Dealing with Banks

If you are applying for a bank loan or a line of credit, here some things to keep in mind. 

1. Get to know your bank and banker personally. Send in your annual financial statements before you need the money. Keep sending them after you've paid off the loan. Stay in touch in good and bad times.

2. Show your banker what you do. Invite him/her to your business office, open house, trade fair, exhibition.

3. Don't lie to your banker. Hiding facts affecting your business success will hurt both you and the bank.

4. Don't expect the bank to lend you 100% of the money you need. If you don't want to invest in your idea, why should the bank?

5. Don't treat the bank as an adversary. You both have a stake in being partners.

6. Collect a banker's guide to master what banks want from you. All the banks offer materials and they are excellent. Learn the jargon.

7. Use the banker's guides to make informed choices about the kind the borrowing might suit you best. Short-term lending, small business loans, credit lines, revolving accounts, letters of credit and bridge loans are a few examples.

8. Prepare your start-up business plan first and then show it to your account for professional input. You will learn more and save money. Practice your presentation to the bank.

9. Establish and keep credit in your own name if you are a woman. It will make it easier for you to get a loan.

10. Switch to an up-to-date banker if you find your bank manager is sexist. Statistics show companies started by women fail much less often than those started by men.

11. Explore money sources other than banks. Some credit unions have more elastic requirements.

12. Always ask why your loan request was rejected and if the bank can offer alternatives.

13. Don't assume that banks owe you credit or a loan. borrowing money is not a right.

14. Don't give up easily. There are more choices in banks and financial institutions than ever before. Keep trying until you find someone who will give you a loan.