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While the original thought for “business loans without banks” could be explained as “this is something that most commercial borrowers should take a look at”, the updated advice is “all business owners will need to do this sooner or later”. There are a number of earlier reports with strong suggestions to pursue business finance services that do not involve a traditional bank starting about five years ago. There are now new critical factors that have entered the scene, and the old reasons for this business financing perspective are still valid as well.

Wanting to find commercial loans without involving banks must certainly be an outgrowth of how unpopular banks have become in the current distressed economy. Thomas Jefferson is credited as the source of an early observation that seems to be more relevant than ever today (“Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies”), especially when viewed in combination with reeling economic conditions. In the contemporary setting, banks have undergone many structural changes that have nurtured a desire to leave bank relationships on hold.

Because of specific legal restrictions, banks cannot file for bankruptcy in the way that General Motors did but banks have still changed just as dramatically as if they had. Except in paid advertising, it has become even more rare for either businesses or individuals to speak positively about their bank, but many of us still have warm feelings about earlier banking days. The stories about giving toasters away have unfortunately been replaced by foreclosure and credit card abuses.

Inadequate external controls do seem to be a problem when banks are allowed to mismanage financial derivatives, and this has turned out to be an ideal illustration of banking in its darkest hour. While it is apparent that many politicians and bankers feel that the public does not deserve to ever know the real truth, more experts have come forward to talk about what a close call it really was (and most of these individuals also emphasize that we are not out of the woods yet). Perhaps Thomas Jefferson really did know what he was talking about when he observed how dangerous banks can be.

While there are more examples than we have room to talk about in a short article such as this, small business owners usually have two major reasons to avoid banks for their business loans. One is looking backward at how banks have performed and deciding that they deserve better. As one example, most commercial borrowers are aware that bailouts funded by taxpayers have not resulted in a normal level of small business financing.

With the second reason, just as nobody will knowingly go on a cruise ship if they are told by someone they trust that it is likely to sink, the increasing number of bank failures should serve as a cautionary signal to commercial borrowers. This concern is compounded when small business owners realize that very few of the still operational banks are consistently providing small business loans. If their bank is not up to the fairly normal task of offering business financing to them when they need it, a prudent borrower must be prepared to take their business elsewhere.

A clever approach to marketing the concept of business loans without banks is generally built upon a variation of the good cop and bad cop by merely comparing a “good” lender to the “bad” banks. To ensure that the main point (avoiding banks) is not overlooked, some lenders are using business financing slogans like “Think outside the bank”. Whether or not the advertising approach is convincing to small business owners, the ability to obtain commercial loans without bank involvement can help small businesses to prosper both with and without banks.

Stephen Bush is an experienced business bank consultant and has written extensively about how to find practical solutions for small business financing problems. To learn more about his current recommendations for commercial loans,commercial borrowers should contact Steve at AEX Commercial Financing Group to receive a straightforward review of realistic working capital and commercial finance options.

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