SEAN MURRAY

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Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked (2010), deBanked Connect & Broker Fair (2018), and DailyFunder (2012).

Murray entered the nonbank finance industry in 2006 and has a Bachelors of Science in Accounting & Finance from University of Delaware. He is widely known for his extensive reporting on the merchant cash advance industry and fintech.




Sean Murray



Recently Authored by Sean Murray

Greenbox Capital Comments on Landmark Florida Legal Victory
By: Sean Murray

Greenbox capitalGreenbox Capital was the victor of a major lawsuit argued before Florida's Third District Court of Appeal that conclusively established the legality of merchant cash advances in the state. When asked for comment, Greenbox Capital® CEO Jordan Fein said: “It’s been a long, arduous, and expensive battle over the last few years proving in a court of law that a Merchant Cash Advance is not a loan. Today, we celebrate a win for all Merchant Cash Advance companies in Florida and the entire United States who are dedicated to funding small businesses through ethical practices. Our hard work and commitment to helping small businesses grow was validated and we are thrilled with the final decision of the District Court of Appeal.” The decision in Florida echoes a similiar opinion reached in New York in 2018.
It's Official, Merchant Cash Advances Not Usurious in Florida
By: Sean Murray

Flag of FloridaBig news in the State of Florida. The Third District Court of Appeal entered its order on January 6th to decide the fate of Craton Entertainment, LLC, et al., v Merchant Capital Group, LLC, et al.. Merchant Capital Group, LLC dba Greenbox Capital sued Craton in December 2016 over a default in a Purchase and Sale of Future Receivables transaction. In turn, Craton responded with various defenses and counterclaims that asserted the underlying transaction was really an unenforceable usurious loan. The Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County sided with Greenbox in August 2019. The defendants appealed. The District Court of Appeal decided the matter conclusively on January 6, holding that the original ruling was affirmed on the basis that:
  • The transaction is not indicative of a loan where repayment obligation is not absolute but rather contingent or dependent upon the success of the underlying venture
  • that the transactions in which a portion of the investment is at speculative risk are excluded from the usury statutes
  • when the principal sum lent or any part of it is placed in hazard, the lender may lawfully require, in return for the risk, as large a sum as may be reasonable, provided it is done in good faith.
The decision can be viewed here. The lawyers representing Appellee Greenbox Capital were Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., William Boltrek III, Shannon M. Puopolo and Douglas B. Szabo. You should contact an attorney to discuss the implications of this ruling. Merchant Cash Advance contracts are not all the same. This ruling is similar to a ruling in New York that was made in 2018.



Related Headlines

10/15/2018Sean Murray to moderate NYIC panel
01/23/2017Sean Murray is Finalist at LendIt Awards


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Stories

Sean Murray to Moderate Best Practices Panel at New York Institute of Credit Event

October 15, 2018
Article by:

deBanked President and Chief Editor Sean Murray will be moderating a best practices panel at the New York Institute of Credit Event on October 16th. The event is also supported by the IFA Northeast, the Alternative Finance Bar Association, and deBanked.

The subject of the panel is to discuss best practices when dealing with different financial firms, namely ABL, factoring, and merchant cash advance. The panelists are:

  • Bill Gallagher, President, CFG Merchant Solutions
  • Bill Elliott, President, First Business Growth Funding
  • Raffi Azadian, CEO, Change Capital
  • Dean Landis, President, Entrepreneur Growth Capital

Merchant Cash Advance APR Debate (Sean Murray v Ami Kassar)

November 24, 2015
Article by:

The other day, Inc. writer and loan broker Ami Kassar took some time out of his day from taking photos of his shadow in the park to engage me in a debate about the use of APRs in future receivable purchase transactions. He was apparently very bothered by my analysis of Square’s merchant cash advance program which has transacted more than $300 million to date.

To clarify my position here, I am indeed in favor of transparency, so long as it’s intelligent transparency. Coming up with phony percentages based on estimates and applying them to transactions where they don’t make sense is not transparency. Similarly, advocating that merchant cash advance companies and lenders alike move away from a dollar-for-dollar pricing model to one that requires the seller or borrower to do math or hire an accountant is also not transparency.

