Introducing the Business Payments Coalition: The Former Remittance Coalition Broadens its Mission

Business Payments CoalitionIn recent years, payment industry stakeholders in the U.S. have been collaborating to improve payments efficiency. A quest is underway to achieve the worthy goals of originating and receiving more payments electronically to reduce the average end-to-end costs of transactions and to enable innovative payment services for consumers and businesses. In the U.S., opportunities to improve payment system efficiency are especially significant in business-to-business (B2B) transactions, which include the invoice, payment and remittance detail.

With that in mind, give a hearty salute and wish a happy anniversary to the Business Payments Coalition (BPC), formerly the Remittance Coalition, which celebrates five years this month. The organization’s new name recognizes that its goal has broadened beyond simply facilitating the exchange of remittance information among B2B trading partners. It still seeks to foster adoption of electronic payments and remittances in the business-to-business environment, but its wider-ranging mission today is to improve efficiency of B2B payments across the end-to-end process.

The Coalition consists of organizations and individuals working together to promote greater use of electronic B2B payments and remittance data exchanges, as well as other ways to increase B2B transactions efficiency. Over the last five years, the Coalition has developed a plethora of tools and standards that address the various challenges that businesses face when using electronic alternatives to paper-based payment options. As the payments environment continues to expand and new electronic payment options grow, the Business Payments Coalition has continually expanded its efforts beyond remittance to lend a fresh perspective to overall payments efficiency.  (more…)

Three Surprises When You Apply for a Small Business Loan

Applying for a loanApplying for small business financing can be time-consuming and frustrating. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows the average small business owner spends more than half a standard work week (26 hours) researching and applying for financing.

Unfortunately, putting in that time and effort doesn’t always pay off. The Nav American Dream Gap Report survey found that 45% of small business owners whose applications for financing were declined said they were turned down more than once. And research from the 2014 Joint Small Business Credit Survey found that in the first half of 2013, a quarter of firms with employees and nearly a third (31%) of those without employees didn’t even bother to apply because they didn’t believe their applications would be approved.

While no one wants to be rejected when they apply for credit, small business owners are at a particular disadvantage because major consumer protection laws don’t always apply to entrepreneurs seeking financing for their ventures.

Here are three things that may come as a surprise when they apply:  (more…)

Helping Small Businesses Make the Best Financing Choices

By the Opportunity Finance Network

come-in-we-are-openSmall business owners pour their hearts and most of their resources into starting, growing and sustaining their businesses. Access to responsible capital is critical to grow and expand a business, which in turn is critical for financial security and creating jobs in the community.

Getting a small business loan has often been particularly hard for women and minority business owners. Women-owned businesses only get 4.4 percent of the dollar amount of all conventional small business loans. More than a third of minority business owners are worried they will not access the capital they need to maintain business operations. Furthermore, minority entrepreneurs are disproportionately denied credit when they apply for it, regardless of credit scores, income, or profits. The financial crisis that shook the entire national economy was damaging for small businesses in general, but especially small businesses owned by people of color, as large banks cut back on lending to small businesses.

In the wake of the recession, a plethora of online lenders have been promising small business owners “quick and easy” cash, without disclosing the hidden fees, high interest rates, and prepayment penalties. These tactics are harmful at the least, and can even drive some to go out of business. According to a recent survey by seven regional Federal Reserve banks, 20 percent of small businesses applying for financing in the past year went to an online lender. Though 75 percent of these businesses received at least some financing from these online lenders, only 15 percent reported being satisfied with their loans. This rise in unregulated, online alternative lenders provides an unprecedented but confusing variety of financing options, many of them designed more to help a lender’s bottom line than to help a small business succeed.  (more…)

Helping Your Clients Get Access To Capital

By Rick Burgess, CEO, Connect Lending

America is built upon our entrepreneurial spirit. This spirit is what drives our great country to innovate and endure adversity in challenging the ways businesses are managed. Every day, individuals embark on setting up a business to capitalize on the advantages our great country has to offer. With changes to regulations, additional requirements and limited lending practices, traditional bank loans aren’t always available, and may not be accessible for the everyday business.

Connect Lending

Fortunately, there are numerous types of alternative lending solutions in the marketplace. But, finding them by simply walking into your local bank or credit union isn’t going to be fruitful. Connect Lending provides an online platform to match small business owners to the right lender for their business solution. When using our platform, review these key factors with your client to ensure a smooth process for securing a loan:  (more…)

Sustainable Financing for Small Business

Financial-SolutionsBy Terry Crispen

Going green and recycling may be old concepts but that does not diminish their effectiveness in helping to achieve sustainability.  Oftentimes, we only associate sustainability with the environment, but sustainability is much more than that.  Sustainability is what should drive business decisions today and into the future. The Great Recession, largely caused by markets that were unsustainable, dealt a blow to consumers and businesses. Analysts estimate that more than 170,000 small businesses ceased operations during the Great Recession.  Now that the economy is rebounding, it is more important than ever for small business owners to remain focused on sustainability.

Today, alternative online lenders are the new rage in the financial world.  They promise speed and often deliver in three days or less. The temptation is great for small businesses to access funds in such a short period of time.  But are they making a sustainable business decision?  Once interest rates reach the 20%-40% range, the cost of getting access to fresh capital severely limits a company’s ability to perform and grow long term. Although alternative online lenders offer quick access to capital, the high interest costs make the solution unsustainable for many businesses.  (more…)