Broker Fair 2021 ticket registration will shut off days before the December 6th event. The broker-centric conference is now officially counting down to its kickoff at Convene in New York City.
“This pretty much happens every time we put on a show,” said Broker Fair founder Sean Murray. “Even though this event is post-covid, we’re looking at the number of registrations so far and are very pleasantly surprised.”
Hundreds of small business finance brokers are registered to attend Broker Fair. The annual event first launched in 2018.
“I don’t know what day we’re going to disable registration yet, but based on the pace I’d say there’s no way we make it until Friday,” Murray said.
Its aim is to become an industry standard. The newly launched Certified Small Business Finance Professional (CSBFP) program will first become available at Broker Fair in New York City on December 6th.
But what’s the difference between this one and others? Steve Denis, Executive Director of the Small Business Finance Association (SBFA), says that his organization’s backing of the CSBFP makes all the difference.
“We’re the largest trade group in the space without question,” Denis said, adding that the group has about 30 members, several of which are among the largest in the country.
“It’s going to be a signal that you’re doing things the right way and want to go out of your way to show that you are doing things the right way,” Denis said.
The certification will require applicants to complete a course centered on understanding products, laws governing the industry, and compliance. The certification exam will focus on testing applicants’ ability to understand key concepts and best practices.
This course is designed to be taken in person. While it will be available at Broker Fair, Denis said that they plan to partner with other events as well.
“We’re going to focus on as many in-person training sessions as possible,” he said.
And it’s not just salespeople they’re targeting. Underwriters, collectors, support staff, and more are not only all welcome to obtain their certification, but are also encouraged.
“It’s open to anyone in the industry,” Denis said. “The more the better. […] It will send a very strong message that there is a diverse group of people that want to take a certification and take it very seriously.”
In the official announcement, it was stated that it would be more than just a stamp and that certified professionals would also be provided with “a way to connect, learn and grow beyond the initial education process.”
Denis compared the CSBFP standard to CFPs (Certified Financial Planners) in the financial advisor space.
Attendees of Broker Fair 2021 can take the course at the event at no extra charge.
New York’s Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department in the Supreme Court of New York issued a landmark decision for the merchant cash advance industry on November 12th.
By affirming the original decision issued in Kennard Law P.C. DBA Kennard Law and Alfonso Kennard v High Speed Capital LLC (Index No: 805626/2020), the Appellate Division agreed that among other things that it is settled law in New York that the underlying purchase and sale of future receivables agreement at issue in the case is not a usurious loan.
On June 10, 2020, plaintiffs filed their lawsuit against the defendant, asking the Court to vacate a confession of judgment on the basis that the defendant’s underlying contract dated back on August 24, 2017 was really an unenforceable criminally usurious loan.
The defendant moved to dismiss and the judge granted the motion, holding that:
1. Plaintiffs’ claim of usury is barred by the one-year statute of limitations applicable to usury based claims.
2. Plaintiffs have failed to plead a cognizable cause of action upon which to seek relief.
3. Plaintiffs have no recoverable damages.
4. Plaintiffs’ claims are barred by documentary evidence and settled law in New York holding that the parties’ underlying agreement was not a usurious loan.
Plaintiffs appealed, hoping that the Fourth Department would be persuaded by their arguments that the agreement was usurious. It wasn’t. Instead the Appellate Division unmistakably and unanimously affirmed the original judgment.
The decision demonstrates that there is consensus across judicial departments. Kennard in the Fourth Department (Western New York) is similar to Champion Auto Sales, LLC et al. v Pearl Beta Funding, LLC in the First Department (Manhattan and the Bronx) circa 2018.
Coincidentally, the attorney representing the losing parties, Amos Weinberg, is the same in both landmark cases.
The attorney representing High Speed Capital was Christopher Murray of Stein Adler Dabah & Zelkowitz, LLP.
Yes Lender is now Fintegra. Along with the name change, the company is bringing on Roger Ferguson, former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve (1997-2006) in an advisory role. Ferguson is also an investor in Fintegra.
“Our new name combines ‘fintech’ with ‘integrity’” said Glenn Forman, CEO at Fintegra. [The name] serves as a daily reminder to our customers and colleagues of our mission and values, which we take very seriously.”
The company’s goal is seemingly to write a lot of deals, and get them funded as fast as possible through a fintech application process. According to a press release, the online application can get merchants their funds within 24 hours of their application being submitted.
When touching upon Fintegra’s goals with the rebranding, Forman spoke on a good work environment along with customer-centric business decisions. “We’re committed to putting capital in the hands of entrepreneurs so they can grow their businesses and improve the lives of their customers, suppliers and employees, and we’ll continue to do so in a highly ethical and empathetic way.”
When speaking about the partnership with Ferguson, Forman believes this unprecedented addition will bring equally unprecedented opportunities to this company.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to tap Roger’s wisdom and experience to accelerate Fintegra’s growth. His track record of success and impeccable ethics are perfectly aligned with our brand.”
Forman and Ferguson are looking to rekindle an old working relationship to help Fintegra take off. “While it’s been a few years since we worked together at McKinsey & Company, it feels great to be joining forces again to take Fintegra to new heights.”
After acquiring Franklin Capital in October of last year, Wing Lake Capital CEO Shaya Baum spoke to deBanked about a new fund the company is unveiling, the Capstone Fund.
A mix of debt and equity has put $50 million into the Capstone Fund, all from investors of the Franklin Fund. According to Baum, the Franklin Fund still has about $100 million in it.
