Despite what the pundits predicted a few years ago, alternative lending is here to stay. In fact, it has become a mainstay of small and mid-sized businesses looking for funding AND is slowly eating into the client base of the traditional banking sector.
The SMEs first started noticing alternative online lenders a decade ago when they faced a tightening credit situation in the wake of the 2008 market meltdown. When the capital from traditional sources dried up, alt-lenders saved many small businesses by offering flexible and quick funding.
Over the years, their commitment to the small business community of America and their fantastic funding offers have made them more and more attractive to business owners across the country.
For SME owners who haven’t yet partnered with alternative online lenders, here are a few important facts about the industry.
- Alt-financing offers are flexible
There is an unprecedented amount of flexibility available in the alt-fi sector. Most lenders, such as the leading New York-based Mantis Funding, offer deals between $2000 to $250,000. This means that SME owners don’t have to choose from 2-3 fixed amount slabs that banks offer – they can apply for precisely what they need and avoid getting locked into long term deals. Mantis Funding reviews also point to another feature of alt-lending – extreme personalization. Along with with the amount, almost all terms, fees, etc. are negotiable.
- Expect a fast-moving process
One of the most critical benefits of alt-lending is the speed of the process. Where banks usually take weeks, online business lenders approve and transfer funds within days. For smaller amounts – one can actually get the money in the bank in less than 24 hours.
- The process is all online
The alternative financing sector has managed better processing speed, higher customer satisfaction, and more accurate risk assessment by leveraging the latest fintech. With most alt-lenders, the process is almost entirely online. For example, Mantis Funding reviews the client applications, documents, and all transaction records online.
Digital technology – some of it AI-enabled – is also used to prepare risk assessment reports based on several data points. However, all this digital technology is led by a fund manager who talks to every client to understand their motives.
- Approvals are based on a holistic look at the credit worthiness –
Unlike the banking sector, credit scores don’t hold a dominant position in the approval process. They are just one of the many data points used to decide the ability of the business and the owner to repay the funds. This makes alt-lending especially attractive to business owners with poor credit ratings.
- Collaterals are not mandatory –
Almost all alternative lenders process secured as well as unsecured funding deals. Even if an owner is applying for a significant amount, it is entirely possible to pick an unsecured funding option.
The industry is loosely regulated
Much of the flexibility and speed of alt-lending institutions stem from the fact that the capital is provided by individual investors and not by banking institutions. This reduces the amount of regulation on the industry, making it easier for lending companies such as Mantis Funding to balance their business between high-risk and low-risk companies.
The benefits of alternative financing are beyond doubt – the system has been tested for more than a decade and has proven to be effective for small businesses as well as for investors. Business owners have seen and experienced these advantages first hand and are now loyal alt-fin clients who automatically equate financing with alt-fin – not the banks!