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

Lender / Broker Ecosystem Transparency Solved
By: Sean Murray

What happens when a broker sends in a deal and is told it's declined, only to find out that it was approved and funded for another broker? Usually, a very angry post on social media. The problem is that everyone wants maximum transparency, but how to get it? Who can trust who? What can be done? When will someone do it? Well, call me insane, but I've taken a crack at solving it. And don't get mad at me because I use the word blockchain because I promise this is not about crypto. Everything would still be ACH-based and recorded just as you already do it, but this little piece of tech would sit underneath it without any manual effort. All automated. No work. Also, it's possible I'm just totally wrong or have missed some possibilities. You be the judge. Realistic or dream world? 1. Brokers and Merchants don't need to use the blockchain or know how to use it. 2. A dev at a lender justs need to understand digital wallet addresses and a little feature about them called Non-Fungible Tokens to build or implement a third-party add-on of this. (These "NFTs" have nothing to do with art, they are just uniquely identifiable text files logged into the blockchain with metadata inside them.) First, here's my diagram: Here's what it's doing: 1. When brokers sign up with a lender, the lender assigns a uniquely identifiable blockchain wallet address to them on an automated basis. 2. When a broker sends in a deal, the lender creates a unique encrypted hash of the applicant's bare minimum identifiable data (like last name and EIN #). This hash is placed into a text file in plain english along with the applicant's application data encrypted. (also automated). 3. The lender creates a Non-Fungible Token from the broker's wallet address and sends it to the lenders's official submission wallet. (automated). This wallet will show the NFTs for every deal ever submitted to this lender. Nobody will be able to reverse engineer info about the deals and only the broker who submitted the deal will be aware of what the hash of the deal is. This gives them a chance to view exactly when their deal was logged and if there's any duplicate hashes in the wallet that would signal that same deal had already been submitted by someone else and when it was submitted. 4. If the deal is approved by the lender, the lender pays the broker and funds the merchant via ACH like normal. Then the lender creates an NFT with the same public hash and sends that one to its approval wallet. The original NFT sent to its submissions wallet is now sent to the broker's wallet, signaling that they have been awarded the commission on this deal. (automated). 5. If the deal is declined, the lender creates an NFT with the same public hash and all the NFTs for this deal are sent to the decline wallet, signaling that the deal was killed and nobody was awarded the commission on it. (automated). Every deal's NFT has to eventually be moved to approved or declined. They can't sit in submissions in perpetuity. End result: brokers that submit deals can see if their deal has been submitted before and when it was submitted. Brokers can verify if the deal was funded, when, and if commissions were paid to someone. No actual money is changing hands via crypto (though there might be transactions fees to move NFTs around.) Investors and regulators can also examine the flow and if necessary, be given access to a private key so that they can unlock and view the metadata in the submissions, approvals, and declines themselves. Naturally, everyone's first question is: what happens if the lender tries to bypass this? 1. A broker who submits a deal that does not see an NFT created for it in the lender's submissions wallet, already knows that the lender is trying to operate outside the system. Time to move on! 2. A lender that shows a deal was declined and commissions paid to nobody could be easily discovered if the borrower shows a statement with proof that they received a deposit. No need to speculate what happened. Time to move on! 3. A broker that submitted a deal first can show that its deal was logged first in the submissions wallet. Anyone on social media or the public square could also confirm that and the lender could not manipulate the data to play favorites. 4. Lenders that operate outside of it would show little-to-no submissions or approval volume, signaling to a broker that for some reason they do not want the anonymized data auditable. 5. Lenders that are not real that go around pretending to be a lender just to scoop up deals would be hard-pressed to provide the three verifiable wallet addresses showing the volume of submissions, approvals, declines, and the respective ratios for the latter two. If they can't show that they've ever done any deals or paid commissions, even if you can't see what the individual details are, they're not real. 6. After a lender moves the deal's NFT to a broker's wallet to signal they're being awarded the commission, it's possible the lender does NOT actually ACH the broker the commission. In that case, the broker would have a nice verifiable public display that shows it was supposed to be paid the commission for all to see. Public pressure ensues. 7. If the lender secretly pays a broker the commission but then publicly marks the deal as declined so that another broker who sent in the same deal doesn't suspect what happened, well then the broker who got paid is going to be suspicious that the lender could do the same thing to them. There's an incentive to be honest. 8. Merchants need not know about any of this. It doesn't concern them. 9. The broker does not interact with the blockchain in any way except in the case it just wanted to view the data. 10. The lender does not have to manually interact with the blockchain at all. The system would just be bolted on to an existing CRM. It would do all the above by itself.
New Domain Name Gold Rush Sets Up Possible Battle for Future of SMB Finance
By: Sean Murray

