Bryan Miller is the president of Business Finance U.S.A., which acts as a broker between small businesses and lenders. Miller has been helping Florida businesses find financing for more than 30 years and has helped provide $500 million to 3,300 corporate clients.
Q. What is a money broker, and how is it different from a traditional bank?
At the moment, most traditional banks in Florida are not lending any money. We represent financial sources all over the country that do lend money. The biggest difference at the moment is that we can actually provide a service to a small business that needs money for working capital, for growth, to maintain stability or even to survive. A lot of people out there are looking to lend money, but each has different criteria. I know the criteria at different banks, and I match people with those institutions.
Q. What role does a financial institution play in assisting its customers in a down economy?
In any economy, it should be providing short-term working capital. Years ago, banks started going from short-term monthly loans to 90-day loans to one-year loans, then up to 30- and 40-year mortgages. Banks should be providing short-term working capital for businesses, for growth, for acquiring equipment, to expand production and to provide working capital while they wait for receivables.
Q. What questions should a business ask its bank to make sure its plan is financially strong?
They should ask, ‘How do I work it out so that I have at least six months reserve either in credit line or cash or continuation insurance to provide for working capital for the company if there were a catastrophe?’
The reason for the reserve is to take advantage of steep discounts on merchandise that a business can buy when another company goes out of business or is seeking cash and they let go of inventory for very low prices. A business could save up to 75 percent on the purchase price of inventory if they have the cash to act quickly.