Since: February 2021
Registered sales-based financing provider in VA
|12/09/2022||ROK Financial announces new CEO|
|05/13/2021||Video: deBanked went to ROK Financial|
On The Scene At ROK Financial
Tony Cimino of ROK Financial
Sidebar Chat With James Webster - ROK Financial
Great River, NY: ROK Financial, a leader in the alternative and commercial lending space is excited to announce their newest partnership with BNB Bank’s Cannabis division. This new partnership allows for ROK Financial to offer direct checking and savings to Cannabis businesses through BNB Bank.
“This new partnership is truly filling a void within the Cannabis industry” says James Webster, CEO of ROK Financial “Federal regulations make it near to impossible for Cannabis related businesses to utilize traditional banking methods. We’re proud to partner with a financial institution that sees the value and need within the industry.”
BNB Bank, headquartered in Bridgehampton, NY has 39 locations from Manhattan to Montauk. BNB Bank provides the resources of a strong financial institution, exceptional customer service, and access to a suite of leading-edge money management tools. They are publicly traded on Nasdaq (BDGE) and have a 5-star rating (Bauer Financial). Peter Su, Vice President – Private Banking BNB says: “This new relationship with ROK Financial allows us to service a wider variety of clientele. We’re excited to work with ROK Financials existing Cannabis clients as well as attracting new relationships through this partnership.”
A large majority of traditional institutions tend to shy away to offering traditional banking to the industry as a whole due to the lack of regulations and financial risk they may face. Banks also risk losing their master account with the Federal Reserve due to the ‘risk’ of the industry. “BNB Bank has a board approved Cannabis Banking Policy that we strictly abide to, and have established a compliance monitoring program providing seed to sale regulatory support to ensure we all are in compliance” says Su “We are happy to help provide needed resources to these thriving businesses.”
About ROK Financial
ROK Financial’s team committed to establishing ROK solid relationships with our clients, lenders, and partners. By providing the best financing solutions available to business owners while creating a positive association with business financing. Through our streamlined process, revolutionary technology and educated team of experts, we support business owner’s ability to create new opportunities. ROK Financial is proud to empower the heartbeat of our country, our small businesses.
Over the past several months the state of the economy has been by no doubt uncertain. With unemployment hitting record highs and Coronavirus cases still on the rise, business owners all across the country have been faced with many difficult decisions regarding their livelihood.
Finding business financing options during these uncertain times can be challenging and risky to not only business owners, but the banks and lenders they choose to work with.
ROK Financial truly understands the uncertainty a business owner feels during these current times. Having derived themselves from a company split back in August, the team is helping other business owners just like them navigate these unchartered waters.
“We have been working tirelessly with our lenders and partners over the past several months discussing different ways we can continue to better service our clients.” Says CRO, Patrick Manning of ROK Financial “The relationships we have built over the years allows us to become quite versatile with our product offering, in turn allowing us to better serve our business owners. That is why we are extremely excited to announce our exclusive partnership with Doug Hood, SBA Loan Consultant LLC. This unique partnership opens up direct SBA access to clients for SBA products $350,000 and above.”
Doug Hood has been facilitating SBA Loans for more than 35 years, resulting in more than $20 million in SBA Loans distributed to business owners annually. Hood said he connected with ROK via LinkedIn, “I’m on Linkedin way more than I should be, we connected at 10 or 11 o’clock at night, and we hit it off.” Says Hood. Excited at the fact that ROK offers short term financing that Doug himself would now be able to leverage in addition to his SBA Loan offerings for his clients was a win-win.
Doug now sits as the official SBA Loan Consultant under the ROK Financial umbrella for deals $350,000 and above. This unique relationship provides greater opportunities for business owners from purchasing existing businesses, refinancing existing debt, starting a business and much more.
“The worlds of Fintech and SBA have collided for the greater good” says Manning, “streamlining and modernizing a once antiquated process, which eliminates the frustration that comes along with long-term lending.”