Even a Federal Reserve study that attempted to prove merchant cash advances were confusing inadvertently proved that APRs in general were confusing. If someone doesn’t know how to calculate an APR, then it’s unreasonable to assume that they could work backwards from an APR to determine the dollar-for-dollar cost of capital. In effect, APR is a surefire way to mask the trust cost despite arguments to the contrary.

My unplanned debate with Ami Kassar on twitter is below:

Sorry Ami. The only thing unclear is your argument.

Smarter Loans Co-Founder: Study shows Fintech in Canada Seeing Accelerated Growth

November 24, 2020
Article by:

smarter.loansThere has been fast-growing demand for digital finance products this year, according to the Smarter Loans Annual State of Canadian Fintech study. The report surveyed more than 2,500 users of the Smarter Loans site.

The findings show an accelerated shift to digital transactions, which Smarter loans co-founder Vlad Sherbatov attributed to a pandemic-acceleration of the tech-leaning trends that were already coming.

“One of the central insights from this year’s study is the overall increase of fintech adoption and lending,” Sherbatov said. “We’ve also noticed the fact that people are just much more likely to manage their finances online today than they were at this time 12 months ago or a year ago.”

Intending to gain insight into Canada’s fintech industry, Smarter Loans began sending questionnaires to their users starting in 2018.

“We survey some of the people that flow through our website that have used a fintech lending product in the past 12 months, we ask them questions about their experience,” Sherbatov said. “The purpose is to extract insights so that we can help push the industry forward and improve it.”

Even just two years ago the industry was a much smaller space but has ballooned since, and the Smarter Loans survey has become a one-of-a-kind focus on Canadian fintech markets. Featured with this year’s results is commentary from Canadian industry leaders like the Canadian Lenders Association, and deBanked’s own Sean Murray.

“It’s become a bit of a staple in the lending industry,” Sherbatov said. “Because it’s the only piece of research in Canada that is laser-focused on fintech lending.”

With three years of data to compare, Sherbatov said he could see a significant increase in online activity. Part of this is just due to where the world is heading, as Sherbatov described the younger generations just stepping into the financial world.

“This is something that’s been happening for years; this is a trend that has started a long, long time ago,” Sherbatov said. “For younger generations, the way that they approach financial products and companies is very different from someone in my generation or older. Online is the standard of doing business, on-the-go, and mobile is the standard of managing your financial affairs.”

Fintech in Canada, Sherbatov said, tends to lag behind the growth of the fintech industry in other countries but is on the rise due to the Coronavirus. The digital adoption trend was pushed forward, as some customers that had been reluctant to bank online were forced to do so by necessity. Now, these changes to the way business is transacted are here to stay, Sherbatov said.

Like the surge in eCommerce activity, people are going online to make financial transactions.

“You go to Amazon to buy laundry detergent, and you go online to open up a checking account to pay some bills,” Sherbatov said. “Everybody needs financial services, just like everybody else needs household items; it’s how we’re going about obtaining them. This has changed and has accelerated due to Covid.”

In Loving Memory of Elliot J Dabah

November 17, 2020
Article by:
Elliot Dabah
Elliot Dabah & Elliot Ashkenazie

Elliot J Dabah, CEO of NYC-based Merchants Cash Partners, LLC, recently passed away. Known throughout the merchant financing industry, friends and colleagues began collecting kind words to reflect on his life to be able to share them here.

Elliot Ashkenazie, his business partner and best friend, said “Elliot Dabah would step up and help anyone in need whether that be his own employee, another ISO, or a complete stranger on the street. He didn’t keep any secrets so he would have an advantage over others, he simply paid it forward and helped the community as a whole benefit from it. Merchants Cash Partners will work tirelessly to carry on his legacy and his values.”

“Elliot Dabah was the heartbeat of the Financial District and he was an integrated part of my life, both professional and personal,” said Gigi Russo. “Not only did Elliot and I live three blocks from each other, but I first had the privilege and pleasure of meeting him while I was working for deBanked, at CONNECT San Diego. We quickly became close friends. He truly never took advantage of our tight knit friendship. His professional support was a reflection of his character— a respectable person that respected his family, friends and business associates. Elliot wanted everyone to succeed. He believed that friends and business colleagues should support one another to build a viable network.”

