In a tight lending environment, a growing number of companies are turning to unconventional, digital indications of a company’s health to assess the risk of lending to potential businesses. One company in particular, Kabbage, uses real-time and verifiable data from things like UPS shipments, eBay and PayPal accounts, in addition to looking at a company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, to determine a company’s creditworthiness.
“We can see historical data and current data, and we can see tomorrow’s data. And we are looking at information that could be as detailed as what people are actually buying from you,” said Kathryn Petralia, a co-founder of Kabbage, in an interview with NPR.
These particular arrangements have had success with startup companies, many of which do not have lengthy financial statements or solid credit scores to furnish. Similarly, companies whose credit was scorched during the economic crisis can make a strong case for a loan using their current online footprint.
If it’s true that social media is the new “town square”, expect more traditional lenders to begin considering online variables when qualifying potential loans. Be sure your company’s reputation on social media is sending the right messages and engages with potential and existing customers.