Funding Opportunities and Small Business Industry News

10:34 14 January in Blog, Business Funding

As the year approaches the end, it is time to focus on what steps we could be taking to increase business during 2019. On this front, there is plenty of good news for small businesses, particularly those who are designated as minority-owned, those businesses which have a HUBZone designation, or Service-Disabled Veteran Owned.

Increased Government Contracts May be Available

The U.S. Treasury Department recently released information about the potential of increased contracts during Fiscal Year 2019 for businesses with the previously mentioned designations. This is great news for those businesses who wish to start doing business with the federal government since this is a great way to grow your business.

Understanding the Designations

Small businesses may not be aware they could be eligible for prioritization to win government contracts. Here are the descriptions of each of the categories where your business may have priority over other businesses when it comes to bidding, and winning government contracts.

  • Minority-Owned Business — a small business where the ownership is at least 51 percent controlled by a minority population may request minority-owned designation. Minority is defined as those identifying with specific groups including Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American.
  • HUBZone Designated — small businesses located across the United States may be surprised to learn they are in a HUBZone. Currently, the commitment is that at least three percent of all government contracts will be awarded to businesses who fall into this category.
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned — these businesses are owned and operated by one or more veterans who have service-related disabilities. Another important note to be aware of is the day-to-day operations must also be managed by a veteran. Overall, there is a commitment to award three percent of contracts to small businesses meeting this criterion. This is in addition to the commitment made by the Veteran’s Administration utilizing the Veterans First Contracting Program.

Rising Wages, Low Interest, Greater Competition

More small business owners are being forced to consider increasing wages because of the tightening labor markets. However, this is not necessarily bad news since interest rates are still well under control. Thanks to some regulations being modified, there is also a lessening of restrictions on small businesses.

During October of 2018, most small business owners believe it is a good time for them to continue to increase hiring, invest more in their businesses and many have experienced greater sales. While this is all positive, most small business owners still feel access to capital is one of the challenges of operating their small business.

Financing Your Growth

Fortunately, small businesses, particularly those who wish to do business with the government have options. Businesses often need additional resources to place successful bids, which in many cases, may be out of reach for a small business owner either financially, or simply due to a lack of contacts.

Capstone Capital Group can help! We have experience helping small minority-owned businesses get the credit they need to grow their business. We also offer a range of services designed to help you get the resources you need to successfully bid on government contracts.

We have helped with non-legal contract reviews, providing bid support letters, and helping minority-owned businesses get the accounting, estimating, and engineering referrals they need to support their bid.

For more information on Capstone’s diverse funding programs, please contact us at (212) 755-3636 to speak with a representative today. Our highly trained, professional representatives will work with you to obtain a minority business loan and start growing your business today. Let us put our years of experience to work and help you grow your business in 2019.

Number One Threat to Long-Term Economic Growth - Explained by Capstone

This is the Number One Threat to Long-Term Economic Growth

12:10 07 August in Blog

Amid positive job reports and a surging stock market, one factor still presents a major obstacle to long-term economic growth in the US: a persistent slackening of productivity. We are currently in the midsts of the longest downward slide in worker productivity since the 1970’s, an unfortunate asterisk that should accompany the latest round of job reports. It’s also likely to keep the Fed from raising interest rates any time in the near future.

Productivity by the Numbers

Productivity — the measure of what goods and services a worker produces each hour on the job — fell 0.5% at a seasonally adjusted rate during the second quarter, according to the Labor Department. That marks the third consecutive quarterly drop in productivity, the longest streak since 1979. What’s worse, the trend shows few signs of abating; productivity growth rang in at just 1.7% from 2007 to 2015, half that of 2000 through 2007.

Why Worker Productivity Matters

For business owners, the importance of worker productivity can’t be understated. The equation is simple: less productivity means more expenses and less profit. On a macro level, productivity is a key gauge in measuring wage growth, prices, and overall economic output — which have all been falling as well.

