Bank Issues Humorous Quarterly Earnings Statement

August 10, 2023
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bankThink all banks are boring? First Guaranty Bank which operates primarily in Lousiana and Texas, opened its most recent quarterly earnings with a letter from its president Alton B. Lewis.

“Resilient: Springing back, rebounding,” Lewis begins in his address to shareholders, citing Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary Second Edition. “Returning to the original form for position after being bent, compressed or stretched. Recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyant. Another good word is strong. An even better word is tough. These are words that describe what First Guaranty has been during a six month period in which we have survived wound after wound, not of our own causing as we continue to deliver to our shareholders, customers, and our staff members extraordinary results.”

It then goes on to say that there’s been “enough crying over spilt milk” and that “basically, we have and will continue to make a lot of money for our shareholders.”

Lewis appears to have at least delivered. “We have significantly increased our loan interest income to offset the increased cost of deposits which are set by the Federal Reserve,” he said. “For the quarter, we made over $2,000,000 for our shareholders even after the FDIC assessment.”

Please Send Four Months Bank Statements

July 20, 2023
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bank statementsAt some point in time the industry decided that the most recent four months bank statements constituted a solid baseline to understand a business’ financial picture. So deeply rooted is this precise number of statements that certain states like California now require that underwriters collect a minimum of four months statements to calculate a business’ average monthly historical sales. Curiously, there’s also a maximum. California does not want funders using more than twelve months of historical data in their calculations.

“The current four bank statements just give us a general idea of how the current position and standing with the business is, if they’re paying their proper overheads and their expenses,” said Ken Tsang, the Head Underwriter and VP at Fundkite. “And more of a general idea of what revenue they’re making right now…”

For deeper underwriting, however, he said they may ask for more, a common trend in the industry.

Gary Jules, Underwriter at Power Capital, also asserted that they rely on four statements as a baseline.

“If it’s a seasonal business, we may ask for more [statements],” Jules said. “Basically, we just want to see get a general broad picture of how much the business is generating a month.”

For Jason Hausle, who does Sales and Business Development at Quikstone Capital Solutions, the requirement is only two months bank statements but they also need six months worth of merchant processing statements because they specialize in split-funding. Although the merchant processing statements give them a feel for historical revenue figures, they find value in the bank statements for other reasons.

“We like to use the bank statements,” said Hausle, “the two most recent just to make sure there’s no other positions or liens that would pose risk for underwriting.”

Requests for statements industry-wide generally seem to top out at twelve months. Indeed, states like California limit funding providers to using a maximum of twelve months data in their monthly historical average sale calculations.

Tsang at Fundkite expressed that a limit of twelve is generally enough anyway.

“I would say, to an extent, yes, anything exceeding 12 months might be an issue because after all, we have to keep our business relationship with our ISO partners and with the merchant in general,” said Tsang. “We don’t want to create any issue where it becomes excess–pretty much excessive, and it might create any issues with our relationships…”

The Intriguing History of the Automated Clearing House (ACH)

April 26, 2023
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sending moneyThe Automated Clearing House (ACH) was born in the 1970s as a response to the inefficiencies of paper-based transactions, and it’s been revolutionizing the world of electronic payments ever since.

In the late 1960s, the United States was facing a mounting problem: the rapid growth in paper checks. Banks were drowning in a sea of paper as they manually processed these transactions. It was a labor-intensive, time-consuming, and error-prone process.

Enter the ACH, an electronic network that emerged as a solution to alleviate the paper burden. In 1972, California’s Bank of America and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco piloted the first ACH program. Their goal was simple: to streamline the check-clearing process and improve efficiency within the financial industry.

In 1974, the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) was formed, providing a much-needed governance structure for the ACH network. Its role was to standardize processes, establish rules and guidelines, and promote the adoption of ACH services across the nation.

As the number of participating financial institutions grew, the ACH network flourished. Electronic transactions gained popularity, and by the end of the decade, paper checks began to lose their dominance.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the ACH network continued to evolve. The advent of the internet and new financial technologies further propelled ACH adoption. Direct deposit, electronic bill payments, and other ACH services became commonplace, reducing the need for paper checks.

In the 2000s, ACH transactions grew exponentially. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21) in 2003 accelerated the transition to electronic check processing, further cementing the ACH’s role in the financial landscape.

Today, the ACH network processes over 25 billion transactions annually, transferring trillions of dollars. As the world becomes increasingly digital, the ACH network is adapting to meet the needs of businesses and consumers alike.

The introduction of Same Day ACH in 2016 marked a significant step towards real-time payments. This service allows for faster processing of transactions, reducing the waiting time for funds to be available.