JULY 25, 2023, NORWALK, CT – North Mill Equipment Finance LLC (“NMEF”), a leading independent commercial equipment lender located in Norwalk, Connecticut, announced today that the following letter was sent yesterday to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of IOU Financial Inc. (“IOU”). NMEF’s proposed acquisition is at a 27% premium to the price per share agreed to by IOU and a group of inside shareholders representing 46.1% of the issued and outstanding shares of IOU announced on July 14, 2023. “We are offering to all IOU shareholders a far superior price to the value of the Company presented by the inside shareholders that was accepted by the Special Committee in a sweetheart deal for those insiders,” said David C. Lee, Chairman and CEO of NMEF. “Our offer is not subject to any financing contingency nor access to confidential information.”
NMEF originates and services small to mid-ticket equipment leases and loans, ranging from $15,000 to $2,000,000 in value. A broker-centric private lender, the company accepts A – C credit qualities and finances transactions for many asset categories including construction, transportation, vocational, medical, manufacturing, printing, franchise, renovation, janitorial and material handling equipment. NMEF is majority owned by an affiliate of InterVest Capital Partners. The company’s headquarters is in Norwalk, CT, with regional offices in Irvine, CA, Dover, NH, Voorhees NJ, and Murray, UT. For more information, visit www.nmef.com. One of NMEF’s controlled affiliates, BriteCap Financial LLC, is a leading non- bank lender providing small businesses with fast, convenient financing alternatives such as working capital loans since 2003 from offices in North Hollywood, CA and Las Vegas, NV. For more information, visit www.britecap.com.
IOU Financial originated $82.7M in funding in Q4 2022, according to the company’s latest financial report. That put them at $275.5M for the year total, a new all-time record for the company. IOU was profitable for the year but by a razor thin margin, eking out a net income of just $38,826.
In an official announcement, IOU disclosed that “During the fourth quarter of 2022 macro-economic factors including inflation and rising interest rates impacted the operating environments of many small businesses and negatively impacted IOU’s collections efforts and servicing revenues. This has led to a write down of specific servicing assets and reduced revenue accrual rates, resulting in a net loss of $(2.7) million on an IFRS basis and $(0.9) million on an adjusted earnings basis for the quarter ended December 31, 2022.”
IOU has already taken decisive action to adapt, the company stated, which has already led to a positive impact on collections but also resulted in sigifnicantly reduced originations in the first quarter of 2023.
“IOU Financial has weathered many storms and always emerged stronger than before,” said Robert Gloer, President and CEO of IOU. “We’ve pivoted to adjust to current macro-economic conditions and remain committed to investing in products and technology designed around the needs of small business owners and our broker network.”
Back in December I pasted copies of an exchange I had with an AI about brokering business loans. That was GPT-3. More recently I got access to GPT-4 and so I’ve asked it the same questions to see if the responses have changed. They have. They’re much longer, much more comprehensive, and for some reason laden with lists. Even though there’s a lot of text below, the advice it gives is pretty good.
Me: Imagine you’re a loan broker. you submit a customer’s application to a lender and the lender steals the application and brokers it to another lender, cutting you out of the deal. what do you do?
1. Gather evidence: Document all relevant communication and interactions with the lender, including any agreements, emails, or phone call records that show you were the original broker for the deal.
2. Confront the lender: Communicate your concerns with the lender and give them an opportunity to explain their actions. It’s possible that there has been a misunderstanding or miscommunication that can be resolved through discussion.
3. Review your contract: If you have a contract with the lender, review its terms to see if they have breached any clauses related to your involvement in the deal. This may provide you with leverage during negotiations.
4. Seek legal advice: Consult with an attorney specializing in business or contract law to explore your legal options. They can help you assess your case and recommend the best course of action, such as sending a cease and desist letter, seeking mediation, or filing a lawsuit.
5. Notify the customer: Inform the customer of the situation, and advise them of any potential impact on their application or relationship with the new lender. Maintaining transparency and trust with your customer is crucial.
6. Strengthen future agreements: To prevent similar incidents in the future, consider revising your agreements with lenders to include specific clauses that protect your interests, such as non-circumvention or non-disclosure provisions.
6. Reevaluate your partnerships: Assess your relationships with lenders and consider working with more reputable and trustworthy partners in the future. Building a reliable network of partners is essential for the success of your brokerage business.
