Archive for the ‘Banking’ Category

An Easy Way to Deposit Checks

Friday, September 24th, 2010

If you own a small business and have a just a few checks to deposit, here is a time saving idea.

Chase, the mega bank, now offers an IPhone app that allows you to take a picture of the front and back of the check, and send off to your bank via the web.

No more wasting time in a car driving to the bank and filling out a deposit slip.

Plans are to make it available to Blackberry and Android.

The only problem is that my bank doesn’t offer this service. I let them know about it.

John Marklin

Bank Alternatives-Part 2

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Yesterday I spoke of looking at ways to borrow money from people who actually wanted to lend to you when you needed it. Here are a few unconventional ways to go about borrowing money, when you need it.

Whole Foods Local Producer Loan Program

This program targets lending money to small businesses who make products that eventually could be sold in a local Whole Foods store. Loans of $1000 to $100,000 can be obtained for those vendors/suppliers located within a couple of hours from a store, and who provide fresh, organic products similar to the kind standards Whole Foods requires of all of their products.

They have lent money to organic vegetable farmers, a heritage turkey grower, a nutritional protein bar maker, a maker of body care products, and many others.

Sam’s Club loan program for small businesses

Many of Sam’s Club members own small businesses. Sam’s Club is trying to connect with some of these owners in an unusual way and Sam’s Club will begin offering loans of up to $25,000 to members in an effort to set itself apart from other warehouse chains and build goodwill to bring in more business.

Holding a note

Whether it is real estate, a used car or an expensive piece of furniture, have you asked the seller whether he would be open to being repaid over a period of time? This is commonly referred to as the seller “holding a note” from you. You would be surprised how often this happens and how willing sellers  would be to do this. Especially if the seller does not owe any money on the asset being sold, his willingness to “hold a note” from you could be an attractive way to sell assets given the recent depressed times. It never hurts to ask.

Leasing programs

I recently took advantage of a special lease deal from Toyota. $200 per month, for 36 months for a new Corolla. This special deal came with extras I never dreamed possible (throw ins at the time of signing) and the lending and approval process was surprisingly very easy. The timing of the transaction (when Toyota needed to get customers in the door due to recent negative publicity for faulty gas pedals) worked in my favor for this seemingly easy transaction.

These are just a few of the alternatives to banks when needing a loan. Check around and ask questions of your friends and family members as to other ways to borrow money.

John Marklin

Borrowing Alternatives-Part 1

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

This recession has been especially tough on new and small businesses. Not only has unemployment risen to historic levels, but borrowing money has all but dried up, so it seems.

Historically, the usual way to borrow funds was from your local bank. Outside of using banks for your checking account, the most sought after service of banks was borrowing money. That was the main reason they were in business. They accumulated funds from checking accounts, and lent it out to businesses for a variety of reasons.

Banks want to only lend money to good credit worthy customers. The recent financial meltdown has led to many banks losing millions on loans that could not be repaid. As a result, getting loans from banks has just gotten much more difficult. More forms to fill out, more background credit checks, more collateral needed, more time to underwrite, more of everything.

It seems like when you need a bank, they don’t need you. They are very cautious to lend for fear of an uncollectible loan. But when you do have cash, and pay off your loans, and have a good credit rating, well you don’t need banks. But that is when they want your business. They will call you, send you credit cards with $10,000 limits and plead with you to borrow from them.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have alternative sources of borrowings? To borrow money when you need it, from someone willing to lend to you?

Tomorrow I will share a few alternatives to banking for getting loans.

John Marklin

No more Free Checking

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Congress will undoubtedly pass a bill for a massive overhaul of our financial system. The main thrust of the bill is to put in controls to thwart another economic downturn like we had a couple of years ago.

One of the components of the bill is to put limits on the amount of fees banks can charge consumers for things like overdrafts and excessive interest rates on credit cards for late payments. While at first this may seem like a big win for the consumer, a huge change like this almost always affects something else in a different way.

Banks will lose billions by these new restrictions on fees and high interest rates. They cannot shed overhead fast enough to make up for the looming lost revenue. What is one option the banks will use to replace this lost revenue? No more free checking.

Before we all gasp at this and say this is a travesty, let’s think about it. What is one of the few reasons we use banks? Checking. Does it really make sense for banks to not charge anything for one of the most used services they provide? Of course not. Think of the infrastructure that a bank has committed to tellers, branches, ATM’s, online banking, etc. It makes much more sense to charge for these services than it does to raise interest rates threefold for a late payment.

Banks are smart though. They have appealed to the consumer in the past with one of the few marketing angles that seemed to get new business-free checking. This was the lure they had to provide in order to get more customers in the door, and then reap more revenues from fees later on.

Expect the banks to wait for one of the big boys to go first by eliminating free checking. Kind of like the airlines waiting for one to raise rates, take the PR hit in the news media, and then jump on the bandwagon with all the others.

This is an example of realizing that nothing in business is ever static and non-changing. When this does happen, I will give you some advice on what to look for in reasonable fees on checking accounts.

John Marklin