If you could have businessloan.com or businessloans.com as your website, would you jump on the opportunity to get it? It's evident that the market for keyword-based domains has evolved over time. Couldn't get the .com? You could've tried to get the less coveted .net or .org. Don't like those? Today, you can get the .business, .deals, .financial, .loan, .loans, or hundreds of other customized tlds. With so many to choose from, most experts in the field would advise that if you don't own the .com version, to not even bother getting cute with customizations for your brand or keyword because customers will just get confused. But recently, another domain name market has quietly been gaining steam. It's for something called a .eth, an Ethereum blockchain-based crypto address shortener call ENS. It's not necessarily something one could use to build a website with, at least not yet. Originally envisioned as a way to condense long impossible-to-remember crypto wallet addresses into memorable words, users have started to buy up a bunch of keywords that may be familiar to deBanked readers. Just to name a few:
  • businessloan.eth
  • businessloans.eth
  • smbloans.eth
  • merchantcashadvance.eth
  • ach.eth
  • syndication.eth
  • lending.eth
  • ppploan.eth
  • underwriting.eth
  • brokers.eth
  • loanbroker.eth
  • mca.eth
  • factoring.eth
  • funding.eth
  • backdoored.eth
At face-value, this might appear to be a vanity crypto play, one in which one could send crypto to your-name-here.eth instead of trying to type out a long address like: 0x64233eAa064ef0d54ff1A963933D0D2d46ab5829. But ENS holds much more potential than just that. It's moving towards becoming the backbone of one's identity in the upcoming era of the web called web 3.0 (web3 for short). Instead of having to remember passwords for hundreds of websites, identity can be validated through one's digital wallet. Such a concept is not theoretical. It's already being used. EthereumTake seanmurray.eth for example. You could send eth, bitcoin, litecoin, or dogecoin to it, but at the same time it's connected to an email address and a url (this one). Plus it's linked to an NFT avatar (broker #7 from The Broker NFT collection) which is in that wallet. I can use it to do an e-commerce online checkout in 5 seconds without ever needing to enter any payment information even if I've never visited the site before. It's faster than PayPal and with less steps involved. I can connect it to my twitter account, OpenSea, or use it to vote in an official poll without ever having to create an account on something. The wallet is the identity verification. The .eth name, therefore, has the potential to become the defining baseline of who or what one is on the internet. Not theoretically. It's already happening. Crypto is already starting to creep into the small business finance industry. In August, a funding company announced that it would begin offering commissions and fundings in crypto because of the speed potential. Far from being a gimmick, brokers started to choose crypto payments over ACH or a wire because of how fast it would be. There's also no chargeback risk with crypto. Currently, the owner of mca.eth has listed the domain for sale on OpenSea at a price of 20 eth (approximately $60,000). That's less than what MerchantCashInAdvance.com sold for in 2011. Perhaps the value of an Ethereum Name Service domain holds less promise than a website that ranked well on Google in 2011. But then again, being well ranked on Google is not as important as it used to be. It's impossible to say what, if any impact web3 will have on the small business finance industry long term, but for now there are those out there quietly buying up names like ach and funding and syndication on the chance that they will become something.



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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.

Join the deBanked Team in NYC for a Night of Networking in Web3 & Crypto

May 8, 2022
Article by:

The Refinery Rooftop NYCThe team behind deBanked is hosting a 3-hour open bar in New York City this Wednesday night on May 11th from 6-9pm. It’s called deCashed. deBanked readers interested in Web3, NFTs, and crypto are welcome to attend the event being held at The Refinery Rooftop.

Sponsored by Artchive and designated as the first in-real-life meetup for enthusiasts of the Ethereum Name Service’s recently formed “10KClub,” deCashed intends to bring crypto-capable folks together for a night of fun, networking, and cocktails.

