In an interview with Morgan Johns, Benetrends' Director of SBA and Bank Financing, we learn more about the department, the team's commitment to the clients and their business success, and the future for SBA lending.
As one of the nation’s leading SBA loan specialists, Benetrends helps business owners navigate the SBA loan process with decades of expertise and connects them with a network of lenders ready and willing to work with small business owners.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers an array of loan products designed to give new or existing small businesses a boost. The loan programs can be used for a variety of needs, from business purchases to equipment to expansion. Because the SBA guarantees a portion of the loaned amount, the program is low risk for lenders, but navigating the application process can be tricky.
Supporting Businesses with Funding Strategies and Support
When Johns arrived in January 2018, he spent time observing the current team and reviewing processes. What he found were inefficiencies and the full strengths and capacity of the team weren’t being leveraged. Although they had a successful track record finding funding for clients the number of qualified prospects was static. His first task was the development of proper tools and support, not only to provide better service to the existing base, but the ability to handle a larger number of prospects.
In order to provide more support and guidance, “about 50% of our processes have been automated, allowing our SBA consultants to focus more time one-on-one with clients and addressing their financing needs”, says Johns. Additionally, Benetrends’ SBA loan team has explored and developed strong relationships with a national network of lenders.
Johns is proud of the commitment to clients that permeates the Benetrends culture. The team listens to and understands client needs, and because of an increase in their lender network, client applications are put in front of multiple banks, often resulting in more favorable interest rates and terms and a higher loan approval success rate. Johns says:
“Benetrends does not take a one-size-fits-all approach to our clients. We carefully prequalify each client based on our decades of experience in SBA lending and then match the project with a bank that is looking for that particular type of project.”
With the new processes in place, the team is on pace to double production in over a year, with the same staff levels. Johns says, “This is a real testament to the SBA team as they have leveraged their strengths, working together to better serve our clients and close more business.”
Specialists Deliver Support and Knowledge
Benetrends takes a different approach than other SBA loan specialists.
Each client is paired with two SBA specialists. Funding Specialists have backgrounds working in SBA lending. Operations Specialists understand the operational side of SBA loans and the banks that provide them.
Working in tandem, these specialists share their expertise in banking and small business lending to help clients position themselves best for lenders.
The impact? Over the course of more than 35 years in business, Benetrends has a 97 percent loan approval success rate. It is hard to argue with that kind of success.
Working with Benetrends has other advantages, too.
- There is no charge for a qualification screening.
- Benetrends will process and send the loan application.
- There is a 100 percent money-back guarantee (restrictions apply).
- A prospect will have fast responses and service, including:
- Feedback on applications within 24 hours
- Approval within 7-10 business days after a bank is selected
- Closing within 45 days of approval
Automation tools help Benetrends identify which banks are a good match based on factors including credit scores, cash injection, post-closing liquidity, personal debt levels, available collateral, and secondary income, according to Johns.
Opportunities Continue to Grow
The SBA department has not only increased production but has branched out to other financing channels to provide better access to capital for franchise resales, multi-unit projects., non-SBA conventional projects, leasing and more. “We don’t just do franchise start-ups,” says Johns.
And the changes don’t stop there. According to Johns,
“By the end of 2019 our processes will be fully automated with tools like online prequalification submission, quicker prequalification decisions (in some cases within minutes), sharing real time status reports for clients and referral resources, to name a few.”
The growth of the department will likely include new members to the team. Johns believes that the “combination of continual process improvement and additional experienced SBA team members” will result in business growth with an even higher level of service for clients.
Benetrends offers business lending and support services at every stage of your company’s journey. To learn more, schedule a consultation with our SBA specialists.