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

Governor Phil Murphy on Fintech in New Jersey
By: Sean Murray

Governor Phil MurphyIn a joint webinar between Choose New Jersey, FinTech Ireland, the New Jersey City University School of Business, and others, NJ Governor Phil Murphy kicked off the event by saying that his state's object is nothing short of being the state of innovation, where new ventures can take shape, companies can expand, and people can raise a family. Murphy's participation in Irish fintech collaboration was steeped in his commitment to international relations and business. "The fintech business in particular is a big part of our economy," Murphy said. "We've got proximity to New York City's financial markets and as a result we've become sort of the perfect home for fintech companies. We have 145 fintech companies headquartered in New Jersey." The island of Ireland, by comparison, is home to nearly 250 indigenous fintech companies, according to the latest Fintech Ireland map. Recently, Irish fintech companies ranked the United States and Canada as their #1 priority region for expansion. New Jersey is hoping to benefit from transatlantic opportunities this might present. "There's no better place in America than to plant your flag here in New Jersey," Murphy said. "To those who are considering [it], it'll be the best decision you ever make." The Governor also revealed that his family is descended from Donoughmore, County Cork and that he hopes to make a state trip to the republic soon.
Gregory J. Nowak, Partner at Troutman Pepper, Has Passed Away
By: Sean Murray

Gregory NowakGregory J. Nowak, a partner at Troutman Pepper, passed away suddenly on April 11th at the age of 61. The firm's website introduced Nowak as a veteran attorney that was "sought after for advice on complex securities law matters, particularly on issues arising out of the Investment Company Act of 1940; the Investment Advisers Act of 1940; federal and state securities laws and regulations; broker dealer, FINRA, CFTC and NFA regulatory matters; and corporate and M&A transactions." That perfectly sums up the context in which I first encountered Nowak in 2017 when he spoke at a small event put on by the Alternative Finance Bar Association where I was the only non-lawyer in the entire audience. One might expect a presentation on the finer minutiae of securities law of which he gave, to be a mundane, easily forgotten experience for a financial journalist such as myself, but his energetic delivery and fluid command of the subject matter translated complex securities questions into a folksy debate wherein one could feel confident in resolving the Howey Test over the dinner table just as easily as they could in the courtroom. In fact, I approached him afterwards to thank him on his presentation and even followed up later over email, asking if I might have the honor to list him as a recommended securities attorney on the deBanked website. That was four years ago and as fate would have it, he remained the only recommended attorney that deBanked formally listed under the securities category, despite my coming to know very many accomplished and competent attorneys in the same field of law. Nowak was one of the earliest public voices in the world of merchant cash advance participations and syndication where the securities question was a consideration some weren't even sure applied as the industry created new products and investing structures at a furious pace. He spoke at deBanked's first major conference in 2018 on the subject of "Syndication and Raising Capital," and he continued to generate recognition of the need for securities legal support in the burgeoning industry. He was a co-author of an article published with a colleague at Pepper Hamilton LLP (now Troutman Pepper) that he had given permission to be reprinted on deBanked in December 2018, titled MCA Participations and Securities Law: Recognizing and Managing a Looming Threat. It was read by more than 1,500 people on the deBanked website that first day alone. Nowak was highly sought out on merchant cash advance issues. Most judges want to see consistency of treatment and that includes your vocabulary, Nowak said in an interview with deBanked in April 2019. The word loan should be banned from their email and Word files. Although our relationship was one of professional acquaintances, I often told those seeking advice about MCA syndication that they should "probably call Greg Nowak about that." In "Does Your Merchant Cash Advance Company Pass The Scrutiny Test?", Nowak explained that funders that decide for business purposes to solicit money from investors, have to be careful not to run afoul of SEC rules. He said that he recommended funders treat these fundraising efforts as if they are issuing securities and follow the rules accordingly. Otherwise they risk being the subject of an enforcement action where the SEC alleges they are raising money using unregulated securities. You need to be very careful here because these rules are unforgiving. You cant ignore them, Nowak said.
His obituary ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning.



Related Headlines

03/31/2021Video: Jennie Villano and Sean Murray
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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.

deBanked Announces SPAC

April 1, 2021
Article by:

Wall StreetdeBanked employees were summoned to an all-hands meeting in the company’s modest Brooklyn, NY headquarters yesterday afternoon to bear witness to a special announcement.

“We’re launching a SPAC,” deBanked president and chief editor Sean Murray said to a stunned room. “I’ve been writing about fintech for more than ten years, but an inspirational meme posted by a bot on twitter got me thinking. And I was just like, ‘You know what? F*** it, let’s just buy the whole fintech industry.'”

Everyone quickly agreed that it was a genius move.

“What was the last stimulus? like what, $1.9 trillion or something? We’ll raise at least 10x that amount in our IPO,” he continued. “No financial technology company is off limits, we’re going to buy them all. I can’t believe no one has thought of this yet!”

Murray realized that such a brilliant strategy was likely to rattle the largest banks and he said that he had already placed calls to Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan and David Solomon at Goldman Sachs to ease them into his swift rise to financial power.