“I think there is a big misconception among folks who associate crypto with things like the value of bitcoin,” said Sean Murray. “In my opinion, cryptocurrencies are not investments. They’re payment tools and a means of identity. If you’ve soured on crypto because you were told a coin was going to go up and then it went down instead, that is unfortunate because the actual use-cases for crypto are just starting to be used and are on the verge of mass adoption. You don’t need to invest in any coins, just be knowledgeable of the infrastructure.”

Twitter, for example, has already implemented a limited Web3 mechanism in which ethereum-based NFTs can be used as profile pictures for users that connect their wallets. Instagram too is slated to roll out integrations with ethereum, solana, flow, and polygon THIS WEEK as social media the world over begins its slow evolution forward. Coinbase too rolled out its own social network last week. Similarly, a handful of non-bank lenders have already pivoted to smart-contract-based loans in which lenders are effectively 100% insulated from loss.

Seven years ago there was a big rush for small business lenders to incorporate social media activity into the underwriting process with the premise that much could be learned by what businesses say, share, and present themselves as on social media. Today, social media users are slowly gravitating toward a blockchain-based experience connected to their digital wallets in which their bank statements and their online photos are effectively accounted for in the same system. Do you know how to examine that?

See you at the deCashed three-hour open bar this Wednesday night in NYC at The Refinery Rooftop from 6-9pm if Web3 and crypto appeals to you. Please register in advance. If you need help, e-mail events@decashed.com or call 917-722-0808.

BROKER FAIR IS BACK! – NYC

May 2, 2022
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Broker Fair 2022 - New York Marriott MarquisBroker Fair is coming back to New York City on October 24th at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Anticipated to be the biggest Broker Fair ever, brokers from the small business lending, commercial financing, revenue-based financing, leasing, factoring, and MCA industries, will come together in the heart of New York.

“It’s amazing to have participated in the industry’s growth over the last four years,” said Broker Fair founder Sean Murray. “Our first event launched in Brooklyn in 2018 and now the demand has brought us into a massive newly-renovated venue in the middle of Times Square.”

Brokers, lenders, funders, factors, equipment financiers, fintechs, and the whole small business finance ecosystem can expect a full day of education, inspiration, and high quality networking opportunities.

Early bird registration has just opened. For inquiries or questions, email events@debanked.com.

See last year’s sizzle reel:

Alchemy’s Lending Tech Has Come to the Small Business Lending Market: Here’s What You Need to Know

April 7, 2022
Article by:

Alchemy Site“We are the salesforce for embedded finance.”

Timothy Li, CEO of Alchemy, has launched a financing software for both commercial and small business lenders that can automatically approve applicants through an integrated decision engine. The service offers what he calls a “soup to nuts” digital lending platform — offering lines of credit, installment loans, and even loan servicing.

For the past six years, Li has been building a suite of products for those who want to sell financing. He compared his product to what many companies are now offering in the form of Buy Now Pay Later. As his service began to grow, Li realized there was an “extension” of potential with his service.

“[The] extension of this is that some of the small businesses also happened to be small business lenders,” he said.

 

“ANYBODY CAN PUT THEIR LABEL ON AND HAVE [THEIR LENDING PLATFORM] UP AND GOING IN A MATTER OF WEEKS”

 

According to him, he created the service not as an idea of innovation, but to meet a growing demand from his users. “I heard from all of the small business lenders in the New York area,” said Li. “They said ‘Tim, could you augment or come up with a piece of software fully automated for us to use’”?

Although it took some time, Li said this recent announcement is what the lenders that came to him years ago were looking for. “I said well, we’re almost there, give me a year or two to kind of really properly do it right. So that’s what we’ve done.”

In what he refers to as “private labeled” software, Alchemy’s Lending SaaS (or Lending-as-a-Service) allows merchants and lenders alike to operate a fully branded and operational lending platform with a full suite of financial products. Customers range from tattoo removal companies to lenders, to companies that have now grown to become publicly traded.

The ability to literally send Alchemy a JPEG of some branding and marketing and becoming on online lender is as easy as just that. “Anybody can put their label on and have [their lending platform] up and going in a matter of weeks,” said Li.