Elliot Dabah and Father
Elliot Dabah and his Father Jack

Tom Dool of Power Funding, said “Of all of the offices I’ve ever visited, I can honestly say that no other partner of mine compares to Merchants Cash Partners. From the moment I met both Elliots, they were inviting. I could tell right away that they had a special bond of shared enthusiasm, honesty, generosity, thoughtful, caring people.” He adds, “Elliot [Dabah] lived life with such a genuine love for people and getting to know people, discussing higher level ideas, sharing feelings. He was one of the best and I’ll never forget him.”

“Elliot was one of the most welcoming people I had the pleasure of knowing,” says Colt Kucker of Libertas Funding, “and always tried helping out whether it be a customer, myself, or anybody in need. He was a hard worker and will truly be missed by all he came across.”

Justin Friedman of Enova SMB, described Dabah, “Smart, strategic, urgent, generous and wise are a few words to describe Elliot. He was universally popular and a known professional in our industry, which isn’t common to come by. He cared about his customers and business relationships. Elliot’s presence in alternative lending was a positive one and he will be remembered for exactly that.”

Elliot Dabah

Ben Lugassy of SOS Capital states that he was “Always smiling and enthusiastic, Elliot was the embodiment of joyful. A friend with tremendous respect and gratitude, he will always be remembered and in our prayers.”

Paul Boxer of Velocity Capital Group added, “Every-time I met Elliot he had the largest smile, always happy to talk shop and discuss the industry. He was very knowledgeable and had a wealth of information, he will surely be missed.”

Ken Peng of Elevate Funding recounts that Elliot, “was always great to work with. He was always very friendly and understanding when we did review any of his files. He will be missed.”

Gigi Russo, who was instrumental in putting this tribute together, further added that Elliot “treated everyone he came into contact with as a friend.” He has “a sincere, dignified, and affable reputation that will follow him after his passing. He will surely be remembered for supporting his colleagues, clients, business acquaintances, and network. The legacy Elliot has left behind is simple: Respect one another. Support one another. Honesty and hard work are necessities of success.”

Elliot Dabah and Gigi Russo
Elliot Dabah and Gigi Russo

Part of Elliot’s legacy is the company he built. Merchants Cash Partners, despite the pandemic, was so successful this year that it outgrew its office space.

“Elliot had a revolutionary style of making this industry a community,” says his partner Ashkenazie. “He referred clients and prospects alike to small firms and national firms, expecting nothing in return.”

Coincidence would have it that a photo of Elliot at a deBanked event was often used in event marketing promotions. As to how that picture came to be used so prominently, deBanked President Sean Murray said that “Elliot embodied the community we were trying to portray. A nice young business professional who radiated positive energy. Who is part of this industry? It’s guys like Elliot. That’s what we wanted everyone to know.

“Elliot totally noticed how often we were sharing his photo,” Murray said. “He told me that he thought that was pretty cool.”

Elliot Dabah

deBanked Meets The Kosher Guru

October 19, 2020
Article by:

In a crossover episode, deBanked president and chief editor Sean Murray had lunch with Kosher Guru at Reserve Cut in lower Manhattan. In it, they talked Kosher food, business funding, and more!

DailyFunder Still #1 Small Business Finance Community

October 14, 2020
Article by:

Daily FunderDailyFunder, the small business finance forum founded by Sean Murray in 2012, continues to be the leading online community for the industry, according to a recent announcement. The forum recently surpassed 10,000 registered members, in addition to logging more than 2 million page views just in 2020 so far.

“The forum has attracted well over a million visitors since inception and users have historically spent longer than 10 minutes on the site in any given session on average,” Murray said.

deBanked’s parent company fully acquired DailyFunder earlier this year. The announcement was featured prominently in deBanked’s January/February 2020 magazine issue. In it, Murray renewed the website’s objective:

“The mission will be to create a great forum for those involved in day-to-day dealmaking,” he said in a Q&A. “How can we provide a platform that enables those in the industry to make more money? That’s the way I look at it. I think if we can provide that type of value, success will follow.”

