Forum highlights loan application importance

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The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's 2009 Economic Summit, titled "Thriving in Tough Economic Times," is May 20 and 21. Workshop topics include emerging industries, trends, marketing and networking opportunities, and ways to get through the recession. Admission to the forum is $60 for the general public and $50 for those who attended the Chamber's winter forum series. For more information or to register, call administrative assistant Alli Brook at 875-7000, or e-mail alli@steamboatcha...

Small business owners seeking bank loans need to come prepared, a lending officer told local businesspeople at a lunchtime forum Friday.

Personal and business tax returns, updated balance sheets and current credit reports are key to moving the business process along, said Ruth Dombrowski, a business lending officer with Alpine Bank. Dombrowski was one of four speakers at the forum sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Colorado Mountain College and Mountain West Insurance.

The forum, titled "Where's the Money? Local and Regional Lending Environment," offered locally geared information about state funding programs and loan possibilities in a changing economic climate. Dombrowski said local banks are making business loans, and applicants need to come ready with as much information as they can provide.

"One of the biggest issues that happens, is that at first they want to know what's the rate, and what's the fee," Dombrowski said, explaining that without a full application, a lending officer has a hard time giving a rate. "There is not one loan that is exactly the same as another loan."

Outstanding credit issues, an incomplete financial packet or an un-filed tax return can hold up the loan process, she said.

"It's really a huge communication process. : We're great at helping the customers through that, but we can't do it all without the customer helping us put it together," she said.

In considering business loan applications, Dombrowski said, a bank will look at assets that can carry a business loan through a bad economy and consider what she called the five "C's" of credit: credit score, capacity to service the debt, capital to help service the debt, collateral and conditions in the market.

Applicants also should look at any outstanding payments they might have, she said.

"We're looking at the skills and the ability of the management team, and we consider past-due accounts receivable a management problem," Dombrowski said.

The loan workshop was the fourth and final forum in the series. Topics addressed earlier in the winter include managing a business's bottom line at minimal impact to its employees, how to promote and manage investments most effectively, and maximizing limited resources.

Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president for the Chamber, said the first three workshops in the series were intended to help owners make the most of what they had while business was up for ski season. The loans workshop aimed to help those people figure out what to do next, Evans Hall said.

"We think there are businesses out there that are going to be looking for the ability to extend their existing funding or enhance their existing finding," she said.

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