The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2020 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

Nonbank Lenders Increasingly Attractive to Small Businesses – WSJ

Logo for WSJ.com, which published an article about nonbank lendersNonbank lenders are becoming increasingly attractive to small businesses, according to an article published today in the Wall Street Journal. (Alternative Lenders Peddle Pricey Commercial Loans)

The lenders cited in the article include OnDeck Capital Inc., Kabbage Inc., CAN Capital Inc. and Business Financial Services Inc.

Loans Offered by Nonbank Lenders

Nonbank lenders offer loans that typically are for less than $50,000 and have high interest rates – sometimes more than 50% per year. The article says that such loans, nevertheless, are popular for the following reasons. (more…)

WSJ: Specialty Lenders are Lending

In an article published today (Entrepreneurs Find Success With Specialty Lenders), the Wall Street Journal reported that some entrepreneurs who otherwise cannot obtain loans have been able to borrow from banks that specialize in niche industries.

As an example, the article cites Silicon Valley Bank, which caters to high-growth technology and life sciences firms.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

What is a Security Interest, and Why Should I Care?

Form UCC-1, which is used to perfect a security interest

Form UCC-1

This post explains what a security interest is, how it is used, and why it is significant.

A security interest is an interest in an asset that is intended to secure performance of an obligation. Typically, the obligation that is secured is payment of a debt.

Terminology: The person who owes money is called the debtor. The person to whom money is owed is the creditor.

Many of us grant a security interest when we buy a house. In exchange for providing money for the purchase, the lender receives a mortgage (or, in California, a deed of trust). This is a type of security interest. (more…)

WSJ: How to Ask Friends and Family for Money

Logo for WSJ.com, which published an article about asking friends and family for money

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published an informative piece about asking people you know and love (i.e., friends and family) for a loan (Do’s and Don’ts of Asking Friends for Money). Here is a recap of the tips offered by experts quoted in the article:

  • Put yourself in the lender’s shoes.
  • Borrow the money as you would from a bank.
  • Bring in a lawyer to draw up the agreement.
  • Ask for more money than you think you need.
  • Assume the worst.
  • Remember “Hamlet”. [“Neither a borrower nor a lender be….”]

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law? +1 510 547-0545? dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

WSJ: Entrepreneurs Turn to Peer-to-Peer Loans

WSJ.com logo

In an article yesterday (“Peer-to-Peer Loans Grow”), the Wall Street Journal discussed increasing use of peer-to-peer lending sites such as Prosper and Lending Club by small-business owners.

The reason such use is increasing: During and since the financial crisis, small businesses have had a difficult time obtaining bank loans, and the loans that they can obtain often have unfavorable terms. (more…)

Assessing Personal Liability – Read Formation Documents Carefully!

A client, majority shareholder in a California corporation, asked whether there was any way to make a minority shareholder pay part of the corporation’s losses to date. In this particular case, the answer was “no” – but the question got me thinking about when a corporate shareholder or LLC member might be have personal liability beyond the amount payable for the ownership interest.

The LLC section reference and content below have been updated to reflect California?s new LLC law that took effect on January 1, 2014 (see RULLCA Brings New LLC Laws to California in 2014).

A century ago, corporations routinely issued assessable shares, i.e., shares that carried an obligation for the shareholder to pay additional amounts to the corporation under certain circumstances, such as to cover losses or to buy property. Today, however, almost all shares are non-assessable.

(more…)

Asset-Based Lending on the Rise according to WSJ

Logo for WSJ.com, which published an article about asset-based lendingIn an article yesterday (Asset-Based Lending Grows in Popularity), the Wall Street Journal reported that asset-based lending – loans secured by the borrower’s assets as collateral – surged during 2008 and 2009.

The reason: Businesses that lack the credit rating, track record, or patience to seek traditional sources of capital can get loans by pledging their equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, or other liquid assets as collateral.

Downsides: Asset-based lending comes with a relatively high interest rate. If a payment is missed, the collateral may be seized by the lender.

Related post: Realistic Financing Options for Startup Companies

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

How High an Interest Rate Can I Charge?

I recently had a conversation with an attorney in Louisiana, who mentioned that in that state, the annual interest rate on a promissory note was limited to 12%. I told him that in California story is much different.

Article 15 (Usury) of the California Constitution states (simplifying a bit) that the annual interest rate on a loan or forbearance (refraining from requiring payment for a period of time) is limited as follows:

  • If arising from money or goods supplied for personal, family or household purposes, the maximum interest rate is 10%.
  • If arising from money or goods supplied other than for personal, family or household purposes, the maximum interest rate is the greater of (a) 10% or (b) 5% plus the rate charged by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on advances to its member banks.
  • If the agreement between the parties does not specify an interest rate, it will be 7%.

(more…)