What’s Killing Productivity?

According to numerous studies, lagging productivity has several culprits. Among the most important are businesses unwillingness to invest in new equipment, machinery, and equipment — the raw materials that translate directly into job growth, wage growth, and gains in worker efficiency and productivity. While the exact cause of lagging productivity is difficult to nail down, it’s worth noting that fixed nonresidential investment, the meat and potatoes of business spending, has also dropped the last three quarters along with productivity.

That lack of investment has lead to a decline in new orders for nondefense capital goods on a year-over-year basis for much of the last year and a half.

What’s the Solution?

As we mentioned in our most recent blog, the majority of US manufacturers are small businesses — and many find themselves sorely lacking the working capital needed to invest in their businesses, jump-start productivity, create backlogs, and grow. As a low-risk remedy, manufacturers and other small businesses with strong demand for their products use invoice factoring to boost their cash flow. That’s where Capstone can help!

Grow Your Business with Capstone

For qualified clients, Capstone provides purchase order factoring, single invoice and full-contract factoring for work performed under contract with credit-worthy accounts. We have highly experienced professionals on staff to facilitate the purchase of work in progress and progress billing-related accounts receivable. Please visit our homepage or contact us directly for more information.

Novel Way for Subcontractors to Find Financing from Capstone

A Novel Way for Subcontractors to Find Financing

20:13 11 May in Blog

Novel Way for Subcontractors to Find Financing from Capstone2015 was a picture-perfect year for construction, a banner year for the post-recession. Yet in 2016, many contractors in the United States are struggling to find financing for construction projects.

The lack of financing has been a reality even over the past several years with the economy recovering by leaps and bounds. It was a reality throughout the housing crisis and even prior to the recession when construction and development were booming. Contractor business financing has been a struggle, but it’s clearly nothing new.

Banks’ Aversion to Construction Financing

Banks are perennially gun-shy when it comes to lending to construction firms. They cite the industry’s volatile revenue fluctuations, the unpredictable nature of construction, contractors’ sensitivity to economic cycles, and excess competition as reason to stay away. The recent failure of several prominent construction firms has only strengthened banks’ resolve to avoid offering lines of credit to construction firms, contractors and subcontractors.

Contractors & Underwriting Issues

Steady bank relationships are often out of reach for construction firms with a poor ratio of accounts receivable to accounts payable and limited liquidity in working capital. But when construction firms and contractors struggle to find financing, subcontractors tend to suffer even more. Banks are hesitant to allow subcontractors’ bonded accounts receivable to serve as collateral for lines of credit, and those who primarily engage in bonded work often find it difficult or impossible to provide additional collateral.

Is there any hope for subcontractors in today’s construction industry?

Factoring: A Solution for Subcontractors

Factoring is a finance technique that allows a company to leverage its accounts receivable and accelerate its working capital through the sale of its accounts receivable to a third party. Specifically, a factor gives a business an advance on a customer invoice — generally between 70 to 90% of the invoice amount – so they can create a backlog of work without equity or debt financing. As the company improves their balance sheet, they increase the likelihood of receiving a traditional line of credit from a bank.

Seize Opportunities for Growth with Capstone

For qualified subcontractors, Capstone offers contractor financing and provides a single invoice and full-contract factoring for work performed under contract with a creditworthy general contractor. Capstone has highly experienced construction professionals on staff to facilitate the purchase of construction-related accounts receivable. To learn more about our contractor business financing and other services, please visit our homepage.

Action on Climate Change Boosts NY Construction - Scope explained by Capstone

Action on Climate Change Boosts NY Construction

21:33 15 March in Blog

Action on Climate Change Boosts NY Construction - Scope explained by CapstoneNew York State has experienced much warmer temperatures over the past thirty to forty years, and the sea level along New York’s coast has increased about 12 inches over the past 100 years. Though past trends do not necessarily predict future trends, New York officials are indicating with their investments that a real threat exists.