 

THE GOOD ‘OL ISO MODEL IS GREAT. BUT…

 

When speaking about the role ISO’s play alongside his technology, Li didn’t dismiss the value brokers play in the small business lending industry. “The good ol’ ISO model is great,” he said. “It’s great that there is a product like this that can help [merchants] grow and drive their company. But as the new generation comes in, they don’t have time. They might be on their phone for five minutes after they close their store or small business, and these kind of products are out there sitting there for them to apply for on their own time.”

Alchemy deBanked
Flashback: Li spoke with deBanked Editor Sean Murray in Aug. 2020

Li hinted that his product is best utilized by merchants who are digitally-native and are looking to have access to data quickly, while being given the time to make a decision regarding the type of financial product best suited to their business.

“[Alchemy] lets them pick what they want to pick based on their own cash flow,” he said. “It’s no longer that there will be a sales process where things aren’t as transparent. The ‘I am not going to tell you who my lender is until I’m paid,’ [thing], you know how the ISO world works. This stuff takes all of that away, and puts it right in the hands of the consumer that needs it.”

When asked if brokers could find any use of this product, Li said that if used right, the value proposition for brokers that use this software is huge.

“Brokers can use our system just like any other lender. If they want to have another way to be able to market to these small businesses, and have them use their products more. It’s essentially HubSpot for financing.”

deBanked CONNECT MIAMI is SOLD OUT

March 15, 2022
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deBanked CONNECT MIAMI - sold out

Update: The deBanked events team is now en route to the location.

Tickets to deBanked Connect Miami have officially sold out.

The incredible demand led to more registrations than any previous deBanked CONNECT event in history.

“People want to network in person, they want to learn about what’s going on in the business around them,” said deBanked president Sean Murray. “But this one has surpassed all of our expectations.”

The March 24th event at the JW Marriott Marquis will be deBanked’s 4th time in Miami since 2018. Attendees of the small-business finance-focused event can expect to connect with brokers, lenders, funders, venders, lead generators, collectors, lawyers, investors, software providers, and more.

Tickets and sponsorships are no longer available. If you are already registered and have questions, email events@debanked.com.

Broker Show Ends in a Cold Call Showdown For The Ages

March 3, 2022
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showdown

The nearly 1-hour long season finale of Equipping The Dream aired on Thursday, concluding the first reality show to ever capture the business finance industry. The six-episode series which followed four aspiring equipment finance brokers, proved, if nothing else, that cold calling and phone sales are not dead.

The show’s contestants capped off their week of sales training with a calling competition that came down to the wire and an outcome that left viewers shocked. Josh Feinberg, one of the sales trainers in Equipping The Dream, explained it best. “It almost seemed like it was scripted, but it couldn’t have been more real.”

equipping the dream - episode 6

Two episodes were released each week starting on February 15th. The March 3rd airing of the finale means that eager viewers can now binge the entire show on deBanked TV without having to wait for future episodes. (Start With Episode 1 here)

The show captured a real life broker training at the office of Everlasting Capital in Rochester, New Hampshire. deBanked’s Sean Murray served as Executive Producer.

“I really had no idea what we were going to capture by having our camera crew there all week,” Murray said. “But what we got is something everyone doing sales in the industry should watch at least once. It came out that good.”

deBanked Spins Off Crypto News into a Separate New Brand

February 28, 2022
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deCashedMove over de-banked, one segment of fintech is becoming completely de-cashed as crypto transactions continue to flourish. The universe of bitcoin, ethereum, blockchain, smart transactions, and NFTs only scratch the surface of the innovation and potential that could one day replace the financial system as we know it.

deBanked began reporting on crypto in 2014 in the early days of Bitcoin and since then, through fits and starts, has increased the amount of coverage in that space. After much internal deliberation, our team decided at the end of 2021 to create an off-shoot brand focused entirely on crypto-related news, deCashed.

deCashed will cover everything from crypto-lending to fintech to smart contracts to NFTs. deBanked launched its own NFT smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain last September and deBanked Chief Editor Sean Murray will be speaking at NFT NYC in June 2022.

“Everything with the deBanked brand and business will remain the same,” said Murray. “I’ve been using and following cryptocurrency for eight years at this point. deCashed will finally provide us with the journalistic runway to expand our horizons into a market we already know and one that has so much untapped opportunity.”

As independent media, deCashed is still in its early days. “It’s live already but stay tuned,” Murray said. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a really long time.”

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...