Remember that every situation is unique, and the appropriate course of action may depend on the specific circumstances and relationships involved.
Me: Imagine that you are a lender and that you are a member of an online commercial finance broker forum. you are hoping to secure the business of all the brokers on there but the problem is that a lot of other lenders are trying to do the same thing. what would you do to stand out?
GPT-4: To stand out as a lender in a competitive online commercial finance broker forum, consider implementing the following strategies:
1. Build credibility and trust: Share your expertise and knowledge by actively participating in forum discussions, providing valuable insights, and answering questions. This will help establish you as a knowledgeable and reliable lender in the community.
2. Showcase your unique selling points: Emphasize the aspects that differentiate you from other lenders, such as competitive rates, flexible terms, a wide range of financing options, quick approval times, or exceptional customer service.
3. Share testimonials and case studies: Provide real-life examples of successful loan transactions and satisfied clients to demonstrate your track record and capabilities. Make sure to obtain permission from clients before sharing their information.
4. Offer exclusive deals or promotions: Incentivize brokers to work with you by providing special offers, such as discounted rates, cashback, or referral bonuses, exclusively for forum members.
5. Collaborate and network: Engage with brokers on a personal level by attending relevant events, workshops, or webinars organized by the forum. This can help build relationships and create opportunities for collaboration.
6. Provide educational resources: Share helpful articles, guides, or industry news that can assist brokers in their work. By providing valuable resources, you can position yourself as a thought leader in the industry.
7. Be responsive and accessible: Make it easy for brokers to reach you by providing multiple contact options, such as email, phone, and social media. Ensure that you respond promptly to inquiries and maintain open lines of communication.
8. Leverage social proof: If you have received any awards, recognitions, or positive media coverage, highlight these achievements to enhance your reputation and credibility.
9. Tailor your approach: Personalize your communication and offers to cater to the specific needs and preferences of each broker. Demonstrating that you understand their unique requirements can make you stand out from the competition.
10. Maintain a professional online presence: Ensure that your website, social media profiles, and forum interactions are polished and professional, reflecting your commitment to quality and excellence.
By combining these strategies, you can differentiate yourself from other lenders in the forum and increase your chances of securing the business of commercial finance brokers.
Me: Imagine you are a small business owner. a loan broker calls you 10 times per day to try and convince you to take a loan from him. eventually you do need a loan for your business. do you work with the loan brokers who keeps calling or you do start looking somewhere else?
As a small business owner, it’s crucial to work with a loan broker or lender that you feel comfortable with and trust. While the broker who called you 10 times per day may be persistent, it’s essential to consider whether their approach aligns with your expectations for communication and professionalism.
If you feel overwhelmed or annoyed by the broker’s repeated calls, it might be a good idea to explore other options. Here are some steps to help you find the right loan broker or lender for your needs:
1. Research multiple loan brokers and lenders: Look for reputable providers with positive reviews and a solid track record of helping small businesses secure financing.
2. Compare loan options: Evaluate different loan products and offerings from various lenders to find the most suitable option for your business needs.
3. Seek recommendations: Ask fellow business owners or your professional network for recommendations of loan brokers or lenders they have successfully worked with in the past.
4. Assess communication styles: Choose a loan broker or lender who communicates clearly, listens to your concerns, and is responsive to your questions. A good broker or lender should make you feel comfortable and well-informed throughout the loan process.
5. Evaluate professionalism and transparency: Look for a loan broker or lender who is upfront about fees, rates, and terms, and maintains a professional demeanor in their interactions with you.
6. Trust your instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts when deciding whether to work with a particular loan broker or lender. If you feel uncomfortable or pressured by a broker’s sales tactics, it’s best to explore other options.
Remember that securing a loan is an important decision for your business, and it’s crucial to work with a provider who respects your needs and preferences.
Me: Imagine you are a human loan broker competing for a customer. your competitor is an AI. How would you use your humanity to your advantage to win the customer?
As a human loan broker competing against an AI, you can leverage your humanity to win the customer by focusing on the following aspects:
1. Personal touch: Make an effort to understand your customer’s unique needs, preferences, and concerns. Build rapport and trust by sharing your own experiences and insights. People often prefer to work with someone they can relate to on a personal level.
