you to demonstrate a personal financial commitment before seeking third-party funding.

Word of Advice: Financial institutions generally require that at least one-third to one-half of the business be funded with your money.

Collateral

This is where assets you own are pledged to the lender as a secondary source of repayment in case the loan is not repaid. You also may be required to sign a guarantee with the promise to repay the loan if you cannot repay it with the profits from the business.

Word of Advice: Most banks will expect the collateral assessment to be greater than the loan amount.

Conditions

This is the outlined plan for the loan, with details on how it will be used and for what purposes. Current economic and business conditions for all industries, as well as your business’ specific industry, will also be evaluated.

Word of Advice: Have a strong knowledge of industry trends, both nationally and in the local market. Timing can be critical.

You should pick a financial lender that will be your partner, not just your bank. After that, securing a loan to start or grow a business should be a smooth process and you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling your dream!


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UMB expands into Dallas

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As we continue to grow our business, we have an exciting announcement. We are opening our first official office in Dallas, Texas! Zach Fee, UMB president of the Texas region sat down for a quick Q&A to talk about our plans.

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Why is UMB expanding to Dallas?

UMB has had clients in Texas for more than 30 years. Based on the opportunity for new growth, we felt like now was the right time to establish a permanent home and chose Dallas as our first site. Dallas is a great fit for UMB, because not only is it a top five commercial market that has strong economic activity, but its diverse business environment matches our own diverse offerings. Our new space in the Hall Arts building will put us in the center of the city’s activity and we are excited to be a part of this innovative community.

How long have you been on the ground?

I officially moved to Dallas from Kansas City with my family at the end of last year. We have six full-time associates right now and have plans to add a couple of new team members before the end of the year. We’ve been extremely humbled by the warm welcome we’ve received. The business community has welcomed us with open arms and we look forward to working closely with them.

What are the short- and long-term goals for the Dallas market?

First and foremost our focus is on building our team with local Dallas talent. The market is home to so many talented financial experts, we’ll have no trouble finding outstanding people that fit with our UMB culture. From a business perspective, we are focused on building our middle market commercial base and making an impact in the community through civic and philanthropic engagement.

We have been humbled by the Big Texas welcome we’ve received. Check out what folks are saying.

“Hall Arts lands UMB Bank’s first Texas lease” ‡ (Dallas Business Journal – July 18, 2013)

“UMB Bank Starts Texas Expansion” ‡ (Dallas Business Journal – July 12, 2013)

“UMB Financial Chase of Commercial Business Leads it to Big D” ‡ (SNL Financial – July 11, 2013)

“New Banks Continue to Enter Competitive Dallas-Fort Worth Market” ‡ (Dallas Morning News – July 9, 2013)

“Kansas City Icon Expanding in Dallas” ‡ (D CEO Magazine – July 9, 2013)

“UMB in Missouri Plans Texas Push: Report”  (American Banker – July 9, 2013)

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Fee serves as president of UMB’s Texas region and is responsible for designing and executing a strategy to establish UMB Bank in the Texas market, initially by way of Dallas. He joined UMB in 2002 and has also served as the community bank president of the UMB South Kansas City region. Fee earned Bachelor of Science with a major in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

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Why Accept Credit Cards?

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Consumers are increasingly using credit and debit cards to buy everything from a pack of gum to a new car. Small business owners need to adapt to this trend and accept credit/debit transactions from their customers so they don’t miss out on potential revenue.

The numbers don’t lie. Take a look at this infographic to learn more.

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Why Accept Credit Cards Infographic


Mr. Brown serves as a product sales specialist, supporting sales channel strategy for the business segment in Consumer Banking. He joined UMB in 2010. Brown received a master's degree in business administration from Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. and a bachelor's degree in economics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.

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