Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Merchant Cash Advance Year In Review

It's hard to believe 2007 is almost over. 2007 was one of the most important years in the merchant cash advance industry. There were several stories and events that happened in our industry, here is a recap:

The biggest news of the year by far was the invalidation of the AdvanceMe patent. This blatently obvious patent which was practiced by others for many years before it was filed by AdvanceMe was not only the cover story of several industry publications including The Green Sheet and ISO & Agent Weekly but it was a featured 1/2 page story in The New York Times and The International Herald. If this patent was not invalidated, we could have seen the end to fair competition in the merchant cash advance space.

Another big story of 2007 in the merchant funding sector coincides with the meltdown of another industry, the subprime mortgage market. Since 1000s of subprime mortgage brokers are unable to earn the same income they were previously, many have migrated into the merchant cash advance space as reported in September this year in the merchant cash advance blog entry, Invasion of the Subprime Mortgage Brokers. I believe those former subprime mortgage brokers that were looking to make a quick buck realized like any business, it takes time, money and morale to earn a good living. Those that entered were lured with high hopes and promises that turned into reality - meaning that "bad deals" aren't getting approved and the commissions aren't as high as they were led to believe. We are starting to see an exodus already of several of these brokers who can't find a funding company to still work with them after a couple of months because the bad debt on their paper is so high. Those mortgage brokers that are taking the long term approach, selling this product properly and not looking to make a quick buck should do alright in the long run.

While 2007 saw many funding companies popping up in 2007 (at some point it seemed like that there were more merchant cash advance companies popping up than there were Starbucks or McDonalds), we also started to see some merchant funding companies leaving the industry in 2007. In addition, there are rumors circulating on a monthly basis of some credit card factoring companies running into challenges with their lenders / investors to the point that they have to limit the dollar size and/or the monthly volume of deals they can fund. There is no doubt in my mind that in 2008 you will see mergers and aquisitions within the merchant cash advance industry as well as some companies simply closing their doors.

Another top story for 2007 (especially the second half of the year) is the tightening up of approval rates by various merchant cash advance companies. It's not secret that if you are going to pay large commissions to buy marketshare (which you can only do for so long) and your bad debt is not at a controlable rate, it's a recipe for disaster. Several new MCA providers tried to buy marketshare in 2007 by paying large commissions to ISOs / agents to later either reduce the commissions, terminate the relationship with various sales agents and/or tighten up extensively on the types of deals they will fund. Just like credit card processing there will soon be business types that are virtually impossible to get approved for a merchant advance.

Last but not least, 2007 was the birth of the Merchant Cash Advance Blog. I have received 100s of emails since inception thanking me for taking the time to publish this resource. The daily traffic to this blog increases from month to month. I hope its content has been helpful since I started writing this blog on the merchant cash advance industry and as always I'm open to suggestions / comments for additional topics.

I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday and the next blog entry, predictions for 2008, stay tuned...

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