We Like to Make Loans, says Bank of America
Barry Moltz in American Express Open Forum talked to Robb Hilson, executive with Bank of America, on the current state and relationship of big banks and small businesses. The Owners Report, a survey conducted by Bank of America, revealed the optimistic outlook of business owners next year. The bank’s lending to small businesses rose 21% compared to the same period in 2011. 78% of those who applied for loans in the past two years got approved. Hilson said the keys to increase your chances for loan approval are “your cash flow, strategy, leadership, management, and resources. Additionally, a good business plan is of course essential, as is your ability to articulate your vision in that plan.”
Q: Let’s start with the state of small business today. Of course the economy and jobs are on everyone’s mind. How are things from your perspective?
A: We recently conducted an in-depth survey on this very subject (“TheOwners Report”) and the results were very encouraging. The survey looked at the responses of 1,000 owners with revenues between $100,000 and $5 million, and who had between two and 99 employees.
The survey found that 61% of theseowners expected their business to grow in the next year. In addition, loan approval rates are up, and our lending to is up 21% over this time last year, so that is a very good sign.
Q: One thing that seems to frustrate a lot of people is that access to credit seems more limited today. Is that accurate?
A: What we found in the survey is that 78% of those who applied for a loan within the last two years were approved. So the credit is definitely there.
Q: What can a small business owner do, then, to increase their chances of getting a ‘yes’ on their loan?
A: Not surprisingly, themust be able to demonstrate the ability to repay the loan. What is key is your cash flow, strategy, leadership, management, and resources. Additionally, a good business plan is of course essential, as is your ability to articulate your vision in that plan.
Q: There has been a lot said and written about big banks in the past few years. What do you think people should know about banks that maybe they don’t?
A: We try and make every good loan that we can. But note that I said “good loan.” We are committed to lending responsibly. Look, making loans is our job, and doing so helps everyone — we get more business, small businesses get the money they need, jobs are created, and it helps the communities we all live and work in. We like to make loans. …
Photo by ForeclosuresCarson