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Financial Literacy

5 Important keys on how to Secure a loan from a bank

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Investment options for salary earners - bank loan

Banks are in the business of making money. One of the ways through which banks make money is from interest income on loans to businesses.

The whole process or methods used by banks to ascertain the creditworthiness of a borrower is very rigorous. Whatever process the bank you may seek for a loan from is, there are some guiding principles which will help you get a loan faster.

Whether or not you are applying for a commercial loan, real estate financing, a line of credit for business working capital, some of the basic lending principles of banks still apply. They are known as the 5 C’s of lending;

Character

The character of a prospective borrower is the most difficult to measure out of the 5Cs, as it is intangible.

As an individual, would you lend your own money to someone you have never met? Or to someone who has had a long criminal record. I guess your answer is no.

Banks look for borrowers with good character. A background check on you should turn up no red flags that would call into question your willingness or ability to fulfill your financial obligations.

To judge the character of a prospective borrower, several traits are analyzed by a bank to assess you. Some of these traits include;

  • Successful prior business experience.
  • An existing or past relationship with the bank (e.g. prior credit or depositor relationship).
  • Referrals from professionals (lawyers, accountants, business advisers) who have reviewed your business proposals.
  • Evidence of your care and effort in the business planning process.

The amount a borrower is willing to commit to the business is also a good pointer to the character of the borrower.

Ultimately, by assessing your character, banks want to know that if things go wrong, you will be there to ensure that the company honors its commitments to the bank.

Even if you do well in the other C’s of credit, you will be refused a loan if the character test is failed.

Capacity

The Capacity of a borrower measures a borrower’s ability to repay a loan.

A bank needs to be certain that the borrower will be able to generate enough cash-flow from his business to service the interest and principal on the loan.

If you are a business owner, you will need to show the bank in your presentation a historical and projected cash flow of your business and compare it to the company’s projected debt service requirements.

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Commonly used metrics used by banks to measure the capacity of a borrower depending on the type of loan include; working cash flow ratio and Debt to Income ratio.

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If you are a salary earner, the bank will look at how long you have been at your job and how stable your job is.

Capital

The amount of capital a prospective business owner puts in a business shows how much equity you have in that business.

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A bank will believe that if you have none or a small percentage of your money invested in the business you are seeking funds for, it will be easier for you to walk away from servicing your debt if things go bad for your business.

There is no precise measure or amount of enough capital, but it is specific to the situation and the owners’ financial profile. The bank will look at the borrowers’ investment in the business relative to his net-worth to ascertain the level of seriousness of the borrower.

Collateral

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned and the business may fold up. The bank will therefore need a secondary source of repayment. This is where “Collateral” comes in.

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If the company is unable to generate sufficient cash flow to repay the loan in the future, the bank will fall back on the collateral provided by the borrower. In most cases, the bank will want the collateral value to exceed the loan value.

Some of the asset classes that banks are interested in as a form of collateral include; Real estate, Equipment, Accounts receivable and inventory.

 Conditions

Conditions refer to the overall environment the bank is operating in. The bank will assess the conditions affecting the company, its industry and the macro-economy as a whole.

Some of the issues the bank will look at to gauge the business will include; Competitive landscape of the business, nature of customer relationships, supply risks and macroeconomic factors

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Personal Finance

5C’s of creditworthiness: What lenders, Investors look for in a business plan

Business owners need to be aware of the criteria lenders and investors use when evaluating the creditworthiness of entrepreneurs seeking financing.

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Five things to consider before securing a loan

Banks usually are not a new venture’s sole source of capital because a bank’s return is limited by the interest rate it negotiates, but its risk could be the entire amount of the loan if the new business fails. Once a business is operational and has an established financial track record, banks become a regular source of financing.

For this reason, the small business owner needs to be aware of the criteria lenders and investors use when evaluating the creditworthiness of entrepreneurs seeking financing.

Will the business that an entrepreneur actually creates look exactly like the company described in the business plan? Of course, not.

The real value in preparing a business plan is not so much in the finished document itself but in the process it goes through – a process in which the entrepreneur learns how to compete successfully in the marketplace. In addition, a solid plan is essential to raising the capital needed to start a business; lenders and investors demand it.

Lenders and investors refer to these criteria as the five C’s of credit.

READ: 5 ways to raise funding for your business

1. Capital: A small business must have a stable income base before any lender is willing to grant a loan. Otherwise, the lender would not be making, in effect, a capital investment in the business. Most banks refuse to make loans that are capital investment because the potential for return on the investment is limited strictly on the interest on the loan, and the potential loss would probably exceed the reward. In addition, the most common reasons that banks give for rejecting small business loan applications are undercapitalization or too much debt. Banks expect a small company to have an equity base investment by the owner(s) that will help support the venture during times of financial strain, which are common during the start-up and growth phases of a business. Lenders and investors see capital as a risk-sharing strategy with entrepreneurs.

2. Capacity: A synonym for capital is cash flow. Lenders and investors must be convinced of the firm’s ability to meet its regular financial obligation and to repay loans, and that takes cash. More small businesses fail from lack of cash than from lack of profit. It is possible for a company to be showing a profit and still have no cash – that is, to be bankrupt. Lenders expect small businesses to pass the test of liquidity, especially for short term loans. Potential lenders and investors examine closely a small company’s cash flow position to decide whether it has the capacity necessary to survive until it can sustain itself.

