Some Banks Just Don't Play Ball
I read "Final Chapter" (June/July 2008) with interest. We were in business for five years when we decided to build our own facility. We got a loan from a local bank, thinking that would make it easier to work through any problems. We started with a 6.25% interest rate. The second year it went to 8.25%, and the third year it went to 10%. The bank would not refinance, nor would they lower our rate. How are we supposed to survive when they take away any extra cash flow we have? Do they really want another empty 8,400-square-foot building in their lap? Why is it that the banks are not held accountable for what they do to small business?
Joy Sarbou, via e-mail
Applause for Antipreneurial Ads
Business is about maximizing efficiency, and if antipreneurs can do their advertising by word of mouth and not have to pay for it, there is no reason why this should not be taken as a positive development ("Meet the Antipreneurs," June/July 2008). It is yet another way of reducing expenses, nothing more. Antipreneurs target "socially conscious" clients, but then again, every business targets a particular type of client. These people have found their niche. Hats off to them for what they have done.
Mehul Kamdar, via e-mail
I think that the goal of most advertising is to appear authentic to its target demographic. I don't think it's hypocritical if antipreneurs successfully do that. Since I was a kid, I've collected cool-looking local event/band flyers. I never thought the bands were less legitimate or "underground" because they were advertising, because the advertising matched the product. It was cool, local, hip design. The difficulty comes when large corporations try to do the same kind of thing.
screen name: Lauren
It's kind of ironic that the antipreneurs, who pride themselves on being local businesses, are taking such advantage of the Internet, which is a product of publicly funded research and development and a lot of volunteer labor.
screen name: JPL
For Better Loans, Get Better Bankers
As a commercial lender, I've certainly seen a large decline in demand for Small Business Administration lending, as noted in "The Squeeze is On" (June/July 2008). There are fewer applicants, and those I do see tend to carry more credit risk. This is a lethal combination for lenders [loan officers] who are paid commissions. They often resort to asking an applicant to change his or her business plan when in reality the loan should not be made at all. If banks would just get back to finding quality lenders and paying them fair salaries, the sba 7(a) loan program could be much more successful.
screen name: Nathan
The problem with the sba's 7(a) loan program is that bankers want to book the business at any cost, so they jerk customers around to try and make loans fit. Then they say, "Sorry, we can't help you." I am a principal in a commercial lending brokerage firm that writes sba loans for customers all the time. It isn't the program that is the problem, it is the bankers.
screen name: Jason
"The Squeeze is On" captured the contradictions that the sba creates. The chairman of the Senate Committee overseeing the sba stated clearly that when economic conditions are tight, government-backed loans are supposed to fill the gap. Instead we see resistance from the lenders due to high fees that lenders must pay and the decline in property values.
The SBA is a 55-year-old anachronism. Why not let it wind down altogether and save taxpayers precious dollars?
Steven A. Ludsin
East Hampton, N.Y.
When the Founder Is the Problem
In my experience ("MisMatch," June/July 2008), sometimes the person who should get off the bus is the driver—or at least they should sit in the back for a while.
screen name: Glance Inn
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