SCORE Small Business Blog

Finance: How to Approach Your Banker

So you’re ready to go the next step for your business and you need to borrow money- how to successfully approach your banker….

Your business is doing well. You need to grow it and you’ve determined its best to borrow the additional working capital rather than use the company’s valuable cash reserves. You’ve met your bank branch manager at social events but have never borrowed money before.
Where to start…

First, make sure you have documentation. The paper tells the story. Basic information to bring: 3 years financial statements or federal tax returns on the company (if your company is less than 3 years old, bring historicals and 2 years financial projections); a current financial statement (30-60 days old) (lenders can’t use stale information); a personal financial statement on you and the other major company owners; a brief history and description of the business including location, territory, products; resumes of the key management; and a list of how you’re going to use the money.

Second, go in with a number. The worst thing you can say to a banker in response to his/her question “how much do you need?” is “how much will you lend me?”

Third, have a plan on how to pay back the loan and how to secure it.

Fourth, look at your company and personal credit reports before you approach a lender. You don’t want any surprises. And , if there’s something negative there, tell the lender about it upfront and explain why it shouldn’t affect the loan.

Finally, don’t give up. If your banker can’t help you with a conventional or credit scored loan, ask to be referred to another division within the bank or to an SBA lender or local resource. There are numerous government assisted lending programs out there to help business people like you.

-Roz Goldmacher, guest blogger

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