The threat of rising sea levels has stimulated construction and infrastructure investment across the world, but nowhere has that investment been greater than in New York. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal cited a University College of London study that found New York City outspends all other megacities in countermeasures to rising sea levels, with $2.2 billion alone in the last year.

The predicted challenges of climate change would affect many sectors including water, energy, communication, and transportation—and this means that New York construction firms, contractors, and subcontractors would be a key part of the solution.

Infrastructure Challenges and Construction Opportunities in New York

The Responding to Climate Change in New York State report (ClimAID) published in 2014 identifies numerous transportation, water, and architectural challenges that could impact New York. It also identifies solutions to these challenges—and all of them suggest a significant increase in construction investment in the coming years.

Infrastructure Challenges

• Increased strain on road surface materials
• Stress on electricity grid
• Delays in railroad schedules
• Sagging of large bridges
• Decreased clearance on waterway bridges
• Traffic and public transportation delays
• Reduced building lifespan
• Increased impact of ships and barges

Construction Opportunities

• Convert water managers to handle large variability
• Install more pumps, water tanks, and filters for water supply systems
• Install leak detection systems, low-flow devices, and rainwater harvesting systems
• Upgrade combined sewer and stormwater systems
• Relocate aging infrastructure out of flood-prone areas and construct levees and berms
• Replace old transformers and wiring with heat-resistant models
• Increase seat length of expansion joints on bridges and lengthen airport runways
• Increase capacity of drainage systems and culverts
• Invest in permeable road surfaces and regrade slopes to direct runoff away from roads and tunnels
• Move communication cables underground

What Does it Mean for You?

New York is directing around $20 billion of local, state and federal funding to complete numerous long-term construction projects designed to mitigate the effects of climate change. Half of that money will go to coastal protection and urban drainage projects, which means huge opportunities are on the horizon for general contractors and subcontractors.

Single Invoice Factoring for Qualified Subcontractors

For qualified subcontractors, Capstone provides single invoice factoring for work performed under contract with a creditworthy general contractor. Capstone has highly experienced construction professionals on staff to facilitate the purchase of construction-related accounts receivable. For more information, read our blog, visit Capstone Capital Group homepage, or contact us today.

Benefits of Trade Financing

Four Undeniable Benefits of Trade Financing

18:14 17 September in Blog

The trade financing market is valued at around 10 trillion dollars. The question is: how do you align your business to profit from it? More importantly, what is trade financing, and how does it work?

What is Trade Financing? 

In today’s global economy, having an international clientele can mean the difference between business success and business failure. Trade financing is a kind of loan that provides the credit needed to fund international trade.

Here are a few examples of how it works. Let’s say you identify a growing market for your product in Europe, but don’t have the funds to fill orders there. A trade financing agreement will allow you to do it. What if you find a cheaper supplier in Asia, but the shipping costs are too expensive? Trade financing solutions will allow you to start buying the goods right away and repay the loan with the earnings from your new international partnership.

Other Benefits of Trade Financing

1.    Flexibility

Nothing is worse than seeing an opportunity and not being able to take it. Trade financing gives your business the breathing room it needs to grow when the opportunity presents itself. As such, payments can be made to the supplier in their local currency. And repayment is also tailored to the borrowers’ needs. Some agreements call for repayment in 30 to 60 days, while others allow up to four months.

2.    Convenience

Unlike a traditional bank or business loan, trade financing requires very little documentation. Trade financing contracts are clear-cut and straightforward, so you won’t end up getting surprise fees at the end of the transaction. When you work with Capstone, we focus on providing a convenient, excellent experience.

3.    Security

Making transactions with foreign companies may be outside your usual scope. Capstone has years of experience connecting domestic and international businesses, and we’ll be able to give you all the guidance you need.  Both you and your client will have the peace of mind of working with a security guarantee from a renowned financial institution.