“I mean did I actually speak to them? Technically per se not really, but I heard them speak on Clubhouse of which I am an elite exclusive member,” Murray said.

When pressed for details about this Clubhouse conversation, Murray backpedaled and said he actually just read an article about Clubhouse but that the article referenced Elon Musk and that he was basically just as important as the famed bankers. Several sources who wished to remain anonymous said that Murray was only invited to Clubhouse after shamelessly begging for an invitation on twitter.

Attempts to verify his membership revealed a profile picture where he is giving a thumbs up while holding a glass of scotch, one of which he said came from a bottle that cost more than I would ever make in my whole life. A fact check, however, revealed that it was really just expired apple juice that a building maintenance worker had left out near the common area garbage disposal.

When asked to explain this, Murray said, “Bro, why do you think we’re doing a SPAC? Once we have the money, we’ll be drinking freaking Apple computers!”

By the end of the big company meeting, Murray pulled out a joint and began puffing it furiously through a mouth hole he cut open in his 7 simultaneously-worn covid masks, prompting one staff member to ask if his fanciful plan was at all related to New York’s newly enacted marijuana law.

“Wait, you mean this sh*t’s legal now?” he asked. “F***, make it two SPACs then!”





April Fools 🙂

Tune in Today Live: debanked.com/tv

March 31, 2021
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Update: The recording is here


deBanked will be streaming live today at approximately 12:15 with special guest Jennie Villano of NewCo Capital Group. She will be joined by host Sean Murray in the studio. This is not a Zoom or virtual discussion. There is no need to register. Anyone can tune in free at debanked.com/tv or debanked.tv

Live With Jennie Villano

Merchant Cash Advance Facebook Group Hits 1,000 Members

March 26, 2021
Article by:

facebookThe Merchant Cash Advance facebook group, a community created and administered by deBanked, has reached 1,000 members. The social media group is a popular place for those in the non-bank business finance community to engage with each other online.

“We’re seeing an uptick in collaborative business development, especially among smaller brokerage organizations and those who work independently on their own,” deBanked President Sean Murray said. “A lot of ideas, motivation, referrals, and deal-making is being conducted online, more-so than before because of the 2020 lockdowns where in-person collaboration slowed to a crawl.”

Separately, deBanked shares common ownership with DailyFunder, the largest b2b finance community on the web.

“We actually witnessed a very insightful trend on DailyFunder,” Murray said. “Approximately 7.5% of the active membership that existed on March of 2020, had left their jobs or closed their business by March of 2021. It sounds troublesome on its face except that we added more members than we lost in that timeframe. More people came in than left, a net increase. I think the data is pointing to the future being very strong!”

Was That Loan Forgiven? The Tax Man Cometh

March 10, 2021
Article by:

With tax season upon us, the events of 2020 will soon be reviewed and evaluated by everyone’s best friend, the IRS. Lenders that offered debt forgiveness might have done a favor to distressed borrowers in 2020, but a consequence of that courtesy is that the borrowers’ forgiven debt might be taxable.

This is as good a time as ever to review a report prepared by Grassi Advisors & Accountants whether you are a lender that forgave debt or a borrower that had debt forgiven.

“This issue was noticed early last year,” said deBanked President Sean Murray, “but at the time everyone was so focused on PPP forgiveness, the EIDL program, and government stimulus, that I think the potential consequences of lenders forgiving non-PPP debt for their borrowers were lost in the shuffle. Imagine you’re a borrower that had $100,000 of non-PPP debt forgiven last year and you’re only now about to learn that the IRS may classify that as income. Or worse yet, you don’t even realize it and are told that later on during an audit.”

In May 2020, deBanked labelled this as a hidden tax time bomb that was set to detonate in 2021. And now here we are.

The report can be viewed here.

New Functionality For Digital Advertisers

February 9, 2021
Article by:

deBanked LogoToday, we’re announcing a new feature for digital advertisers. Businesses advertising on our website now have the option to login with a deBanked account and track their ad click figures in close to real time.

We began to roll this out in January to all ad clients that expressed an interest in it. A press release went out this morning.

It’s one of several things that we’ve been working on for a while. Our clients can also view what their current ads are when they log in, even if it’s more than one campaign.

The data is updated on an automated basis and the identities of the visitors that clicked is kept anonymous. We’re also offering white-labeled deBanked-hosted landing pages as a service to assist with managing the conversion process. As everyone knows, we also have designers that can create the ad artwork itself.

deBanked serves a business-to-business market and I think the elephant in the room is that much of the industry’s referral business is being sourced through our website. We outpace all of our competitors on a page view basis by a long shot and we’ve determined that it would be valuable for our digital clients to track the activity we’re generating, and then if further assistance is needed, facilitate the conversion process as well. We think about it from the user perspective too. We want the user clicking those ads to find whatever it is they’re seeking. We’re ultimately striving for an end-to-end experience where all parties are satisfied.

We’ve also compiled a short FAQ about how to interpret the click data.

You can email questions to info@debanked.com.

Thanks so much for being part of the deBanked universe.

– Sean Murray

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.”

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...