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Why bank statements matter for a business loan

08/12/2020

What lenders are looking for when they check your statements.

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If you’re applying for a business loan or finance, you may be wondering what kind of paperwork you’ll be asked to supply.

Depending on how much you’re borrowing, a lender will typically want to see proof of your business name, individual income, a business plan and financial statements prepared by an accountant.

They’ll also want to see your bank statements for the following reasons.

Why bank statements matter

While many of us may find it nerve-racking handing over our bank statements, they’re a standard request for any type of business loan you apply for. Business bank statements provide a snapshot of your income and expenses and are a great way for a lender to quickly assess your trustworthiness as a borrower.

A lender will generally want 3 to 6 months’ worth of business bank statements (or more if you have a seasonal business). If you don’t have a bank account for your business, you should get one. Most lenders won’t consider lending to you unless they can see the data in your business bank statements.

A lender will use your statements to check:

  • The registered trading name of your business (and ideally this should appear on every page of the statement). This tells the lender you’re using a business account and not operating via a personal bank account.
  • Who you bank with. If you’re with an Australian bank that’s a tick in your favour and again, it should appear on every page.
  • Whether you’ve supplied the entire statement. If you only supply a few pages of a statement, that’s a red flag for a bank because it may look like you’re trying to conceal something.

What the lender is looking for

Can your bank statements make or break your loan application? Possibly, as it depends how financially healthy and stable your business is.

On your business statements, a lender will highlight things like:

  • Your average monthly sales
  • Daily deposits and recurring payments
  • Your daily end balance (averaged out over a month).

Potential red flags

If your business bank statements show multiple daily deposits and evidence of recurring payments from your customers, that’s a great sign of a healthy business.

But there are some red flags the lender will be looking for too. These include payments you’re making on an existing loan as some lenders may not want to approve finance until that loan is paid off. At the very least, they’ll want evidence of the balance you have left to pay.

A payment history that consistently shows a low or negative balance may also be a red flag. That may tell a lender that your business isn’t financially healthy enough to make payments on a business loan, and getting finance approved might be trickier.

Regular occurrences of non-sufficient funds and overdrafts may also hinder your loan application. One or two mishaps shouldn’t matter, but you don’t want these all over your business bank statements if you can help it.

In conclusion

Don’t be too nervous about turning over your bank statements. If you know your business makes enough money to hire employees, cover expenses and consistently pay off its debts, that all looks good to a lender. Even better if your business has turned a profit for the past couple of years or longer.

Just be as upfront and transparent with a lender as possible when applying for a business loan, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting that all-important tick of approval.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication.

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