It’s Time to Check That ISO Agreement and Balance the Broker/Funder Relationship
The fine print of ISO Agreements, long a thorn in the side of brokers when it’s worked against them, is an area that is ripe for change. All too often the price of a referral relationship is a take-it-or-leave-it contract that is not up for negotiation. So says Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source and Co-Chairman of the Broker Division at the SBFA. He told deBanked that he’s gotten major pushback from some funders for redlining deals prior to inking them.
Aware that he is not alone in dealing with this, Weitz is looking to push out uniform agreements to the industry that would align both sides, creating a fair arrangement and providing for mutual indemnifications.
“I want to explain the importance of it on a broker’s side because I think that what is happening is that there are funders who solicit business [by saying] that they are broker and customer-centric, us being the customer, and [then] we get handed an agreement that literally signs [our] business away,” said Weitz.
“If you don’t know any better, you’re totally screwed.”
Weitz spoke in detail about how the concept of redlining an agreement is a part of doing business with large financial institutions, but when it comes to funders, it’s an entirely different situation.
“In most industries, it’s such a normal thing to redline an agreement. We were [working] with AMEX, a huge company, and it was understood like ‘hey, shoot this over to your lawyer, let us know,’ it was already understood that we were going to redline it. In [small business lending] if you want to redline something, it’s almost like the funder gets offended.”
When it comes to mutual indemnification, Weitz talked about how this is the biggest issue in these types of deals, especially as new laws are creeping into certain states that are going to change the way many funders do business. In response to some of these new laws, funders are not only trying to put all of the legal responsibility on the brokers, but forcing them to give up their book of business in order to get deals done.
“Now that there are new laws popping up in different states and being enforced differently, funders have come out with new agreements, and look, that’s okay to do right, any broker worth their salt is going to say ‘hey, we agree to not lie and mislead, we agree to follow the TCPA laws, to follow the CAN-SPAM email laws,’ that stuff is easy. What is with these agreements is that you have funders that say to a broker in the [contract], we want the right to come and fully audit your books.”
After the implementation of his own mutual agreement, Weitz claims that a quarter of the funders he worked with prior to his agreement no longer want to do business with him.
“There is a large 25 percent, and were talking about big name funders that I have stopped working with over the last twelve to eighteen months because they have literally tried to hit me with the most onerous agreement you could ever see, and when I spoke to them about it, they said ‘you know what Jared, most people just sign this and send it back.’ And that made me afraid for the broker industry.”
Although a positive relationship with a funder is imperative to being a successful broker, Weitz believes that some type of mutual agreement will protect people like him from being taken advantage of when things don’t go as planned for the funder.
“The guy that doesn’t let you redline his agreement, you should run away from that guy, because I have been in that scenario, where I’ve hugged, I’ve eaten at a man’s house with his family, and I’ve had that same man when things are down do what he has to do.”
Weitz talked about how the relationship with a funder can start a business relationship, but stressed that a fair agreement keeps it going. “Everyone’s friends when they’re making an agreement. Everyone’s [all] smiles, everyone is handshakes and hugs, but when things are bad in the world, and those smiles turn into straight faces, people look to that agreement, and say ‘okay what can I do?’”
When asked about losing deals to brokers who are willing to sign their lives away to get a deal done, Weitz said that those types of brokers are the ones that even if they do make a quick deal, they will never survive long enough to make a legitimate impact on the industry.
“I think funders will say ‘listen, you sign this agreement we will give you XYZ,’ and let me tell you, that’s the funder that is going to take your lunch from you, and that’s real,” said Weitz.
“The guy that offers you everything to just sign without a redline, is the guy that will crush your business, mark my words.”Last modified: November 8, 2021
Adam Zaki was a Reporter at deBanked.