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Have you ever bought a car without looking under the hood? Probably not. When our underwriting team is reviewing a funding request, they often talk to business owners to get a clearer picture of the in’s and out’s of their business.

At Swift Capital, our underwriters are experts at double checking the details of a funding request and using the documents provided during the application to understand the overall health of a business. (More on how they do that here.)

During that process, an underwriter might need to speak to a business owner directly. We call that conversation a merchant interview. It’s a chance for our underwriters to talk with a business to better understand how it runs and how any funding might be used.

We asked Senior Team Leader Sean Steller in Swift Capital’s Underwriting Department to give us an idea of what a business owner can expect and how they can be prepared when it comes to their merchant interview.

Q: When is a merchant interview necessary?

A: An underwriter will speak to business owners if clarification or additional information is needed. The size of the funding requested also helps the underwriter determine if a merchant interview is necessary. For more substantial funding amounts a merchant interview is always needed.

Q: How long will a merchant interview take?

A: It depends on the complexity of the business and how many questions an underwriter has for the business owner. Some may be very brief and others may take a little longer.

Q: When will an underwriter contact a business?

A: An underwriter contacts a business owner typically within 24 hours after all of the required documents are received.

Q: What information will the underwriter be looking for?

A: The merchant interview has two purposes. The first is to make sure that the underwriter has all the information needed to get a complete picture of a business. The second is to try to prevent any surprises for the business owner by keeping them up to date on the funding process and what happens next.

Topics an underwriter would typically cover with a business owner:

  • A general business overview: industry, specialization, typical payment terms, terms for paying suppliers and vendors
  • Current accounts receivable and current accounts payable
  • Plans for using working capital
  • Clarifying questions about bank statements: balances, transfers, debits, and deposits
  • Other financing and its related payments
  • Relationships with landlords, vendors, suppliers, and other principle players in a business

Q: How can you prepare for the interview?

A: It’s helpful to quickly look over any documents submitted as part of an application before speaking to an underwriter, because the underwriter will most likely have questions related to those documents. An underwriter is also willing to talk to an accountant or bookkeeper if there are questions about the bank and financial statements that need further clarifying.

Q: What else does a business owner need to know?

If an underwriter learns something in the interview that needs clarification, there might need to be a follow-up conversation or request for further information.

Knowing what to expect during the merchant interview will help make the funding process fast, simple, and efficient for business owners seeking funding.

Our mission at Swift Capital is to unleash the potential of every small business by providing them with fair and convenient access to working capital. We harness data and technology alongside personalized human expertise to see the true potential in every business. Did you like this post? Tell us what you’d like to see on our blog. Email us at [email protected] or tell us here.

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