4.    Transaction Flow

Funds are available almost immediately, which means you can improve your transaction flow. You’ll be able to keep your inventory or stock without having to pay large amounts upfront. The trade financing credit can be maintained on your books as working capital, not as debt.

For more information on alternative business loans and commercial financing, visit the Capstone homepage. Our previous blog entries have more industry news and analysis.

Invoice Factoring

Understanding Invoice Factoring

18:42 20 May in Blog

Invoice factoring is a common practice that enables businesses to receive immediate payment in exchange for selling accounts receivables at a discount to their face value. Once an invoice is“ “Factored” and it is time for the customer pays for a product or service, the payment is forwarded to the factoring company. One of the most significant advantages of factoring is that businesses can receive immediate cash flow with no additional debt that appears on balance sheets.  Therefore Factoring is an off balance sheet transaction. Factoring can also be advantageous for businesses looking to obtain initial working capital without having to demand immediate payment from their customers.

The Invoice Factoring Process

Factoring is a rapid process that usually takes less than 24 hours to complete. The factoring process starts after a business delivers a product or service and sends an invoice to their customer. A copy of the invoice is then sent to the factoring company, which will purchase the invoice in exchange for an immediate cash payment. Most factoring companies offer up to 80 percent of the invoice value with the balance going into a reserve account. Once the purchase of the invoice has been completed, businesses can have the money, minus nominal fees, sent directly to their bank account.

Advantages of Factoring

Many businesses choose to use factoring because it can provide a predictable, immediate revenue stream than can be used to fulfill an order. While many businesses request prompt payment, they can rarely expect it in the real world. Even when discount incentives are offered, many customers will still choose to pay later. These problems can be especially challenging for newly established businesses that struggle to convince customers that they can deliver. Businesses that use factoring can receive immediate revenue without having to demand upfront payment or incur excessive risks.

Additional advantages of factoring with Capstone include:

  • Insurance against customers that fail to pay.
  • No penalties for failing to meet a minimum invoice sales volumes.
  • No contractual restrictions on how funds can be used.
  • Practically unlimited financing that scales with business growth.
  • Additional working capital with no additional debt.
  • Take advantage of supplier discounts by paying early.
  • Add more value to customers though attractive payment terms.

How Factoring Affects the Bottom Line

Factoring fees are an average of about two percent, which many business owners argue can add up to a lot of money in the long run. In reality, most businesses that use factoring can earn several times more than the factoring fees that they pay. Studies indicate that a majority of businesses can scale their production capacity by more than 25 percent without increasing fixed costs. Since limited capital is the primary constraint for most businesses, immediate payment can enable businesses to operate at full capacity and earn several times more than the factoring fees.

Business Requirements for Factoring

As with any other credit service, businesses will need to be pre-qualified. Factoring services are only available to legal business entities that sell business-to-business services to governments or other companies. Businesses will need to have customers with good credit to qualify for a factoring service.   It is also important to have no outstanding invoice leans. Most businesses that meet these basic requirements can be approved to take advantage of invoice factoring services.

Citigroup, Other Big Banks Pass Midterm Stress Test

17:28 14 October in Blog
The nation’s largest banks continue to prepare for exams to be conducted by the Federal Reserve next year. These exams are to determine whether they have the financial strength to handle a severe downturn akin to the 2008 financial crisis.

Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, the nation’s too-big-to-fail banks are required to run themselves through stress tests designed to ensure that they can weather another financial crisis. They do this by determining if they have sufficient liquid capital to handle some hypothetical worst-case scenarios. The “stress tests” are the Fed’s way of mitigating against another dismal performance by the banking sector in response to a financial calamity.

Citibank, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and others have been war gaming in preparation for the official Federal Reserve stress-tests. This round of tests is particularly important for Citigroup, which has had two requests for approval to return capital to shareholders rejected by the Fed. While Citigroup met the Fed’s capital requirements this year, the central bank expressed concern about the company’s competence in measuring the risks facing its global operations.

