This Credit and Brokerage Expert Says Education Is Key

This Credit and Brokerage Expert Says Education Is Key
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This Credit and Brokerage Expert Says Education Is Key

Bladimir Mercedes is a business loan broker and credit specialist. As the Managing Director of American Capital Express, he works with individuals and business owners to help them understand the bigger financial picture, repair credit, and get the business capital they need to take their business to the next level.

Specializing in helping entrepreneurs obtain Small Business Administration loans and other strategic forms of working capital, Mercedes is a strong advocate of transparency and education when it comes to financial matters.

In a recent conversation with Fundbox, he shared how he guides clients to healthier financial habits, his favorite type of business to work with, and how he sees it. industry changes.

Bladimir Mercedes, business loan broker and credit repair specialistBladimir Mercedes, CEO of American Capital Express

Fund box: Hi Bladimir, nice to have you with us. Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you work with business owners.

Bladimir Mercedes: Sure. I am a business loan broker and credit specialist. I own a credit repair company and I’ve had it for about 12 years. I help consumers and business owners with pressing issues on their credit reports, some mistakes they’ve made in the past, other people’s mistakes, and some stolen content. their identity and unauthorized use of their personal information.

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That’s how I started 12 years ago. I started my business loan brokerage dealing with business owners who needed working capital and were working through their personal credit issues.

You’ve started by focusing on credit repair. Can you clarify how you help with that?

BM: Sure. Credit repair is a consumer service that is completely separate from my work as a business loan broker. Sometimes, often due to a lack of education, people just don’t understand how credit reports work and they make mistakes. Identity theft problems can also cause damaged credit. Identity theft is a big deal.

We offer credit repair services. We review people’s credit reports and identify errors and negative information that affects them. We can help customers during the dispute to correct errors and we coach them through credit rebuilding. It’s a very popular service.

As a loan broker, you work with many different types of businesses. Can you talk about some of the bigger challenges you face when working with small business owners?

BM: Sure. One of the biggest challenges we face when working with real small business owners is the lack of education on how to qualify. [for different products]. For example, sometimes we need to let customers know why they might not qualify for a particular lower-interest loan product. That can be very difficult because many times a customer is unaware of factors that could prevent them from getting something like an SBA loan.

One of my challenges is to educate people about the fundamentals, so that they understand why they get what they get.

How is your process of helping people? How do you work with them?

BM: I evaluate many different aspects of their business and finances with them. I review their credit reports when I get the chance and then we look at the cash flow of the business, make sure they have up-to-date taxes and look at their debt service coverage ratio. .

We review a lot together. I deal a lot with SBA loans, and you need to provide a lot of information about your business to qualify for those loans. We look at as many aspects of their business as we can.

Are there specific industries or types of businesses that you focus on in your business?

BM: We are not specific to the industry. The SBA doesn’t have many restrictions and I work pretty much any industry, but there are a few that I love. For example, I like health clinics and small restaurants, and I like trucking companies when they have five or more vehicles. Those are some of my favorite businesses to work for.

What about these types of businesses that you find most interesting?

BM: I’m very results-oriented: I’ve had a lot of success sponsoring them. Also, I find them easy to work with, especially for certain types of restaurants [such as] those with sales of half a million dollars or more and have been around for about three years or more. When it comes to small medical clinics, I’ve helped them with great success, or loaned them SBA short-term working capital regardless of their size.

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Have you noticed any other trends among your customers?

BM: One of the trends I’ve noticed is that people seem to be a little more educated about short-term lending. When I started doing this almost five years ago, it wasn’t like that.

When I started my business, I noticed that many of my clients were unfamiliar with [options like] cash advance, for example, with weekly payments and daily payments. That has created both opportunities and problems. Today, in general, people seem to be better informed.

Why do you think that?

BM: I think that’s how information is being spread and how lenders are sharing information. Part of that is thanks to fintech companies like Fundbox and others that have contributed to the spread of that information. Those help. Almost all loan companies today have an online presence. That’s why people are more knowledgeable right now. If [they] may only qualify for certain short-term loans, now customers know what that means.

One Client: From Overdraft Fees to Prosperity

Are there any great success stories that make you truly happy to have been able to help someone achieve a particular goal using finance?

BM: It’s funny when you ask. There is a customer who is having difficulty managing their bank account. I was able to give them a higher risk loan for about $15,000. That’s all they can get. I taught them how to better manage their money to prevent overdraft fees and pay less because they paid ridiculous amounts in the past; they had to pay thousands of dollars a year in overdraft fees.

Long story short, she followed my advice. Three months later, I was able to loan that customer about $50,000, then I could get her an SBA loan for $345,000.

It’s an unbelievable success story. She is still a customer today. Now, we are looking to buy the building where she operates. She hasn’t returned a single payment since I started training her. She has prospered with her bakery and even opened a second location. Now, we are looking to buy the building from her landlord.

It seems that her journey is very positive. Would you advise business owners to look into funding alternatives to get capital instead of just going to their bank and saying they need a business loan?

BM: Most traditional banks do not lend. It is very difficult to secure loans with your traditional banks. Also, the amount of documents the bank wants can make it very difficult. Fintechs are really good options.

We really know things have changed in the way loans are being made. It inspires other larger lenders to learn from the success fintechs are having. The answer to your question is yes, because the big guys often do not give loans, not meeting the needs of small business owners.

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What do you think business owners should know when they choose a loan broker to work with them? Are there any specific questions they should ask to make sure they’re choosing the right people to work with?

BM: Yes, for sure. It’s actually pretty basic. Just make sure that the broker you are working with is making the best choice for you, not the best choice for them. That can easily translate into a transparent loan like an SBA loan when you know how much the broker is making, you know their compensation, and you know you’re getting the best terms. maybe.

Ask questions and just make sure you’re getting the best selection you can qualify for. Sometimes it’s hard to figure that out because you have to do a lot of research to make sure you’re not making a mediocre offer.

Would you recommend asking their broker, “Hey, is this really the best rate I could be eligible for and why?”

BM: Of course, that’s always a fair question. I get that question all the time and I don’t get annoyed when someone asks. I always try to give my clients the best option I can, even if it’s the least amount of pay and the most of my work.

Cooperation with Fundbox

So far, how does it feel to partner with Fundbox?

BM: So far, I really feel like I haven’t pushed Fundbox to the 15% potential I can. I’ve created some automation, but I feel like I can do more. The relationship was off to a good start. I have worked with Fundbox to fund a number of deals.

The technology is working, the systems you guys have in place, the customer service is working.
I love the reports and dashboards that give me access to what my clients are getting. I think you guys have done an extraordinary job. I have very little feedback on what you can do to improve.

Great to hear! To wrap things up for today, do you have any final advice on choosing the right financing or improving your credit?

BM: Sure. When it comes to improving your credit, paying on time is extremely important. Always make sure you know what your credit score is. Personal credit is used to determine a lot of things when it comes to making a loan, both for your business and on a personal level.

The most basic thing, when you work with a broker, is do you get the best type of loan you can possibly qualify for? The issue is not whether the broker offers it, but whether you are getting the best loan available. That’s a good question for anyone who works with a broker to ask.

Bladimir Mercedes is a Fundbox Top Partner, after connecting 25 of its customers with Fundbox credit. Fundbox Premier Partners receive a range of benefits including lifetime residual commissions and exclusive monthly bonuses. To learn more about the Fundbox partnership, visit our partner pageor ask your partner manager about becoming a Premier Partner.

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