READ: How to scale as a small business on a budget

3. Collateral: Collateral includes any asset an entrepreneur pledges to a lender as security for repayment of a loan. If the company defaults on a loan, the lender has the right to sell the collateral and use the proceeds to satisfy the loan. Typically, banks make much unsecured loans (those not backed up by collateral) to business start-ups. Bankers view the entrepreneurs’ willingness to pledge collateral (personal or business assets) as an indication of their dedication to making the venture a success. A sound business plan can improve a banker’s attitude towards venture.

4. Character: Before extending a loan or making an investment in a small business, lenders and investors must be satisfied with an entrepreneur’s character. The evaluation of character frequently is based on intangible factors such as honesty, integrity, competence, polish, determination, intelligence, and ability. Although the qualities judged are abstract, this evaluation plays a critical role in the decision to put money into a business or not.

READ: 7 Ways to pay for your higher education

5. Conditions: The conditions surrounding a funding request also affects an entrepreneur’s chances of receiving financing. Lenders and investors consider factors relating to a business’ operation such as potential growth in the market, competition, location, strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Another important condition influencing the banks is the shape of the overall economy, including interest rate levels, inflation rate, and demand for money. Although these factors are beyond an entrepreneur’s control, they still are an important component in a banker’s decision.

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The higher a smaller business scores on the five C’s, the greater its chances of receiving a loan.

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Written by Chukwuma Aguwa

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Personal Finance

Don’t be fooled by COVID-related scams

Always consult the institution in charge of health-related matters to confirm any fishy information you come across.

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The nature of and the manifestation of the Covid-19 disease is such that there’s only a little time available to remedy the situation before it gets chronic. Although the infection begins by exhibiting mild symptoms, if you do nothing in a short time, it could lead to death in a matter of days.

This whole picture has caused many to become desperate about Covid-related issues, launching into panic mode at the sight of any information. As a result, such people are not far away from falling for fraudsters.

With the different kinds of news flying around, you mustn’t be fooled by Covid-related scams.

The Coronavirus threatens the health of millions of people around the world daily, also killing thousands along the way. To curb the spread and remedy the situation, bodies like the CDC, WHO, and every country’s local health organisation like the NCDC, frequently circulate information around communities. However, it has also led to fraudsters taking advantage to provide fake news, and even asking for donations.

Each day, there seems to be a new account or NGO asking for donations into the health sector, and though some are legit, many are just fraudsters posing to take advantage of innocent citizens. So far, numerous complaints about scams have been recorded, especially with people who are looking to support the health cause in any way they can.

READ: Africa to spend $9 billion on Covid-19 vaccine, access to supply is big problem

Channels used for COVID-related scams 

There are three major ways scammers take advantage of the haziness of the situation to dupe people. To start with, they appeal to the emotions of humans, who see the high death toll and suffering. As a result of what is happening, people have been willing to donate funds for medical supplies, isolation centres, and financial compensation for medical workers.

Scammers take advantage of this by posing as charity organisations and solicit for funds. Most times, as soon as their target is met, they clear their footprint without leaving a trace behind.

Another way they scam people is by manufacturing and selling fake or low-quality health products. Everyone wants to get their hands on a cure, or something that can at least protect them from the virus, and scammers are meeting their needs by providing just that.

READ: China joins WHO vaccine programme as it fills huge gap left by United States

The World Health Organization currently approves only one vaccine, and any other thing outside it is outrightly fake or just a supplement that will help your body. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is clinically tested and approved to work. Be sure to not throw your money in the wind by purchasing some of these fake drugs around.

Lastly, scammers create systems to extract a patient’s personal information, thereby having access to the person’s true identity. It could be in the simple form of opening a registration portal where you supply all your details.

Therefore, only give information to approved bodies and not any random online site that appears legit. These fraudulent individuals can do a lot of damage to your identity. Stay vigilant, only communicate with approved bodies, and always ask questions if you are not sure or suspect foul play.

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The place of electronics in COVID-related scams

These fraudsters usually reach out to you through the digital sphere. Hence, watch out for cold calls, text messages, or emails requesting donations to certain bodies. The best way to confirm the legitimacy of such a message is to visit the organisation’s official website in a different browser. Never follow the link in the mail or text directly, as it can be easily embedded with spyware. Therefore, a single click could see them extract all your personal information, including bank details.

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Also, please stay away from those who claim to have a cure, and accompany it with testimonies of people who have used it. They are low graders desperate for your money. Vet them by searching online and see what people are saying. In all, always look out for suspicious messages, and opt out if you are sceptical.

In a nutshell, you should not believe any cure, vaccine or supplement that the World Health Organization does not approve of.

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Conclusion

The government or legit health institutions do not cold call citizens to request donations or coerce them into making one. If you receive a call out of the blues, chances are it’s a scam, which is why they mostly try to hurry you to donate before you realise it. Always consult the institution in charge of health-related matters to confirm any fishy information you come across.

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