Online Small Business Borrowing Decisions Not Driven By Costs or Disclosures, Fed Study Finds
A new study on transparency conducted by the Federal Reserve on non-bank small business finance providers indicates that borrowers are not driven by costs or disclosures. The #1 reason for a business to apply with an online lender was the speed of the process, the study showed. #2 was the likelihood of being funded. Cost ranked near the bottom of the list.
While a focus group pointed out many areas that are ripe for improvement, the Fed was left to conclude that “clearer information—in the form of standardized disclosures—will not necessarily alter the decisions of some small business borrowers about whether and where to obtain financing.”
The Fed further commented that some loan applicants revealed that they had already “committed the expected loan proceeds” before a lender could even present rates and terms. Others borrowers wished they could know their approved rate and terms before even providing a lender with any data. These findings seem to undermine the potential value of enhanced uniformity in disclosures.
The report, which attempts to paint a bleak picture of online lending in spite of the data, seems to validate what online lenders have been saying all along, that speed is supreme. Even where transparency is lacking, it cannot be overstated that big banks scored lower on transparency than online lenders did.
Uncertain Terms: What Small Business Borrowers Find When Browsing Online Lender Websites evaluated BFS Capital, CAN Capital, Credibly, Fundation, Funding Circle, Kabbage, Lending Club, National Funding, OnDeck, Rapid Finance, PayPal Working Capital, and Square Capital.Last modified: December 23, 2019