Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to Prepare to Meet with Your Lender

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Want the inside scoop on strategies to improve your chances of securing a business loan? At Grandpoint Bank, we are always focused on how to help our clients succeed, so we’re happy to share our experts’ advice. Stephen and Jim have helped businesses throughout Southern California and beyond secure loans and lines of credit.

“If you’re looking to become bankable in the next year, open up a conversation with your banker now,” says Stephen Friedman, Executive Vice President/Regional Manager at Grandpoint’s San Diego-based division, Regents Bank. “Approach your banker with the right questions to find out how they look at cash flow, collateral and your unique risk elements. Even if they can’t lend you money now, they can at least define specific credit guidelines, providing you the tools to make your business bankable sooner.”

When you’re ready to walk in the door to seek funding for your growing business, make sure you’re prepared, cautions Stephen. “Before you apply for funding, know your business inside and out and have a roadmap of where your business is going – financially and strategically. Know what you want so that you can express your vision to your banker before you apply for a loan or line of credit.”

Our funding experts agree, don’t be afraid to think of your banker as a consulting partner for your business. “We want to build a relationship in which you can openly discuss your strategic plan and seek advice from your banker about how to get there,” says Jim Hackbarth, Executive Vice President and Regional Credit Administrator for Grandpoint Bank’s Los Angeles region. That familiarity and understanding is critically important when you’re ready to apply for credit.

“If you are not an existing client, we’ll sit down with you to talk about your business so that we have a better understanding of your company and your objectives,” says Jim. “That will help us when we do our preliminary review of your loan request. We’ll also talk with you about the kinds of financial products and services you currently use and how you can get the most value from your relationship with Grandpoint. Before finalizing our evaluation of your loan package, we will schedule a site visit to even better understand your business.”

For both new and established clients, when it’s time to submit a loan application, Jim says be sure to include the following:

  • Biographies/resumes of the owner(s)
  • Ownership structure
  • A discussion of management succession
  • A discussion of business strategy and marketing strategy
  • A discussion about suppliers and supplier risk
  • A brief analysis of the competition
  • Sales or customer concentrations
  • A clear outline of your financing needs
  • Three years of tax returns or CPA-prepared financial statements and a recent interim financial statement
  • Three months of bank statements
  • Accounts payables and account receivables – current and aging
  • Three years of projections
  • Disclosure of any government regulatory exposure
  • Entity documents (Articles of Incorporation, partnership agreements, etc.)

Both bankers agree: make sure your financial statements, including your balance sheet, are detailed. “You don’t want to present your banker with financials that look like a smile with missing teeth,” cautions Stephen. And remember, the best business banking partners can offer resources, experience and connections for your business that are often just as valuable as the money they lend.


Protecting your information and your money: Grandpoint Bank Executive Vice President & Chief Risk Officer Susan Wahba provides insight

Our clients are our top-most priority. You entrust us with your personal information, your money and your confidence. We, in turn, have designed and implemented systems to make sure we help protect you and your business from cybercrime.

With new technologies come exciting new opportunities but also new risks and vulnerabilities. That’s why bank regulators require us to collect identifying information about you and your business. All that information helps our risk management team build a summary so that we understand your business and your projected account activity.

With the account summary, we can analyze the activity flowing through your account in order to red flag transactions or requests that seem out of the ordinary and bring these to your attention. Our objective is to prevent fraudulent activity, including people who illegally obtain your personal and financial information, through phishing, computer hacking or other illegal schemes, from using it to defraud your bank accounts.

We also continuously reinforce our protection systems. We regularly conduct audits on our firewalls and retain outside agencies to perform vulnerability penetration testing on our electronic and personal communications systems.

We appreciate the effort you make to assist us in building a summary for you and your business. This detailed information allows us to construct a system to keep your information safe and secure and reduce the threat of cyber and other crimes.

If you’d like to know more about how our risk management systems and strategies are helping to protect your accounts, please feel free to speak with your Grandpoint banker.

Susan Wahba joined Grandpoint Bank in 2012 as Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Officer. She was named EVP & Chief Risk Officer in 2013. She has over 20 years of banking experience, including a regulatory background. She spent 13 years as a risk management examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). She led examination teams on both safety and soundness and Trust Department examinations of numerous FDIC-insured financial institutions. During her time at the FDIC, Susan became a subject matter expert in BSA, fraud, and trust. She is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and has been a member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) since 2010. She currently sits on the Executive Board of the Southern California Chapter of ACAMS.