Alternative Lenders Continue to Beat Credit Unions, Banks in Business Loan Approvals

A recent report shows that alternative commercial funding is on the rise as small businesses seek  fast, flexible and competitively priced working capital solutions.  Commercial finance alternatives, such as asset based lending, accounts receivable financing, purchase order funding and other types of business loans are showing a higher rate of approval than usual. This type of commercial finance can be especially useful for small and mid sized business that are faced with short term cash flow issues or sudden increase in growth – for example those preparing for seasonal demand.

Source: Credit Union Times, October 11 2012, by Michelle A. Samaad

Micro lenders, accounts receivable financers, merchant cash advance lenders and community development financial institutions have approved more business loans than usual over the past few months. That’s according to Biz2Credit, a New York firm that connects small businesses with financial institutions. The company tracked 1,000 of its loan applications in September and found that alternative lenders’ approval rates rose slightly to 64.6%, up from 64.5% in August. The 64.6% approval rate was the highest recorded since the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index began, the firm said.

The loan approval rate of credit unions dropped for a fourth consecutive month in September, down to 52.4% from 52.9% in August, according to Biz2Credit’s analysis of its loan applications. The September figure represented the lowest credit union approval rate since June 2011. Loan approvals at small banks, defined as those with less than $10 billion in assets, also dipped slightly from 47.8% in August to 47.6% in September.

Biz2Credit said banks with more than $10 billion in assets made a comeback in loan approvals last month. The firm’s lending index showed that 14.2%.of funding requests were approved by them in September – a 30% jump from 10.9% in August 2012. The figure also represents the highest approval rating percentage for big banks since Biz2Credit began its index last year.

“Lenders including Citibank, Sovereign and Citizens Bank are jumping head-first back into small business lending. The economy seems to be improving slowly, and the improvement has been a factor in their willingness to lend to small businesses,” said Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit co-founder and CEO, who oversaw the research. “This is a good sign for the economy.”

As for alternative lenders, businesses such as restaurants and retailers are attracted to their financing because they are offering greater flexibility, quicker approvals and competitive lending rates more than they ever have before, Arora said. “This type of financing is very helpful for small and mid-size businesses that encounter short-term cash flow issues,” Arora said. “Many businesses are seeking short-term working capital to prepare for the upcoming holiday season.”

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