The Fed uses the so-called Tier 1 common capital ratio as its measure of a bank’s ability to buffer itself against another severe economic downturn. Federal regulations require that banks maintain a minimum of 5% common capital. Citibank chose a hypothetical sharp decline in emerging-market currencies as its doomsday scenario. Defaults by its sister banks in the Far East, and weaker housing markets throughout the region, it assumed, would subsequently occur. It predicted that its ratio would fall to 8.4% under that scenario. The bank’s projected ratio was 9.1% under the stress-test it conducted last year.

J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley passed their own midterms with solid results. J. P. Morgan Chase predicted its capital levels under a hypothetical economic downturn would be 8.4%, down from 8.5% a year ago. Morgan Stanley projected its ratio would fall to 8.9%, down from a 9.5%. Bank of America Corp. said it would have the same capital level – 8.4%- that it had last year under a stressed scenario, but said it took on tougher hypotheticals on some fronts.

Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo & Co predicted they would be in a better position to navigate strong financial headwinds than they were. Goldman pegged its estimated ratio at 10.1%, up from 8.9%, and Wells Fargo predicted its ratio would be up from 9.6%to 9.9%. The Federal Reserve’s annual stress-testing process typically concludes sometime in spring.

As big banks continue to shed riskier investments in order to pass the government’s stress test, small business will most likely suffer.  This is because small business loans may be subject to increased risk ratings making borrowing more difficult. Capstone Capital Group, LLC understands the concerns of commercial borrowers who are considering bank financing.  Accordingly, we offer various business finance options, including “Single Invoice Factoring” which functions as a safer alternative to traditional, and often times unpredictable, bank financing.  Our underwriting guidelines are simple, straightforward and not subject to stringent regulatory oversight and control. Capstone Capital Group, LLC specializes in Single Invoice Factoring (“Spot Factoring”) for firms in need of immediate cash. Spot Factoring provides flexible, no contract invoice selling in exchange for working capital from Capstone Capital Group.  Give us a call today to find out how we can help you.

Regulators Remain Unconvinced of Big Bank’s Ability to Safely Wind Down in a Financial Crisis

19:14 15 August in Blog
 As part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulatory scheme, banks are required to submit an annual “living will” detailing, among other things, the bank’s operations and exposures, in addition to a plan of how the bank could be dismantled without relying on tax payer funded support in the event they reach a point of potential failure during a financial crisis.
 
After a review by the Federal Reserve (the Feds) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) of recently submitted bankruptcy plans of eleven of the nation’s largest banking institutions, the Feds and the FDIC chastised the plans as being “unrealistic or inadequately supported” and that the plans “fail to make, or even identify the kinds of changes in firm structure and practices that would be necessary to enhance the prospect for an orderly failure.”
 
Regulators set a time frame for these banks to address the apparent deficiencies in their plans by July 2015 or face tougher capital requirements, growth restrictions, and even go so far as to break up the bank if they are unable to make significant progress. 
In order to avoid harsher rules and possible dismantling, regulators say banks can take steps to make their bankruptcy plans by establishing a rational and less complex legal structure, essentially showing they can quickly produce reliable information about their exposures, and amending derivatives contracts to make them easier to bring through bankruptcy. 
 
These actions by regulators gives a clear sign they believe that banks aren’t doing enough to insulate themselves and protect the tax payer in the event of a future financial crisis. With increased regulation and scrutiny looming over the banking industry, which isn’t likely to ease up any time soon, banks are feeling the pressure to restrain growth by curbing lending practices.
 
 Some borrowers, like small business owners, may have a more difficult time obtaining the necessary financing they need to maintain and grow their business.  Unfortunately, the focus on unwinding banks and compliance with regulations takes away resources that can be used to help finance small businesses.  Capstone Capital Group, LLC has funding solutions that can get you the financing the big banks can’t provide. 
Capstone Capital Group, LLC has been helping small to mid-sized businesses for years obtain the necessary working capital they need to sustain and grow during uncertain economic times without all the red tape you normally get from most banks.  Capstone Capital Group, LLC specializes in Business finding solutions, Single Invoice Factoring (“Spot Factoring”) for firms in need of immediate cash. Spot Factoring provides flexible, no contract invoice selling in exchange for working capital from Capstone Capital Group.