2. Emotional intelligence: Show empathy and understanding when discussing sensitive financial topics. Unlike AI, humans can recognize and respond to emotions effectively, making customers feel heard and supported.
3. Customized solutions: Utilize your knowledge and experience to tailor loan options to the specific needs of your customer. While AI can generate recommendations based on algorithms, it may not have the same nuanced understanding of individual circumstances that a human broker has.
4. Adaptability: Be ready to adapt your approach and communication style to the customer’s preferences. AI systems may struggle to deviate from pre-programmed behaviors, whereas humans can be more flexible in their interactions.
5. Availability for in-person meetings: Offer face-to-face meetings if the customer prefers, as some people feel more comfortable discussing financial matters in person. An AI competitor may not be able to provide this option.
6. Local market knowledge: Leverage your understanding of the local market, industry trends, and regulations to provide context-specific advice that an AI might lack.
7. Networking and connections: Use your industry connections to secure better deals or loan terms for your customer, thanks to relationships that you have built with lenders over time.
8. Addressing complex scenarios: Humans can often handle complex situations more effectively than AI, especially when it comes to non-standard loan applications or unique financial circumstances.
9. Personal accountability: Reassure your customer that you will take responsibility for the loan process, and that you are committed to finding the best solution for their needs. AI systems, while efficient, can lack the same level of personal accountability.
10. Continued support: Offer ongoing assistance and support throughout the loan process and beyond, as customers may appreciate the availability of a human broker to help address any concerns or questions that arise.
By emphasizing these human qualities and offering a personalized, empathetic, and adaptable service, you can differentiate yourself from AI competitors and win the trust of your customers.
Me: Imagine you are a lender. A loan broker has sent you a loan application for a potential customer. you intend to decline the loan for the customer. Another lender, however, would probably approve the loan and you are presented with the opportunity of brokering that loan application to that lender and earning a nice commission for yourself. The only problem is that the original broker would be very mad. What do you do?
As a lender, it is important to maintain ethical business practices and respect the relationships between brokers and their clients. Bypassing the original broker and brokering the loan application to another lender for personal gain would be unprofessional and could damage your reputation and relationships within the industry.
Here are some steps you could take to handle the situation ethically and professionally:
1. Inform the broker: Notify the original broker that you cannot approve the loan application based on your lending criteria. Be transparent about your reasons for declining the loan, providing any necessary feedback or documentation.
2. Suggest alternatives: Instead of brokering the loan application to another lender yourself, inform the broker about the potential opportunity with the other lender. This maintains the broker’s role in the process and allows them to manage their client relationship.
3. Maintain professionalism: Uphold a high standard of professionalism in all your dealings. Being transparent, respectful, and ethical in your actions will help you establish a strong reputation within the industry.
4. Focus on your core business: As a lender, your primary responsibility is to provide loans according to your organization’s criteria and risk tolerance. Avoid engaging in activities that conflict with your role, such as brokering loans for other lenders.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that you handle the situation ethically and maintain good relationships with loan brokers and other industry professionals.
Me: Imagine you own a media outlet about alternative finance and you have been publishing news stories for years. Your readers are suspicious that an AI has been writing the content the whole time instead of humans. How would you try to convince your readers that humans are writing the content?
To reassure your readers that humans are responsible for writing the content on your alternative finance media outlet, consider implementing the following strategies:
1. Transparency: Clearly state on your website, in the “About Us” section or in author bios, that your content is created by human writers. Provide background information on your writers, including their experience, qualifications, and areas of expertise.
2. Writer profiles: Create individual profiles for each of your writers, complete with photos, biographies, and links to their social media accounts. This will help your readers connect with the authors on a more personal level and reinforce the human aspect of your content.
3. Behind-the-scenes content: Share occasional behind-the-scenes content, such as photos or videos of your writers at work, team meetings, or industry events. This gives your audience a glimpse into the human side of your media outlet and the content creation process.
4. Interactive elements: Encourage your writers to engage with readers through comments sections, social media, or live events like webinars and Q&A sessions. Direct interaction between writers and readers can help dispel doubts about the involvement of AI in content creation.
