Business banks are masters of unclear language. If you ever want to find someone who’s saying “no” at the exact same time as they’re saying “yes”, talk to a business loan underwriter. There’s a saying in finance that you’ll get one of three answers from a bank if you’re looking for finance on your own – and none of them are just an outright “yes”. You’ll get an outright “no” if the bank isn’t keen on your application. You’ll get a “maybe” if there’s some merit to your application but significant changes are needed. The closest you’ll get to a positive response is a “Yes if” or a “Yes but”, where a bank might be keen on your application, but still has a number of conditions and concerns to be met. Trying to get a properly positive confirmation from a bank that they’ll finance your loan can be like trying to get blood from a stone!
This is another of the reasons that we’re always emphatic on the important of a broker in the finance process – they know how to turn those ifs and buts into yeses. They can even help you turn those maybes and nos into more positive responses. A big part of successfully finding finance is being able to pick out what’s actually being said from a sea of jargon and protective couching, and parsing a bank’s response into actionable advice and decisions is no exception to this. Banks are naturally cautious when they respond to applications; after all, they’re taking a financial risk when giving out finance, and they want to be sure that they aren’t exposing themselves any more than is necessary. They’re unlikely to give you a straight-up response as they want to make sure that every possible base is covered (which is unlikely to happen first-time around unless you’re an experienced finance-seeker). The trouble comes from trying to decipher exactly what the bank wants you to do when it’s put in language designed to protect the bank as much as possible. That’s something that you can only decipher by learning exactly what such language means, which is where the broker comes into the process. Unless you’re a serial finance-finder, you’ll be talking to the bank a handful of times in your business career. A broker talks to the banks every single day – it’s quite literally their job. They know what’s actually being said to you, and what you’ll need to look at to improve their application.
As we said, banks are masters of saying two things at the same time. It takes a broker to see them saying the thing you want to hear!