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Ask the Lender

What are SBA loans and how can they help?
Pat Ryan city president Van Wert Pat Ryan, SVP/Van Wert
City President

There are many situations when we partner with the Small Business Administration to provide credit to the business community. The most popular program according to our customers is the SBA504 loan program. It allows a business to finance up to 90% of the cost of a project. The most attractive feature is that approximately half of the financing is eligible for a long term fixed rate of interest. The 504 program is very well suited to a real estate or equipment purchase along with construction projects.

Two other SBA programs we utilize are the 7A program and the SBA Express. The 7A program provides additional security to the bank due to the 75% guaranty the SBA provides. This allows a highly leveraged company to expand its operations while providing the bank with a guaranty thereby limiting any potential loss. The SBA Express program is very similar to the 7A program except it has a 50% guaranty and the maximum loan size is $350,000.00. The Express program has a streamlined paperwork process and is perfect for a lot of smaller companies.

One last program to mention is the State of Ohio 166 loan program. The 166 program is very similar to the SBA504, but it is administered through JobsOhio versus the Small Business Administration. The rates and fees are typically less than the SBA504 rates and fees. The only drawback is that the program is limited to manufacturing and warehousing operations. Retail businesses are not eligible to participate.

We highly recommend that every business evaluate all the available loan programs when making a fixed asset purchase or expansion. Many times the benefits of these programs far exceed the costs.

SBA Lending: Under the 7(a) program the SBA will guarantee up to $5mm or 75% of the loan amount, whichever is less. Under the SBA Express program the amount is $350,000 or less and up to 50% of the loan amount. Under the 504 program the SBA through a Certified Development Company (CDC) will fund up to $5mm with 50% financed by a bank, 40% by the CDC and 10% by the business.

What are my financing options for purchasing equipment?
Chad King business banking officer Lima Chad King, VP/Business
Banking Officer

There are several options to consider when financing equipment. Most often equipment is purchased with conventional bank financing. Under conventional financing you can expect the bank to finance up to 80% of the cost of new equipment or less depending on the age and use of the equipment. Repayment terms are typically set for 7 years or less and rates can be fixed or variable during that time.

For larger equipment purchases or in instances when there isn't enough cash, or equity for a down payment, other financing programs can be utilized. The State of Ohio 166 program allows a business owner to purchase equipment with as little as 10% down. Forty percent of the funds for the rest of the purchase would come from the program and the remaining 50% would be financed by the bank. While there are additional upfront costs involved, the program provides a fixed rate on the 40% it provides as well as a term of up to 10 years.

Leasing may also be an option a business would want to consider. Leasing offers many potential benefits over purchasing but has its drawbacks as well. Leasing generally requires a smaller upfront investment and results in lower monthly payments. Also, leases are accounted for differently than loans which could result in some tax benefits for the business*.

Additionally, some leases include maintenance agreements which could lessen or eliminate those costs over the term of the lease. As a result of these benefits leases are generally more expensive over the entirety of the agreement. Owners must also plan for the end of the lease which will either have a buyout option that would need funded or the equipment is returned which creates a need to replace the equipment if it is still needed.

It is not always possible but it is best to plan your equipment purchase well before you actually need it. Your lender will help you weigh your options and choose the best course of action for your particular circumstances. If you are thinking about purchasing equipment now or think that you will need to make a purchase in the upcoming year please call your lender today to get your plan in place.

*Consult your tax advisor.
Should I buy or lease a building for my business?
Al Saylor business banking officer Van Wert

Al Saylor, VP/Business
Banking Officer

There are pros and cons to buying or leasing a facility for your business. As a business owner, it's important to think about a few things:

  • How long do you think you want to be in that particular building or location?
  • Will you eventually outgrow it?
  • Are you willing to take on long-term debt?
  • Will you want to maintain ownership of the building even if you sell your business?
  • Could you consider leasing space to another company for extra income?

Estimating the anticipated growth of your company and the amount of time you think a particular building will meet your needs is a big consideration. If you foresee your building being adequate for 15 years or more, purchasing may be the right option for you. You will build up equity and have the opportunity to rent space to another company for extra income if you have additional square footage available.

If you think you'll outgrow it soon and don't have the ability to add on to your current space, leasing may continue to be the better option. Leasing also provides the benefit of lower overhead for your business and you can often write off the payment for tax purposes.

Looking ahead to when you're ready to retire, if you own the building, you will need to consider if you will sell it along with your business or maintain ownership of the building itself. How close you are to retirement may also play a role in deciding whether or not you're willing to take on the long-term debt real estate offers.

Due to the recession, the inventory of commercial buildings for sale is larger than in the past and thus, prices may be low enough to make purchasing a good business decision. Rates are still historically low and we work with the SBA and other local financing programs to provide you the most affordable option. Consult your accountant to determine if purchasing or leasing might be the best option for you, then give us a call!

How long will it take to find out if I'm approved for a commercial loan?
Rick Beverly Findlay commercial lender city president

Rick Beverly, SVP/Findlay City President & Commercial Lender

This is a great question! Being a locally owned privately held community bank we have an advantage over some of our larger competitors with local decision-making on our loans. We always want to get an answer back to our clients as soon as we can and we have a loan committee that meets weekly. The time frame will vary based on what is being used as collateral and the size of the transaction.

If you are purchasing a piece of equipment for $100,000 it may only take a couple days to get the loan closed and have the check in-hand. But let's say you are purchasing a parcel of commercial or agricultural land and the loan amount is $1 million. This loan may take a while longer because of a few extra steps we will need to take due to regulatory requirements such as a new appraisal and title (search) opinion on the property. Through this process it may take an average of three to five weeks to close, depending on how quick we get these items completed.

The other factor that will determine Citizens' turnaround time is if we already have your current financial information, such as tax returns and financial statements, or if we need to collect this information from you. If we have this information on file, we can get the loan application started right away, which will speed up the underwriting and closing process. If we do not already have this information, then it will depend on how quickly it can be provided to us. We will work the quickest we can to meet your specific time frames. Our clients are very important to us!

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