Small Businesses are Increasingly Turning to Alternative Lenders – Here’s What You Need to Know before Borrowing

Even before the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank or SVB, there was a tightening in the commercial credit market. Post-collapse, small businesses have found it increasingly more difficult to secure capital from traditional lenders. Still in need of cash infusions and lines of credit, small businesses are turning to alternative lenders.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Borrowing from Alternative Small Business Lenders

Alternative small business lenders are non-bank lenders that provide financing to small businesses. They offer a variety of loan products, including term loans, lines of credit, and equipment financing. Alternative lenders often have more flexible lending criteria than traditional banks, making them a good option for small businesses that may be turned down for a loan from a traditional lender.

Of course, even though all of this sounds good, there are reasons small businesses have historically relied on traditional lenders. This is due to the fact that there are not only upsides but also, downsides to using an alternative lender. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of borrowing from alternative lenders.

Pros of Borrowing from Alternative Lenders

  • Faster approval and funding. Alternative lenders often have a streamlined application process that can be completed online or over the phone. This can lead to faster approval and funding, which can be critical for businesses that need money quickly.
  • More flexible terms. Alternative lenders may be more willing to work with businesses that have less-than-perfect credit or that are in the early stages of growth. They may also be more willing to offer loans with longer terms or lower interest rates.
  • More options. Alternative lenders offer a wider variety of loan products than traditional banks. This includes term loans, lines of credit, and merchant cash advances.
  • No personal guarantee required. Some alternative lenders do not require a personal guarantee from the business owner. This means that the business owner’s personal assets are not at risk if the loan is not repaid.
Although these are some quite compelling reasons to seek out capital from an alternative lender, there are also a few considerations you should take into account so you have a better understanding of how these lenders work.

Cons of Borrowing from Alternative Lenders

  • Higher interest rates. Alternative lenders typically charge higher interest rates than traditional banks. This is because they are taking on more risk by lending to businesses that may not be as creditworthy.
  • Shorter terms. Alternative lenders often offer loans with shorter terms than traditional banks. This means that the business owner will have to make larger payments over a shorter period of time.
  • Hidden fees. Some alternative lenders charge hidden fees, such as origination fees or prepayment penalties. These fees can add to the overall cost of the loan.
  • Less customer service. Alternative lenders may have less customer service than traditional banks. This can make it difficult to get help if you have questions or problems with your loan.
Now you have a better idea of what to expect from alternative lenders, you are more informed about your options and this will give you additional choices. Taking it a step further, you should also consider the following if you are in need of a line of credit or some operating capital.

When to Borrow from an Alternative Lender

Alternative lenders can be a good option for small businesses that need money quickly, have less-than-perfect credit, or are in their early stages of growth. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before choosing an alternative lender.

If you are considering borrowing from an alternative lender, be sure to shop around and compare rates and terms from multiple lenders. You should also read the fine print carefully to understand all of the fees and conditions associated with the loan.

Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group to learn more about us and the services we offer.

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