How Online Banking is Changing the Industry

by Crestmark 22. May 2014 05:16

Back in the day, people walked into their banks and stood in long lines to deposit checks or make withdrawals. With the birth of automated tellers, direct deposit and online banking, consumers have slowly withdrawn from face-to-face visits. Online banking is changing the industry and the role of bank branches has changed with it.

      

While online mobile connections make simple transactions more accessible and efficient, there is still a need for the local bank branch. A recent survey from Bankrate.com reveals that 30 percent of Americans haven't visited a bank branch within the past six months. When they do go, the purpose of their visits is no longer to make a simple deposit or withdrawal – they want consultation and personalized attention.

Impact of Age

The Bankrate.com survey also found that the age of the consumer has an impact on how they do their banking. For example, 52 percent of banking customers age 50 and older have visited a bank branch within the past 30 days. Only 42 percent of consumers age 30 and younger have made their way to a bank branch in the last 30 days.

Older Americans are traditionally slower to adopt new technology, such as online and mobile banking, but as time passes, they have learned to embrace it. According to a study by Digital Insight, 36 percent of seniors and 60 percent of Baby Boomers were actively using digital banking in 2011, as compared to 40 percent and 64 percent respectively in 2013. That number is predicted to increase to 55 percent of seniors and 70 percent of Baby Boomers by 2016.

Impact of Technology

Fewer customers visit bank branches to handle routine transactions that can now be done on their mobile devices and desktop computers. As a result, the size and layout of bank branch locations is beginning to change. They're smaller, and the teller line is no longer the central focus. The emergence of automated kiosks for express services and financial loan officers with tablets who can cater to customers anywhere in the room is a direct impact of technology.

While mobile and web technology are expected to continue eclipsing brick-and-mortar branches in the future, don't count out the branches completely just yet. People may have taken day-to-day transactions into their own hands, but consultation for financing and resolution of account problems have come to the forefront of face-to-face banking needs, and the value of real human interaction there isn’t likely to diminish anytime soon.

 

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Top 5 Mobile Apps for Entrepreneurs

by Crestmark 29. July 2013 03:56

As an entrepreneur, staying organized while on the go will help keep your business—and even your day—running smoothly. And while the ability to keep constantly connected to your work with a smartphone or tablet can sometimes be overwhelming, a number of business-minded apps have been developed over the past few years to make your life a little easier.

1. Evernote: With a motto like “Remember everything,” this is going to be a top-pick for any busy entrepreneur. Evernote makes it easy to keep notes, files, and even clippings of entire webpages in one place which can then be accessed by both mobile devices and the Web. Potentially one of the best examples of this is using it for travel since you can keep all itineraries, confirmations, scanned travel documents, maps, and plans in Evernote, ready for when you need them.

2. Pocket: How would you like to have a virtual cloud that can store anything from articles to videos, straight from your browser or apps? That’s exactly what you can do with Pocket. Formerly called “Read it Later,” Pocket can save just about anything for you to read when you’re ready.

3. Square: A card reader, simple pricing, and smarter business tools make it easy for businesses of any size to do what they love and get paid fast and easily. Use the free secure card reader sent to you to swipe cards on-the-go from anywhere. The Square Register app is free and easy to setup – just link your bank account and you’re able to accept payments almost instantly. You have the option to pay a flat monthly fee of $275.00 or a 2.75% fee per swipe. You will see your payment quickly and directly deposited within 1-2 business days.

4. Mint: This one is valuable for business and personal use. Named Best Finance App by the 1st Annual App Awards and TIME Magazine's 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2011, Mint enables you to track finances in real-time. You can enter transactions manually or sync your accounts automatically to track investments, sort transactions by category, set budgets, and create alerts.

5. FreshBooks: Speaking of finances, this cloud accounting app makes tracking time, logging expenses, and invoicing clients portable and painless. It also boasts team timesheets for projects involving more than one person’s billable time, multiple datacenters to back up secure data, and online payments so you can accept payments and put that money to work faster.

 

As an entrepreneur or business owner, what apps make your life easier? 

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Documents You Need To Apply for a Small Business Loan

by Crestmark 19. September 2012 05:22

 

When you apply for a small business loan, you'll be required to provide several items regarding your company and its financial situation. While it may seem difficult to get this various paperwork together, it’s good for both parties that this documentation is required: it helps ensure that the final loan you're offered is what's best for you, something that you can afford and that really fits your needs. While the exact documents needed may vary between loan types, everything on this list is virtually guaranteed to be useful during the application process.