 

Small Businesses, beware the “Advance-Fee Loan Scheme”!

21:04 05 June in Blog
The “Advance-fee loan scheme”, as the scam is more commonly known, has been around for years.  However scammers have recently intensified their efforts in part due to the current financial crisis in addition to tighter underwriting requirements in regards to small business loan financing created by Dodd-Frank (Too Big To Fail ) Legislation.
 
The scam is fairly straightforward.  By way of telephone, email or internet communication , these so called  “loan broker” con artists target small business owners and entrepreneurs by promising them they can secure a sizable business loan for them and all they have to do is pay the loan broker a fee “in advance”.  According to Alabama Securities Director Joseph Borg, businesses with $1 million to $50 million in revenue are the most common targets because under the new legislation banks have the most difficult time lending to these microcap companies. 
 
What happens next is that the small business owner will pay a substantial upfront fee up to the loan broker with a loan never actually materializing.  The small businessman is ultimately met with dozens of unanswered phone calls and unresponsive emails, with the con man eventually leaving town.  According to Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), this type of scam has been happening with more and more frequency. In 2013, the FTC booked a record 53,833 complaints about advance-fee loans filed by entrepreneurs and consumers.  This number is up from 43,070 in 2012 and 44,504 in 2011. 
 
As mentioned above, these scams typically target desperate business owners who feel like they have no other options.  Paying a broker a fee in advance without any guarantees of success is not the wisest of business moves.  If you are a small business owner looking for additional capital and have been denied a loan by your bank, it is not the end of the world.  Alternatives, such as invoice factoring offered by Capstone Capital Group, LLC, exist which can provide you with the capital you need to get your business back on track and do not require the advancing of upfront fees with the hope your loan will be approved and funded, if at all. 
 
For more information on Capstone’s services, please email at [email protected] or call (212) 755-3636 to speak with a representative today.

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Bronx

20:40 15 May in Blog
Claritza Wilshire, Business Development Officer at Capstone Capital Group, LLC attended the Sixteenth Annual Bronx Banker’s Breakfast.  The meeting was hosted by the Business Initiative Corporation of New York (BICNY) and BronxBorough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
The meeting focused on revitalization of the Bronx’s economic activity and financial projections. The event was part of the several ceremonies commemorating the 100thAnniversary of the Bronx.
Capstone Capital Group, LLC attended with the following institutions: Citibank, Popular Community Bank, Rite Check, Capital One Bank, Hudson Valley Community Bank, Bethex Federal Credit Union, JP Morgan Chase, Ponce De Leon FSB, Spring Bank, Webster Bank, Wells Fargo, Apple Bank, Flushing Savings Bank, M&T Bank, Signature Bank, IDS Corporation, Monroe College, US Small Business Administration, SBDC at Lehman College and SCORE.
Capstone Capital Group, LLC is committed to supporting the development and redevelopment of Bronx infrastructure projects thru its funding programs.
Subcontractors who are winning bidders can rely on Capstone Capital Group, LLC factor programs to assist them in meeting their contractual obligations, working capital needs and supplier credit facilities.
Is it time for your company to partner with Capstone and arrange a factoring facility for your working capital needs? Call us today at (212) 755-3636 or visit our website at www.capstonetrade.com.
View our photos from the Sixteenth Annual Bronx Banker’s Breakfast:
Marlene Cintron, President of BICNY and Claritza Wilshire, Capstone Business Development Office
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Claritza Wilshire, Capstone Business Development Office
Madeline V. Marque, VP of BICNY, Claritza Wilshire, Capstone Business Development Office and Ruben Diaz, Sr.

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