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Invoice factoring Company

We have seen a fair amount of consolidation in the invoice finance market over the last few years and some lenders have left the market for good.

However, in recent years we have seen some new lenders enter the market and I wish them well. Personally I think there is always room for lenders who want to provide a good service to clients and if their ‘positioning’ is niche in anyway I think it is fantastic.

Gener8 Finance seem to have been well accepted and client numbers have swelled. They are targeting the smaller end of the market with a view of providing invoice discounting facilities with flat fee structures to smaller companies who normally only attract factoring offers. I am not sure they are actually offering traditional confidential invoice discounting facilities in the majority of instances but clients are signing up so they are doing something right.

Bob Crumbley who was at London Scottish has set up a company called Team Factors with John Schulman who was at Coface. I have seen very little PR about the company but understand they they are also looking at providing good old fashioned factoring services with good service levels to small businesses. I am not sure how they are fairing but wish them every success.

We have also seen the team who were absorbed by Bibby when they bought Arbuthnot set up again on their own as Innovation Finance. It is very early days and by their own admission they are still finding their feet but I will be watching their progress with interest. Again I wish them every success.

In dealing with various businesses and lenders as an invoice finance broker the biggest frustration is when a lender takes a long time to say ‘no’.

In my position as a broker I always aim to manage any clients expectations in terms of what can be reallistically achieved in the market given their particular circumstances. In dealing with any lender I try and highlight any issues upfront so that our energies can be focussed on mitigating the risks associated with those issues. My aim in doing this is to be honest and maintain a solid reputation but also to avoid any last minute issues. If a lender discovers the deal they have been looking at for the last 6 weeks is not what they thought because of some ‘skeleton in the closet’ then it will come as no suprise that they may change or retract their original offer.

The flip side of this is when a lender is provided full information on day one and the risks have clearly being highlighted to them. Yet after 2 months of visits and negotiations they say ‘no’ and the reason given is what was flagged into them in the first instance. This is frustrating for the broker such as myself but for the business concerned can be catostrophic.

In the most recent instance of this kind I had a client who had breached a facility with the invoice finance arm of a major bank. There had been a number of fairly minor breaches over a 5 month period and as such the lender had given the client 3 months notice to find an alternaitive funder. I approached an independent lender and flagged in the issues asking at the end of my email, “Given these breaches could you assist?”. The lender assured me they still had an appetite to assist and that their credit team were on board. They went to various meeting and chased the prospect for a decision until he finally accepted their terms. A full pre lend survey was done a month into this process and the feedback was that the survey had gone well. However another month further down the line and only when I phoned for an update was I told the facility had been declined. ‘Why?’, I asked. ‘The client has breached his facility with the existing provider’, was the response. In instances like that you have to laugh or you would cry. However, the implication for the client was that in less than a month the existing provider would be looking for full repayment and as such his business was at risk. The lender concerned made apologies and moved on to tell another broker how their ‘national, local and personal’ presence is best for their clients. I have to say I disagree. This has only happened to me twice this year and both times, despite having the assurances of senior people, this same lender have dropped out at the last minute after a protracted process and have declined the deal based on something they were aware of on day one. The lender concerned will not be dealing with any introductions from me going forward having shown it is not an issue with individuals or regions but a company wide problem.

I am writing this to share an experience so that clients don’t make the same mistake. So how do you ensure this doesn’t happen to you? In time critical situations like the one I have described I think it is important to run at least 2 invoice finance companies in tandem through the application process. Be totally upfront with them from the outset and highlight any risks to them. This way they can look to structure a facility that meets your needs but also mitigates their concerns over risks. The time in working with 2 lenders until you have credit backed offers will be repaid in peace of mind and in ensuring you are not back at square one should a lender decide they no longer have an appetite to assist you.

Cheap Invoice Finance Companies can be found but ‘cheap’ is obviously relative to other invoice finance providers. Invoice Finance will typically nearly always be more expensive than an overdraft facility, however Invoice Finance offers additional benefits such as flexibility. Smart Factoring Quotes do however have a few lenders at present who claim that they will not be beaten on price so why not help us test that theory for the benefit of your business?

Cheap invoice finance companies will offer the overall lowest fee structure once you have considered the service fee, discounting fee (including the base rate, minimum base rate and discounting margin), audit fees, set up fee, legal documentation fee, survey fee, etc, etc.. The list of additional fees from some lenders can be extensive and unfortunately not always transparent or easy to understand.

When selecting an invoice finance facility and provider my advice would be not to just shop on price. In the first instance you need to see which invoice finance providers can offer you a facility that works for your business and it’s unique circumstances. It is pointless taking up an invoice finance facility that will not provide what you need just because it appears cheap. Find which invoice finance providers can offer what you require and then do the price comparison ensuring you look beyond the headline rates and consider total costs. Remember you will typically be tied in for 12 months with an invoice finance facility.