As the ACH continues to grow and evolve, it remains a crucial component of the modern financial ecosystem. The once chaotic world of paper-based transactions has transformed into a streamlined, digital landscape, thanks to the innovative spirit that gave birth to the Automated Clearing House. And as technology advances, so too will the ACH, ensuring its place in the annals of financial history.

Goldman Sachs Cutting Loose its Marcus Loan Portfolio, Is Going Hard on Savings Accounts

April 18, 2023
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Goldman SachsGoldman Sachs followed the windup of its Marcus online lending business by taking a $470M loss on a partial sale of its loan portfolio and transfer of the rest of it to held for sale, the company revealed. Marcus still exists for the bank as an online savings account brand, which it has found very adept at acquiring deposits.

Goldman’s actions with Marcus were explained in January when CEO David Solomon said “…we tried to do too much too quickly.”

When Marcus first launched, Goldman Sachs was widely viewed as trying to compete with LendingClub in the online lending space. Both companies are now more famously known to consumers for another product, a high yield savings account. Marcus offers 3.9% APY on savings right now while LendingClub offers 4.25% APY. Despite LendingClub’s perceived edge here, Goldman Sachs announced yesterday that it was teaming up with Apple to offer an Apple Card savings account that pays 4.15% APY.

Don’t Run To The Big Banks Because of SVB!

April 6, 2023
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David Roitblat is the founder and CEO of Better Accounting Solutions, an accounting firm based in New York City, and a leading authority in specialized accounting for merchant cash advance companies. To connect with David, email

The weekend of March 10 saw the largest and most significant banking failure in the United States since 2008 until the Federal Government announced its (don’t-call-it-a-bailout) deposit guarantee on March 13.

Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were thought to be niche and regional banks whose actions wouldn’t affect the broader banking industry, but when they had to sell some of the long-term US treasury bonds that they over-invested in at a loss as their worth plummeted when interest rates ballooned, panic quickly spread and launched the first social media run on the banks. To stop this, the Government guaranteed that all accounts in both banks would be guaranteed their full sums, even if they were over the FDIC-insured amounts of $250,000.

So with the benefit of two weeks of hindsight, how did this collapse affect the cash advance industry?

While Silicon Valley Bank catered primarily to the venture capital and tech industries, Signature Bank in New York was known for its welcome embrace of crypto and alt-finance businesses, and many MCA companies had accounts there.

When Signature Bank failed, some of the MCA companies we work with at Better Accounting Solutions started considering transferring their accounts to the “Big Four” banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo.

Their reasoning made sense: Amid criticism of their decisions in the aftermath of this collapse, representatives of the Government and financial regulatory agencies suggested they wouldn’t follow the approach they employed this time round if another bank failed, and instead would weigh up the specific bank’s size and significance in each specific instance to decide whether or not to guarantee depositor’s accounts.

Understanding that their funds would not be protected if there was another crisis in the banks they worked with, several cash advance companies wanted to move their funds to banks that would be considered “too big to fail”, and their money would be guaranteed by the Government in the case of a calamitous collapse. They also wanted to start spreading out their funds across multiple banks to not surpass $250,000 in any of them, to ensure their money was always insured.

There are two issues with this response to these legitimate concerns:

  • When a merchant cash advance company starts working and relying on the services of a big bank, they do that without understanding the rules and regulations these banks impose on their clients and how they may be affected, particularly a cash advance company.

    Even if you try to hide what your business does, once the bank finds out that you’re in the MCA space-and count on them finding out sooner rather than later-, you’re business will likely be subjected to a thorough, extensive and painful review process to determine whether you’ve broken any of their rules. During this time, they may freeze your accounts (on average for 3 months) and cripple your business’s ability to operate during this time.

  • Additionally, when trying to stick the FDIC-insured sum of $250,000 in each bank, you’re limiting yourself to an extremely inefficient and unsustainable way of doing business. It affects your ability to cover your operating costs, fund deals and have money available on hand when you need it.

To responsibly manage these risks while balancing your ability to do business, this is what we’ve been advising our clients:

Before beginning to work with any bank, speak to people involved in the MCA space (brokers, funders and even accountants) to get a list of which banks are friendly to the industry. Ensure that they understand the business and don’t have onerous regulations and practices that will not allow you to run your business without their constant intervention.

Once you know which banks to work with, we advise our clients to open accounts with two of these banks and split their funds equally between them. This ensures they have somewhere to send their money in case one collapses, and if they can’t get it out in time, they still have access to half of their capital while waiting to see how the Government responds. This 50/50 approach allows MCA companies to run and grow their merchant cash advance businesses efficiently during ‘times of peace’ while anticipating and preparing for the consequences of another collapse.

