In the present commercial lending environment, it can be more than a little difficult to get a loan request of almost any sort approved and funded within what most would consider a reasonable amount of time.
Here as some of my observations into some of the current challenges debt lenders are having in the market.
First, the recent recessionary forces have eliminated a significant number of lenders from the market at large or from some of the country markets that multinational lenders service. The result has been more applications being directed at fewer lenders creating an instant back log.
Second, while economic growth would suggest we are climbing out of the recession, the capital markets are still trying to stabilize from all the fall out, causing debt lenders and equity investors on average to be more cautious in their approach to lending or investing new capital.
Third, many business owners and managers will make several applications for the same capital requirement to multiple lenders in order to try and get the best available deal. This also increases the application burden on the system, further contributing to the slowed down response time.
In an attempt to reduce the back log and get focused faster on deals that can actually be completed, more lenders have gone to requiring the borrower to pay a deposit after the initial deal assessment process is complete. For the most part, the deposit is used to cover third party costs incurred for assessing a deal such as appraisals, credit reports, etc. If the deal can’t be approved, the deposit is returned less third party costs incurred. If the deal can be approved and the applicant does not choose to take it, the deposit will likely be lost.
Outside of covering lender and investor costs of assessment, the deposit serves as a commitment to the borrower to continue with the business financing process and risk the deposit if they don’t take a commitment that follows the initial lending proposal provided.
There are pros and cons to this approach. From the lender side, the required deposit at a certain stage of the process gets rid of their back log as only those seriously interested in what the lender has to offer will proceed. On the other side of the coin, borrowers are concerned about the integrity of the deposit in that does it truly relate to third party costs required to complete the commitment process, or is it just an easy way for a lender or investor to grab fees without having any real intention or ability to issue loans for all the deposits received.
The answer to getting the overall system working better is likely some mix of the old and newer ways of doing things. But until there is a significant overall change, expect the time lines for acquiring capital to be considerable.