Here are four tips Curtis offered for getting a business loan when you have a poor credit rating.
1. Be transparent—If you have poor credit, make no attempt to conceal this from your bank. On the contrary, explain your situation to your banker. “We won’t refuse you just because of a poor credit score,” Curtis says. “There might be a good reason. We always look at what’s behind the number.”
2. Be ready to pay more interest—The interest rate on your loan is based on the banker's assessment of the risk in lending to you. A premium will be charged when the risk is judged to be higher.
“If you have a bad credit rating, you can expect to pay a higher interest rate on the loan, even if your business has good prospects,” Curtis says.
3. Be patient—Credit scores are used by banks to quickly evaluate someone’s creditworthiness. Having a poor credit score slows down the lending process because your business’s financial documents will have to be examined more closely and the loan will likely need additional approvals.
“Credit scores speed up the lending process,” Curtis says. “As a lender you can get back to the client more efficiently. Instead of four to five weeks, we can do it in a couple of days. But a bad rating makes it harder and might slow down the process.”
4. Work to improve your credit score—You can take a number of steps to improve your credit. For example, Curtis advises entrepreneurs to avoid getting too many credit cards and using one credit card to pay debt on another. He also says it’s important to pay bills on time to build up your credit history.
You can find these steps and others in this article, with advice on improving your credit so you can get the loan you want down the road.
Most of all, Curtis says, it’s important to remember that credit scores are only one of the many tools used by banks when assessing a business loan application.
“Credit rating isn’t everything, it’s a model and it’s an indicator. While we don’t want to make too many loans at a lower threshold, we do make some to good clients when it makes sense.”
For more information, download your free copy of our eBook How to Get a Business Loan: A Guide to Preparing a Winning Loan Request.