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The Secrets to Finding a Line of Credit for Your Business…

Invoice Factoring U.S. and ChinaWhy is it that business I speak with so often say, “…We have been with our bank for so many years, but they won’t make us a loan.” Large traditional banks are designed in most cases for retail banking and corporate lending. There is not much money to be made by making small loans at 5% per year to 1000 small customers. Frankly, the larger banks rather lend one large corporate client $100 million at 3% than a 100 smaller loans. So, how does a smaller commercial bank lender make smaller loans when the larger banks cannot? There are clear reasons why smaller lending institutions can lend to smaller businesses more successfully. Here are some of the secrets to why and how businesses qualify for money.

First a small business owner must rate their business in the A, B or C credit categories in order to know what they qualify for and where to look. This the secret to finding a successful bank lending relationship.

A small business in the A credit category would have a company that is profitable, been in business 2 or more years, has a strong equity position on its balance sheet, and a strong principal guarantee with a credit score of +720. This business would be a good candidate for an SBA loan from $100k to $1 million with sales of approximately $1 to $10 million with not too much difficulty at a smaller, more specialized bank. Traditional loans are typically not available to small businesses even at this level without an SBA guarantee to support their loan.

A small business in the B credit category usually lacks one of the above criteria that an A credit has (as listed above). This places the business in the area of receivable financing (aka invoice factoring) or some other form of collateral based lending (i.e. 2nd TD on business property, inventory financing, etc.). These loans are typically with recourse or limited non-recourse and are highly structured. If your customer base is strong and there is payment records to support trends, then this form of lending can very helpful to growing and graduating to the A credit category.

A small business in the C credit category is missing several items from an A credit criteria and often has other items like tax or lien issues that complicate the lending scenario. A seasoned commercial lender can still place creative financing together. The price will obviously be higher due to the higher risk, but if a small business has cleaned up its act and is on a good sales trajectory with descent margins then seeking this type of lending is a great move to maintain stable working capital and cash flow while the business continues to grow so no sales momentum is lost.

“Providing working capital to businesses that have had a few bumps in the road, but are still growing is challenging for traditional banks. Smaller more aggressive lenders are much better suited to actually lend in this area and they can provide a surprising array of products like receivable financing, inventory financing, invoice factoring, trade financing, PO financing, etc.” states, Stephen Perl, CEO of 1st PMF Bancorp.

By Stephen Perl, CEO

1st PMF Bancorp (USA)

1st PMF Capital (HK)

Author of “Dancing with the Dragon: The Secrets of Doing Business with China” (2012)

www.pmfbancorp.com

Importer Financing & Factoring Opportunities

U.S. importers have been filling the void for many of the products that the U.S. buyers continue to demand with their dollars, and this has presented a niche for new kinds of financing opportunities such as factoring invoices and trade financing.  An interesting side note is that if U.S. buyers just bought $300 more of U.S. products per year, our deficit and manufacturing flight would be solved.

Niche financing for importers has always been around for the large, credit worthy companies in the U.S., but now small businesses can get access to this financing as well.  Letters of Credit have been used by banks for a long time, but a few factoring companies are now becoming experienced at designing trade finance programs for smaller companies, and not just at factoring invoices.

How can a trade finance program help your company grow?  Being able to order larger amounts that the larger US customers are demanding is essential, but cashflow is sometimes restrictive.  Also, sending deposits, without the protection of a letter of credit or a structured purchase, is a dangerous habit as well because there is nothing holding the foreign supplier to making the right quantities, making the delivery dates or other parameters important to your company.

1st PMF Bancorp has been a commercial lender with a specialization in trade finance and factoring invoices for over 30 years.  When you are a small company. having a lender that understands and can be flexible to meet your needs makes all the difference when achieving company’s sale goals.

 

 

Is China Trade becoming Less or More Expensive for Your Business?

Businesses working with China trade for importing goods often have to pay for their goods or labor to make many of their completed products for the US market.  Lets face it, the US dollar does not go the same distance it used to in China or anywhere else for that matter.

Unfortunately, the US does not make a lot of toasters or microwaves anymore so retailers and consumers are forced to buy Chinese made goods. US businesses often use trade financing to import goods.  We could buy Made in the USA products, but it is ultimately the consumer’s decision for the most part when they walk into Walmart and choose to buy the less expensive Chinese made product.