As the Government proved during this crisis, in the age of rapid communication a massive run of the banks can be mobilized within minutes, which forced the Government to (“not”) bail out a small bank to stop a larger collapse. I-and other experts- remain convinced that in the event of another collapse, they’ll be forced to follow this same policy and guarantee all deposits of all sizes at all banks, which is why I confidently advocate for this 50/50 approach.

An important disclaimer: This is an opinion article analyzing the specific collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, and the response MCA companies should have to it broadly speaking. Every case and merchant cash advance company is different, and for specific advice and guidance, they should contact the author directly.

What a Prime Customer Would Expect From a Non-Bank Lender

March 15, 2023
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In the current banking environment, we asked what a prime customer would expect from a non-bank lender should they be forced to go that route:

Customer Experience:

I would expect a seamless, user-friendly online or mobile application process, with responsive customer support via phone, chat, or email. I would appreciate transparency in terms and fees, as well as clear communication about the loan approval process and timeline.

Interest Rates:

Since non-bank lenders typically have less stringent regulations and higher risk tolerance than traditional banks, I would expect the interest rates to be somewhat higher than those offered by prime credit banks. However, I would still look for competitive rates, possibly through comparing multiple non-bank lenders, to ensure I’m getting the best deal possible.

Loan Terms:

I would expect flexible loan terms, such as the ability to choose the loan duration, repayment schedule, and options for early repayment without penalties. Additionally, I would expect clear terms and conditions, including any fees associated with the loan, such as origination fees, late payment fees, or prepayment penalties.

In summary, while I would anticipate higher interest rates and potentially less stringent lending requirements, I would still expect a high level of customer service, transparency, and flexible loan terms from a non-bank lender to make the borrowing experience as positive as possible.

SVB: ‘Send us your biz and we’re making new loans!’

March 14, 2023
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Silicon Valley BankRemember three minutes ago when Silicon Valley Bank was the 2nd largest bank failure in American history? No? We don’t either! According to SVB’s new CEO, the one installed by the FDIC, depositor money is not only protected but the bank is also in the process of ramping up its business!


“If you, your portfolio companies, or your firm moved funds within the past week, please consider moving some of them back as part of a secure deposit diversification strategy,” wrote new SVB CEO Tim Mayopoulous on social media. “We are also open for business for any new customers. We are actively opening new accounts of all sizes and making new loans.

In a six-paragraph plea for business, Mayopoulous mentions its lending business twice. “We are making new loans and fully honoring existing credit facilities,” he reiterated.

SVB “failed” on March 10th. Its shareholders were wiped out and its executives all fired. But that was Friday. These days, it’s a happily growing bank. So if you need a loan, you know where to go…

Don’t Count Out the Bank When it Comes to Small Business Lending

November 21, 2022
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bank building“So ideally, the best-case scenario for a business owner is always to try and get approved by a bank, it gives them more flexibility, you’re able to build that relationship with the bank,” said Juan Caban, Managing Partner at Financial Lynx.

It’s an old adage that the bank is the best option, but given their historically tough criteria and reputation for sluggishness, the feasibility has long been a question. Caban, however, said that obtaining a bank line of credit is not as daunting as it sounds. Qualifying businesses (TIB 2+ years, 700+ FICO, and favorable industry) can obtain a pre-approval in 24 hours, approval in 7-10 days, and funding in another 2-3 weeks, making the entire process last about 3-4 weeks overall, according to Caban. And brokers can earn a one-time fee of up to 5% as well, he added.

“Bankers tend to be a little old fashioned oftentimes, now some of that’s changing in how they evolve,” said Patrick Reily, co-founder at Uplinq. “We’re dealing with some really interesting progressive banks in the last five years that are thinking about ‘how do we do better and how do we change things,’ but the reality is that they tend to move more slowly.”

Reily’s company, Uplinq, empowers lenders like banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions to approve and manage risks on loans they would have otherwise declined.

“Some of the companies we work for, they’re able to increase the number of people they lend to by 5 to 15 fold,” Reily said. “Think about that. That’s a huge difference.”

Technology, it appears, is widening the approval window, which means business owners shouldn’t count out options they previously thought impossible.

Caban of Financial Lynx, echoed same, explaining that business owners should explore all potential avenues.

“We pride ourselves in knowing the trends and products in banking and can be a great asset for Brokers/ISOs,” Caban said.

“I think it’s smart always to look broadly and understand what your options are, who is best capable to serve you,” said Reily.