Improving your credit score
We are seeing an increasing number of our clients looking for mortgages and loans with their banks. It’s a good thing because it means that our client base is looking ahead at moving home, moving up the ladder by getting a more expensive house, or expanding their businesses.
As owners/directors of a business, your business and personal lives cross over, so these tips to get that dream house or expanding your business to meet your strategic goals will be similar.
The banks and finance houses look at a number of things when deciding whether to loan you money.
Can you pay it back ?
Do you meet their risk assessment criteria ?
What assets do you own ?
As a soletrader or Director of a Limited company your accounts to a bank are just as important as the personal income you are taking from the business.
They generally look at three years accounts, wanting to see that not only is the director taking an income, there is a defined growth year on year, the director is not taking out the complete amount of disposable profit, and keeping the balance sheet positive. This also needs to show year on year growth.
There are two main figures which are of high importance on a balance sheet ive discussed previously, the Net Current Assets, which is an indication of working capital, or cash in the business. The other figure is the overall total balance sheet value, this again needs to be positive.
The more money you wish to borrow the stronger the balance sheet and directors income needs to be.
This is not an overnight task but needs to be planned ahead over a period of time, but by putting in some self restraint and leaving funds or assets in the business you are over time improving your credit score.
Another scoring technique the bank uses is the amount of credit the company is taking and asking for. Whether is through credit with suppliers, a credit card, or a short term loan, ie overdraft. The bank will be checking your records demonstrating that you are being given credit by 3rd parties and are paying it back on time and within the terms of those agreements.
We have a number of clients who have been able to self sustain their businesses by not needing to apply for credit. This will unfortunately go against you if you are looking to expand. You need to be applying for credit every so often so that your credit history is gaining information. Even if you don’t need the money, and don’t want to pay any interest. You can apply for a credit card and just make sure you pay it off at the end of the month, you are naturally improving your credit score just by applying for the credit.
If you have an overdraft already in place its worth having a meeting with your bank manager keeping them informed of your plans for the future. We as a business put it into our routine to have a meeting every six months. As a company did this recently not only did the bank provide us with a larger overdraft than we had originally asked for, but as we had built up a good credit score, and were considered low risk to them they reduced the interest rate voluntarily by half for a much larger credit facility. It is definitely worth staying in touch with your bank manager.
Your own operational processes within the business. If you are giving credit to customers, make sure you are keeping on top of chasing the debt. Keeping your cash inflows at regular intervals this means to a bank that you are very active and have good controls in place, making you low risk to them. Next time youre reading your bank statement take a look and check not only the value of the cash inflows but the number of transactions. Frequent transaction is gold dust to a bank you are demonstrating large activity.
The cash outflows, if you are using an overdraft be sure to come out of the overdraft and into positive at least once a month. And never go over the overdraft. You will be penalised badly by the bank for doing so and can even have a much needed resource taken away. Remember an overdraft is very short term, it can be recalled and cancelled at anytime. I hope you find this article useful and use it a planning tool for your future, both personal and professional.
This blog is intended for information purposes only and is only advice from past experience, you may have other suggestions of your own. It is not intended to be used to make all of your business decisions but as a guide only.