Business Plan

In order to be granted small business capital through the SBA, you'll need to show evidence of a solid business plan to show future steps and goals. In many cases, the required information could go well beyond the business plan. Additionally, you'll need to show personal information to identify yourself, and sometimes include a resume that shows your leadership and management experience.

Credit Reports & Tax Returns

Expect the prospective lender to pull your individual credit report and the credit report for your business, if you have already started it. Before you apply, it's smart to pull your own report(s) and check them for inaccuracies. It's not uncommon for the reports to have an error or two, , and even a slight problem could have a big impact when you are applying for credit or a loan. By the same token, most lenders will want to see three years of personal and business tax returns (if you have them).

Financial Statements

You will likely need to show your personal and business financial statements to the lender. This helps them determine your small business capital needs and how much debt you can realistically afford to carry. Expect to present both financial statements of your own and documents from your current bank.

Agreements, Leases, and Licenses

If you've had to fill out any kind of official form or agreement, you'll likely need to present it as part of the loan. This applies to articles of incorporation, any kind of local business licenses or accreditations required in your area, franchise agreements, and lease arrangements. And in some cases, you may be asked to provide information on who your customers are.

This is not an exhaustive list covering every potential situation for every lender. You should always check and ask them what, specifically, they'll want to see so that you can be prepared. But if you're just starting the process and want to have some idea of what they're looking for, this list is a good starting point. 

 

What Is Recapitalization Financing?

by Crestmark 12. September 2012 06:15

There are many different ways to fund a business. Starting out, you'll have the option to lean heavily on venture capital or similar investment vehicles, but you may also choose to finance through more traditional loans, or potentially even to self-finance. But as your business develops, you may discover that your initial financing method isn't the one that best suits your current needs. In this kind of situation, it'll be time to look at recapitalization financing.

The Funds You Need To Restructure

Recapitalization financing is, at its heart, a way of re-organizing the way the finances of your company are structured. This can mean consolidation, but it often means adapting payment structures to better fit your current method of production. For example, it could mean switching from a more debt-oriented structure to a line-of-credit oriented one.

Changing Your Business Capital

At Crestmark, we often help our clients transfer to lines of credit as their main source of business capital. We offer four main types of line of credit. The first is an asset-based line of credit, which is secured by inventory and/or receivables. Accounts receivable financing is another common choice. This kind of line of credit is secured purely by invoices with every invoice being considered individually. Finally, the last two common options are both types of invoice factoring. Factoring offers flexible financing that functions very similarly to a line of credit but is not technically considered one. Under an invoice factoring agreement Crestmark structures your funding facility based on accounts receivable/invoices. The invoices are purchased at a discount to provide immediate availability of funds to your company

If you're interested in learning how Crestmark can assist you with recapitalization, don't hesitate to contact us. We're always looking to help business owners looking for financial solutions. 

Staying Afloat When Big Clients Delay Payment

by Crestmark 25. July 2012 10:49

As the economy has continued to adjust, companies are seeking ways to save money. One method they've chosen involves delaying payments to their (often smaller) suppliers for as long as they can. Sometimes it’s by asking for extended dating. Other times it’s by involuntarily stretching their payments. This delay of payment can create major problems for these smaller companies because they rely on payment to finance their upcoming work. If this situation describes your company, you need short term working capital to keep your business on track.

When this happens, the majority of your capital is essentially in limbo. You've already provided the goods or services to your client, but they're delaying payment – sometimes for months. This puts you in a tough position. Big banks aren't likely to want to get involved in loans as small as what you need, and term loans aren't the best solution for this type of situation anyway. What you need is a mechanism to smooth out the peaks and valleys of your cash needs. What you want is a line of credit, but one that's based on your outstanding unpaid invoices to your clients.

Invoice factoring is the solution for this exact situation. Invoice factoring allows your company to borrow against your clients' unpaid invoices. It provides immediate access to the money you're going to receive in the future. Because of the nature of this borrowing, it also means that you don't have to be worried about your credit. This short term working capital is secured against your client's credit rather than your own, which takes a lot of the burden off of you.

In this market, small business owners and suppliers are feeling the squeeze. Crestmark can help you get the funding you need by facilitating borrowing against your future receipts, essentially negating the payment gap and providing those funds long before your client pays. 

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