The Roosevelt Hotel is Closing Permanently Due to Pandemic Losses

October 13, 2020
Article by:

Roosevelt HotelAfter nearly a century of quintessential Manhatten hospitality, the Roosevelt Hotel is closing by the end of the month, sources say. A relic of classic New York that survived the Great Depression, WWII, and Broker Fair 2019, the hotel is officially shutting down for good after suffering pandemic related losses, a spokesperson said.

“Due to the current, unprecedented environment and the continued uncertain impact from COVID-19, the owners of The Roosevelt Hotel have made the difficult decision to close the hotel, and the associates were notified this week,” the Spokesperson told CNN reporters Friday. “The iconic hotel, along with most of New York City, has experienced very low demand, and as a result, the hotel will cease operations before the end of the year. There are currently no plans for the building beyond the scheduled closing.”

The hotel will be added to the growing list of staple New York City businesses that have closed as a result of COVID. The Roosevelt was named and built to honor the United States’ 26th president and it opened its doors on September 22, 1924. Constructed during Prohibition, the building began the modern trend of featuring designer store windows on the street front. 

The Roosevelt Hotel New York City - Broker Fair 2019Appearing as a backdrop for dozens of Hollywood blockbusters like Boiler Room, Malcolm X, and The Irishman, the hotel was iconic. The New Year’s Eve tradition of singing “Auld Lang Syne” was born at the Roosevelt in 1929 when Guy Lombardo and his orchestra broadcast the song live over the radio.

The building was purchased by the limited investment branch of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in 1999.

In July, government officials and PIA executives debated the hotel’s future, some hoping rumors that President Trump would purchase the property were true. The initial plan was to sell or renovate the city block to create office space, thought to be far more lucrative than the hotel business in 2019. Work-from-home orders threw a wrench into the cogs, and the hotel kept losing money: no one wanted the traditional New York experience during a pandemic. 

The Roosevelt Hotel - roomPosting a loss during this year has become expected of the hospitality industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitality lost 7.5 million jobs due to shutdowns and travel restrictions in April. CNN reported that only half as many jobs had been added back. In September, NYC hotels were below 40% occupancy. 

The decision to ultimately close The Roosevelt might also come from trouble in PIA’s airline business. After the crash of PIA flight 8303 that killed 97 people in Havelian, Pakistan, European and US regulators banned flights from PIA for six months. After the crash, nearly one-third of airplane licenses in Pakistan were found to be fraudulent or forged, further straining the organization’s ability to recover. 

Though this may have contributed to The Roosevelt’s closure, the pandemic sealed the deal. According to a study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, New York has 2,336 hotels statewide that have lost 43,014 jobs this year. 

Sean Murray speaking in the Gekko Ballroom at The Roosevelt HotelWithout further congressional aid, 1,565 hotels might close: the AHLA found that 74% of overall US hotels say more layoffs are coming if the industry doesn’t get additional federal assistance. But successful talks for more aid in the House and Senate are increasingly unlikely due to this election year’s heightened partisanship.

NYC is losing yet another historical business, as the way of life and all things we have come to expect from the big apple struggle to survive. As a destination venue, The Roosevelt was also dear to deBanked. It was the home of Broker Fair 2019, where Sean Murray spoke in the same ballroom that Michel Douglas (as Gorden Gekko) made the famous “Greed is Good” speech as part of the 1987 film Wall Street. Murray made a similar speech but rewrote it to fit the industry that had gathered. “Funding small business, for lack of a better phrase, is good,” he said on stage to an audience of 700 people.

Unfortunately, it was The Roosevelt that ultimately needed funding and didn’t get it.

A Q&A With Viceland’s Host Of ‘Hustle’ John Henry

March 5, 2020
Article by:

John HenryEntrepreneur and investor John Henry, who also hosted TV show ‘Hustle‘ on Viceland, recently spoke with deBanked Chief Editor Sean Murray about his experience as a young successful entrepreneur (Q&A is below). Henry will be a special guest speaker at Broker Fair 2020 on May 18th in New York City. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS IT!!!