5. Editor’s notes or letters: Include editor’s notes or letters from the editor in your publications, addressing your readers directly and discussing recent developments, industry trends, or your editorial vision. This human touch can help build trust with your audience.
6. Publish interviews or podcasts: Feature interviews with industry experts, or create a podcast where your writers discuss relevant topics and share their insights. This showcases the human perspective and expertise behind your content.
7. Address reader concerns: If readers express their suspicions about AI-generated content, address their concerns directly and provide evidence of human involvement, such as writing samples, drafts, or editing notes.
8. Highlight the writing process: Publish occasional articles or blog posts about the writing process, including research, fact-checking, editing, and collaboration among your team members. This will help demonstrate the human effort and expertise involved in creating your content.
By implementing these strategies, you can effectively communicate the human involvement in your content creation process and build trust with your readers.
Me: You seem really smart. Would you be interested in going out for a beer some time?
Thank you for the compliment, but as an AI language model, I am not a person and do not have the ability to engage in activities such as going out for a beer. However, I’m here to help answer any questions or provide assistance with any topics you’d like to discuss. Please feel free to ask anything, and I’ll do my best to help you.
As merchant cash advances have become a popular financing option for small businesses in recent years, it has quickly become obvious how lucrative it can be to make the transition from working the phones to working the deals.
The transition from broker to funder can provide significant benefits: by becoming a funder, you have the opportunity to control the entire process from start to finish. Driving the deals, you have the opportunity to make more money, and can establish relationships with banks and payment processing systems that align with your business goals. You can choose a CRM system that best fits your needs and invest in a strong legal and accounting infrastructure to ensure compliance and accountability. Additionally, as a funder, you have the ability to diversify your portfolio and make informed decisions on the types of deals you want to fund, which can lead to higher returns and more stable growth.
While many brokers have the gift of the gab and expertise to sell the advances, they may not have the necessary knowledge of systems and processes in place to manage the risk and operational aspects of the business to go to the next level. Additionally, funders, more than brokers, have the relationships with banks, CRM systems, collection firms, and legal entities that are necessary to run a successful merchant cash advance funding business. The lack of these critical components can limit the growth potential of a broker.
The evolution from a broker to a funder is not just a matter of expanding the business, but it requires a complete overhaul of the systems, processes, and legal frameworks. In this article, let’s explore the key steps that a broker needs to take to become a successful merchant cash advance funder.
Step 1: Having The Right Bank Account
Having a proper bank account is the first step towards becoming a merchant cash advance funder.
Traditional banks, such as Chase and Bank of America, are not built for the rapidly brave new world of financing options, and instead cater to the old models. If they see (what they deem to be) ‘irregular’ incoming and outgoing payment just as you begin offering your first few deals, they can cause you a lot of stress, and even shut your account.
Researching all the options available before you begin funding deals is crucial to build up your business and to avoid stress down the road.
Step 2: Finding The Best ACH Payment Processor
The best way to accept the daily payments owed to you is by working with an ACH payment processor that understands the MCA space. While some traditional banks do offer ACH ‘pulling’ for free, their service is often tied to the amount you have sitting in your account at the bank, which means it’s not working for you to make more. For example, some stipulate that your account needs to have three times the amount that you’re planning to pull daily, just sitting there. So if you’re pulling $200,000 a day, now you have to have $600,000 just sitting there in reserve, which you can’t use to fund other deals you could be making money on.
Instead, finding ACH payment processors that specifically understand the business and your needs will free you up to strive to collect as much as you can, every single day. While it might cost you a little bit, you have the option to now make that calculation of whether it’s better to have free ACHs or have the money available to fund deals and make money off of. A wise man would tell you the latter is the right way to go.
Step 3: Picking A CRM System
A CRM system is an essential tool for tracking the deals, payments, and collections. There are about 8-10 mainstream CRM systems that cater to merchant cash advance funders, and the choice of the CRM system depends on the volume of deals you fund, the presence of syndicators, and the type of deals you fund.
Pick a system that best serves your needs: how it accounts for sub deals and tranches, whether it helps you identify the best and worst performing deals, and if it generates the reports you need to make the most informed choices for your business going forward.