“Wing Lake Capital has two funds now,” said Baum. “There’s the Franklin Fund and the Capstone Fund. The Franklin Fund was launched as a bridge for companies that are stuck in the cash advance merry-go-round. Companies are stacking cash advances until they are using Peter to pay Paul, and then there are no more Peters.”
Comparing the Franklin Fund to the Capstone Fund, Baum described it as a “graduate fund” that will enable companies with too many advances to move beyond them and that it would serve as a stepping stone between the Franklin Fund and traditional SBA or bank financing.
Additionally, the Capstone Fund is also a place where companies who have extenuating reasons why they’re denied credit, but aren’t in distressed business situations, can get access to capital.
Baum’s business model is sometimes at odds with the advance providers his companies try to draw customers away from, with Baum going so far as to say that some of these providers “hate” him. Despite this, he says that some quietly work with him.
“These companies say one thing publicly and privately do another,” said Baum. “These companies that come to us for help are companies that can no longer pay their cash advance debt.”
As part of his company’s program, the advance provider can recover some of its money, he asserted.
“We’re getting 800 deals a week from cash advance companies saying ‘hey, can you help us get out of these?’”
Regardless of the tension with competitors, Baum believes the new fund will ultimately benefit the merchants.
“The Capstone Fund is really focused on growth capital as opposed to restructuring distressed assets. Okay, we’ve restructured your business, you don’t have to pay that cost of capital, you have to focus only on growth. You have opportunities to grow, room for success, now let’s scale the business.”
The fine print of ISO Agreements, long a thorn in the side of brokers when it’s worked against them, is an area that is ripe for change. All too often the price of a referral relationship is a take-it-or-leave-it contract that is not up for negotiation. So says Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source and Co-Chairman of the Broker Division at the SBFA. He told deBanked that he’s gotten major pushback from some funders for redlining deals prior to inking them.
Aware that he is not alone in dealing with this, Weitz is looking to push out uniform agreements to the industry that would align both sides, creating a fair arrangement and providing for mutual indemnifications.
“I want to explain the importance of it on a broker’s side because I think that what is happening is that there are funders who solicit business [by saying] that they are broker and customer-centric, us being the customer, and [then] we get handed an agreement that literally signs [our] business away,” said Weitz.
“If you don’t know any better, you’re totally screwed.”
Weitz spoke in detail about how the concept of redlining an agreement is a part of doing business with large financial institutions, but when it comes to funders, it’s an entirely different situation.
“In most industries, it’s such a normal thing to redline an agreement. We were [working] with AMEX, a huge company, and it was understood like ‘hey, shoot this over to your lawyer, let us know,’ it was already understood that we were going to redline it. In [small business lending] if you want to redline something, it’s almost like the funder gets offended.”
When it comes to mutual indemnification, Weitz talked about how this is the biggest issue in these types of deals, especially as new laws are creeping into certain states that are going to change the way many funders do business. In response to some of these new laws, funders are not only trying to put all of the legal responsibility on the brokers, but forcing them to give up their book of business in order to get deals done.
“Now that there are new laws popping up in different states and being enforced differently, funders have come out with new agreements, and look, that’s okay to do right, any broker worth their salt is going to say ‘hey, we agree to not lie and mislead, we agree to follow the TCPA laws, to follow the CAN-SPAM email laws,’ that stuff is easy. What is with these agreements is that you have funders that say to a broker in the [contract], we want the right to come and fully audit your books.”
After the implementation of his own mutual agreement, Weitz claims that a quarter of the funders he worked with prior to his agreement no longer want to do business with him.
“There is a large 25 percent, and were talking about big name funders that I have stopped working with over the last twelve to eighteen months because they have literally tried to hit me with the most onerous agreement you could ever see, and when I spoke to them about it, they said ‘you know what Jared, most people just sign this and send it back.’ And that made me afraid for the broker industry.”
Although a positive relationship with a funder is imperative to being a successful broker, Weitz believes that some type of mutual agreement will protect people like him from being taken advantage of when things don’t go as planned for the funder.
“The guy that doesn’t let you redline his agreement, you should run away from that guy, because I have been in that scenario, where I’ve hugged, I’ve eaten at a man’s house with his family, and I’ve had that same man when things are down do what he has to do.”
Weitz talked about how the relationship with a funder can start a business relationship, but stressed that a fair agreement keeps it going. “Everyone’s friends when they’re making an agreement. Everyone’s [all] smiles, everyone is handshakes and hugs, but when things are bad in the world, and those smiles turn into straight faces, people look to that agreement, and say ‘okay what can I do?’”
When asked about losing deals to brokers who are willing to sign their lives away to get a deal done, Weitz said that those types of brokers are the ones that even if they do make a quick deal, they will never survive long enough to make a legitimate impact on the industry.
“I think funders will say ‘listen, you sign this agreement we will give you XYZ,’ and let me tell you, that’s the funder that is going to take your lunch from you, and that’s real,” said Weitz.
“The guy that offers you everything to just sign without a redline, is the guy that will crush your business, mark my words.”
Shopify Capital, the funding arm of e-commerce giant Shopify, originated $393.6M in merchant cash advances and business loans in Q3, the company reported. That’s up from the $363M in the previous quarter.
Covid was a boon to Shopify Capital given its dependence on e-commerce businesses. Its 2020 funding volume was almost double that of 2019.
“Shopify Capital has grown to approximately $2.7 billion in cumulative capital funded since its launch in April 2016,” the company announced. The large volume and continued success has landed the Shopify Capital division in the company’s “core” bucket of “near-term initiatives” that will build the company for the long term, according to a presentation accompanying Q3 earnings.