As any business owner knows, strong, trusting professional relationships are as important to a company’s growth and vitality as the business plan. That’s why choosing a financial partner is one of the most crucial decisions small and medium-sized businesses and their advisors face.
Anthony DiChiara, EVP, Head of Sales for Gibraltar Business Capital, has a long history in the financial industry with experience at leading banks and financial institutions. During his time at Gibraltar, DiChiara has advised his clients and various intermediaries on what they should look for when shopping for an asset-based lender.
Find a Lender with Depth of Credit Experience
DiChiara recommends that business leaders look for a lender with a business development team that has a strong history with asset-based lending and credit overall. There’s a difference between a business development officer who knows the credit business, and a fast-talking salesperson. The business development officer you work with will be the champion of your deal. As such, they should be asking thoughtful and detailed questions about your business and its financing needs.
A strong background in asset-based lending is essential to knowing the right questions to ask to understand your credit needs. You want a lender that completely and intelligently grasps the complexities and nuances of your business. Be wary of the salesperson that “flips” a term sheet without asking foundational questions. A promising asset-based lender will take the time and effort to do a deep dive into understanding your industry and develop relationships with the executives at your company’s business.
“At Gibraltar, we hire business development professionals who have a strong credit background and are able to conduct a thorough level of diligence on the front end to really understand your business needs and provide recommendations for the best financing fit,” DiChiara says. “We get to know our customers on a professional and personal level and keep building that rapport long after the deal is done.”
Know Who’s Running the Show
Beyond the assurance that your asset-based lender fully understands your business, you will also want to have familiarity with the leadership of your asset-based lender’s organization. You need to know that you’re in good hands with an established and skillful group of individuals who support your business goals and who you have access to without effort.
Even early on in the lending process, you should have the opportunity to meet with the members of the team of people who will make decisions about your account. And, you shouldn’t have to ask: They should be eager to meet you and your team, and be excited to be part of the process. It is usually a red flag if these decision makers are unwilling to meet with you. After all, if they are unwilling to meet you when times are good, what will their reaction be when a challenge is presented?
Having access to decision makers beyond your day-to-day contact helps elevate the conversation regarding your cash flow needs and the approval process. Giving leadership the opportunity to put a face to a name will help drive any exceptions or modifications should a need for a revision in the lending relationship arise. You want to know that you are more than just a name to leadership at the organization.
At Gibraltar, everyone from CEO Scott Winicour, DiChiara, and Chief Credit Officer Mark Stoeberl, to your customer support partners, are in on the process from the earliest stages. They all talk and meet with borrowers and with each other as they shape a financial solution that works best for your company. They are readily accessible, open and honest, giving you a window into the process and the people behind your loan.
Find a Lending Partner Who Delivers
Due to the intensive credit committee review of your business that occurs when seeking an asset-based loan, it is vital that your lender has a track record of delivering on what is discussed. You need to be sure that when there’s a term sheet in front of you, there is a high likelihood it will close in a timely manner and that the final closing terms will be reasonably similar to those proposed.
“Gibraltar’s team is not going to put itself out there if it cannot devise and deliver a term sheet that you can feel good about receiving, accepting and knowing that it will move forward,” DiChiara says. “We are as sensitive to the certainty of implementing solutions as you are. That is why we invest considerable time doing due diligence for every opportunity and gain the support of our entire credit committee before issuing a term sheet.”
Business relationships are not unlike other relationships: They’re built on honesty and open communication that lead to trust, understanding, and support. You can bank on that with Gibraltar.