Businesses are all in a wait and see mode as the Chinese currency has appreciated drastically over the last several years by more than 30%; however, the Chinese economy looks like it may be finding its equilibrium as the economy matures.  The last couple of years of growth in China’s GDP have shown a dip in their GDP.  Their GDP in the last two years been between 7-8% which are the lowest levels in 15 years. These figures are probably a couple percent too high as well do to adjustments that should be taken internally before China reports. India was also thought to be a industrial machine and it has shown the same decline over the last several years.

The People’s Bank of China (“PBOC”) has also taken measures to slow currency speculation by widening the Yuan currency fluctuation bank to a 2% band.  The PBOC as reported by the Wall Street Journal today stated, “The Central Bank of China is pretty satisfied with the efforts [using this new widened band] to punish speculators”.  “Over the last 5 years, PMF Bancorp’s clients importing and trade financing goods based on factoring invoices from China have seen a dramatic increase in cost of goods and labor in China, but it appears to be leveling off in the last year” states Mr. Stephen Perl, CEO of 1st PMF Bancorp.

Therefore, is China becoming more expensive or less expensive for US importers can be debated but it should be clear now that the currency will probably find an equilibrium around this current level and there should not be anymore large jumps in appreciation.  On the contrary, if the Chinese people, businesses, etc. become worried enough about their economy then we will start to see a flight of capital which would depreciate the currency even further and would help make doing business in China cheaper again.  So, I think all parties have a vested interest in keeping the China Yuan stable at these levels.

Stephen Perl, MS, MBA
CEO of 1st PMF Bancorp

Thxs
SP

Author of Book: Dancing with the Dragon: the Secrets of Doing Business with China (Book 2012)  

China’s 3rd Plenum and President Xi’s New Powers

China is becoming more intriguing all the time because as it moves towards a stronger capitalistic economy, the government is apparently consolidating power in their President’s position.  This could be seen as a move for more centralized power, or alternatively an attempt at copying the US’s system and the President’s powers in the US.  It is no secret that the Chinese have modeled many of their systems, roads, infrastructure projects, etc. after the US.  The Chinese feel the US has been tremendously successful and there is no reason to copy any other (however, its only my opinion, but they may want to pass on copying our health care system and retirement system).

In simple terms, what did this Third (3rd) Plenum achieve… the top line statement given after the meeting was that China’s leadership would make more decisive movements toward a free market system, while maintaining a firm central state grip on the overall picture…not sure about you but I am confused.  However, in contrast to the past 2 Chinese President’s,  the 3rd Plenum did appear to have granted President Xi the following new powers:

1.  Control over Military, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Economic Officials (not quite like the US Reserve model)

2. Creation of a National Security Council

3. Control over most of Domestic Security issues

4. Control Foreign Defense without Leadership approval

There are many similarities to the US…too many to comment on but this is probably a good thing as having a President with too little power can create more problems and frustrations so another ally that is aligned with our business interests can only be a good thing for the overall future for both countries and the world.

by Stephen Perl, MS, MBA

Author of “Dancing with the Dragon: Doing Business with China (2012)

China’s Social Stability is the World’s Problem….

Many think that the social issues and welfare of China are the sole problems of China…in fact, I would argue just the opposite.  China’s social stability is directly tied to “global growth” and stability.  How can this be?

China’s top down approach to capitalism where the state manages the countries economy in a capitalistic format has worked well for many years, but there have been disruptions.  Many only see the strong GDP numbers from the financial markets and the new projects that China is developing from the media, but underneath is still a developing country as they are part of the BRIC countries.  The BRIC states have amazing potential, but they are still developing and struggling with the many issues of growth and capitalism.

What happened to China’s economy in 1989 in Beijing when Tianemen Square revolt occurred?  The Chinese GDP plunged to 2.5% for two years…thank goodness their economy was not nearly as big then.  The consumption power that China now wields is tremendous and if there is social social unrest, it will bring this economy to its knees and hobble many others.  Even the US will feel the effect.

It is important that the US guides its partners in the right direction, but only gradually.  We cannot expect a baby to walk before it crawls so we cannot expect China to jump before it can run.

Currently, China’s economy is slowing down and maturing gradually…we should not be worried as this is normal for all maturing economies, but we must foster the right economic policies and social standards for their country.  This requires Americans to step out of their comfort zone and to practice cultural sensitivity (to the right degree…so please do not take my advice out of context).

Keeping the social stability in China is a matter that the world must be concerned with.

 

by Stephen Perl, MBA, MS

CEO of PMF Bancorp

Author: Dancing with the Dragon (2012)