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About John Henry

Voted to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and Ebony’s Power 100 lists – John Henry is a Dominican-American entrepreneur and investor. Henry started his first business at 18, an on-demand dry cleaning service for the Film and TV industry in New York City, with clients such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire, Power, and more. Henry led the company through its acquisition in 2014 — founding and selling his first business by the age of 21. On the heels of his first win, Henry launched Cofound Harlem — a non-profit incubator that aims to foster a robust tech ecosystem North of 96th street in New York City. Cofound Harlem has launched numerous high-growth companies in Harlem, gaining recognition from Fast Company, TechCrunch, Business Insider, and more. He is a former Partner at Harlem Capital, a diversity-focused early stage venture capital firm on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship. Henry is also the host of VICELAND’s latest show, HUSTLE, which is Executive Produced by Alicia Keys and focused on helping scrappy entrepreneurs grow their business to the next level.

—–

Q (Sean Murray): You started your first business at 18 but what made you want to start one?

A (John Henry): It was driven by necessity more than a desire to be an entrepreneur, but I did exhibit some of the traits that pushed me towards that path. Entrepreneurs tend to have a history of non-conformity where there’s no pre-chartered path and in an environment that demands conformity, anyone that likes to express their own views comes up against a lot of friction. So, for me it was necessity but also part of my character to do things differently.

Q: What kind of lessons did you learn from running a business at such a young age?

A: It’s a serious game and it’s full of responsibility. I was telling myself at one point that I was just 18 and so the struggles I faced running a business could be overlooked because of my age, but the world doesn’t care how old you are. If you’re running a business, there’s no way around the responsibilities it demands.

The other thing is, when you come up against really tough situations, you need to be brave and have courage to go through those moments. I’m glad I had the courage in them. Once you take them head-on, you come out feeling better on the other side.

Q: As a former partner of a Venture Capital firm, what’s the #1 mistake you saw entrepreneurs and business owners make?

A: You’ve got to have macro understanding and micro-chops. Everything is connected, it’s not just knowing your business but knowing where you’re situated in the economic or market cycle and understanding what customer sentiment is. That’s what a lot of entrepreneurs miss. Like if your idea is to make a mobile app, that’s great, but how many apps are already out there? How long have apps been part of the market already? What’s going to make your app stand out from every other app? And this doesn’t apply just to startups, but also existing companies. Every 3 months, you should be asking yourself the business question and evolve if necessary. The hardest part though is when your gut is telling you you’re right but every other person out there is telling you you’re wrong. And that’s something you’ll really have to figure out.

Q: Why has helping minority entrepreneurs and businesses been so important to you?

A: I’m not usually asked why, but I was seeing less and less minority representation among entrepreneurs that were receiving capital. There are some systemic factors that make it harder to get ahead but at the same time people can become inclusive to the point where they’re becoming exclusive. So, I think it’s about helping those that are on their way to overcoming tremendous odds to get far.

Q: Real estate, what can you tell me about your foray into that market?

A: I can say it’s the best business that I have been in so far. Real estate is the #1 fundamental building block of wealth. When I first got into it, I was shocked that you could put down 20% and the bank would put in the other 80%. This is a game of physical assets and I’m glad I came across it when I did. I’m currently building a bedrock of business around real estate, my preference being residential multi-family apartments.


Register For Broker Fair 2020

Threads on deBanked


07-03-2019

Inform More, Earn More...
dale laszig has written a terrific article (http://www.greensheet.com/emagazine.php?article_id=6033) on the green sheet (http://www.greensheet.com/) a...




Found on DailyFunder:

07-03-2019

Inform More, Earn More...
sean murray, president and chief editor at*debanked, makes great points about education for sales agents being paramount to their success.*if knowledgeable about the diversity of financial products, and their distinctions from one another, agents can*help customers make informed decisions, which allows them to close more deals., , *, , customers trust in the person, brand or company they are working with is...
06-07-2019

How in the WORLD!!!??...
sean murray over at debanked to do a nice piece for his magazine debanked., , this is just getting crazy!!! still waiting for approval/denial and merchant has been called 4 times already.... wwooowwwwww!!!!...
01-28-2019

Quicksilver...
sean murray would have stepped in to stop this but i guess doesnt want to hurt his bottom line...