Step 4: Setting Up Your Legal Framework
Setting up a legal framework for contracts is an important step in the journey from a broker to a funder. A proper legal framework ensures that the contracts are enforceable and protects your interests.
It is worth consulting with a lawyer familiar with merchant cash advance to help you prepare thorough contracts for the businesses you advance, your ISO’s and brokers, to ensure you are secure from any attempts to avoid payment and backdooring on your own deals.
Step 5: Collections
In an ideal world, every deal a MCA business funds would get paid pack easily and smoothly, but frequently, that is not the case. Too often, business owners prove why they needed the advance in the first place, and repeat the mistakes and bad habit that puts them in a perilous financial position once again.
If they don’t pay you, your business will quickly begin to suffer and face increasing cash flow problems if you don’t handle it quickly, so having a reliable collection system is crucial for the success of a merchant cash advance funder. It’s good to ensure you understand your options to give yourself the best chance of recovering what you’re owed, including working with a third-part collections firm. The choice of a collection firm depends on the success rate and the level of support provided. A good collection firm should have a well-prepared collection attorney, provide timely support and have a strategy to collect on delinquent merchant cash advances.
Step 6: Accounting
Proper accounting is essential for tracking the overall health and viability of your company. It’s also especially important if you have a partnership or investment in place.
Better Accounting Solutions has been the leading accounting firm in the MCA industry for over a decade, and seen how successful a company can be when all their books are in order and the tremendous pressure and stress caused when it’s not.
Working with an accountant that is familiar with the industry and systems will help you ensure your business is legally compliant, trending in the right direction, and that all deals are in a good place.
Step 7: Lead Sourcing
You’ve set up the business, now you need customers!
There are several ways to find people and businesses who could use a merchant cash advance from your new business. You could reach out to family and friends, research and cold-contact people online or work with lead-generation agencies who will send you lists of hot prospects. Additionally, if you’ve already done all the previous steps listed here, then you can speak to the people you’re already familiar with in the industry to point prospects your way. For example, Better Accounting Solutions has drawn on our years of experience in the industry to connect new funders with brokers we know and trust.
Typically, if you’re a broker becoming a funder, than you already have the relationships with people who can direct customers to your new venture, but I always advise our clients to avoid backdooring or doing something with even the slightest inference of unethical business practices; its bad karma and can only hurt you down the line.
So there you have it, the seven steps of going from broker to funder, and taking your merchant cash advance journey to the next level. Wishing you the best of luck!
This month Patrick Manning took over as the new CEO of ROK Financial. Previously representing the company as CRO and President, Manning’s been on an upward trajectory since he first started in sales roughly eight years ago. He learned the business from founder and former ROK CEO James Webster, who will be stepping into a new role as Executive Chairman.
Manning will be overseeing the leadership team with the help of COO Shannon Treadwell and continuing to grow the organization.
“I also have a large hand in the relationships with our lenders, we are a broker, and we utilize all of the top lenders in the industry,” said Manning. “And I sit at the helm of managing and building those relationships with our lenders.”
Manning described the industry as “lacking information and education” whether this be from brokerages or business owners themselves. Taking pride in the way ROK does business, Manning went on to describe a new learning experience the company will be presenting to the industry.
“I’m going to continue to help push on the company initiative of rolling out ROK-U or ROK University. ROK-U is an education platform which encompasses ROK’s 10-15 years of broker experience to an easy-to-follow training platform geared to properly educate those that are looking to enter into the industry,” said Manning.
ROK’s goal is to improve the way brokers interact with business owners and carry out transactions. This fully remote program will be available to anybody interested in entering the industry where they’ll learn proper techniques as well as language. The company soft launched the program in May with 30 enrolled students from all over the country. Testing the program out to see what areas needed improvement, ROK-U will officially launch in January 2023. It is also free of charge and will be live on their website.
“The team has been working diligently to roll out new technologies to help with this initiative. Those that enroll in ROK-U will have access to best-in-class technologies powered by Salesforce Communities to assist in training and getting their businesses off the ground,” said Manning.
The company will also be introducing the ROK Tour, a new networking event in eight major cities throughout the U.S to help promote ROK University.
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