Most small businesses will need loan financing at one point or another, and local banks and credit unions can close that gap in funding. But finding the right lender can be tricky. Here are a few tips on finding the best fit for your business needs.
Ask for Referrals
Knowing that someone you know has already had a good experience with a particular lender is often the best way to find a bank for your business. Colleagues, suppliers and other trade partners may have suggestions for you based on their experiences. Sometimes the personal testimony of a fellow business veteran is worth more than all the research you could do on your own about a bank.
Seek Out Lenders Specializing in Your Industry
Start by finding out what banks in your area have a track record of lending to other companies within your industry. Dealing with a lender who already has a working knowledge of your business’ general financing needs will help the process go much smoother. Plus those lenders may become a great resource in terms of providing your networking opportunities through their existing clients. Lenders with experience in your industry may also have some great counsel and advice for growing your business.
Check Out the Financial Ratings
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few banks and credit unions, you may want to do some background research on their financial standings. While the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) won’t let you see which banks are on its troubled bank watch list, you try sites like Bankrate.com’s Safe and Sound Star Ratings to get an idea of the fiscal fitness of each institution.
Find SBA-Approved Lenders
Banks and local lenders who are set up to make Small Business Administration (SBA) loans may be able to offer more options and loan programs to fit your needs.