How to Obtain a Standby Letter of Credit
Obtaining a standby letter of credit is similar to obtaining a commercial loan, though with a few key differences. As with any business loan, you will need to provide proof of your creditworthiness to the bank.
Unlike a loan, the process for approval for a SBLC is much quicker, with letters often being issued within a week of all paperwork being submitted. Also unlike traditional loans, the bank will require a fee of between one and ten percent of the SBLC amount before issuing the letter. This fee is usually charged per year that the letter of credit is in effect. If the terms of the contract are fulfilled early, you can cancel the SBLC and not incur additional charges.
For small business owners, the standby letter of credit can be a powerful tool for establishing trust with suppliers and vendors. Obtaining an SBLC is proof that you and your company have good credit, and can put many suppliers at ease about providing you favorable financing terms. Furnishing a financial SBLC can often allow you to negotiate payment and financing terms with suppliers from a position of strength in order to get the best interest rates and payment schedule, while maintaining a good relationship with your suppliers.
If you provide services, on the other hand, offering to furnish performance standby letters of credit can be extremely useful to helping your business secure large contracts. Putting your clients at ease by being willing to guarantee your work financially can overcome many of the objections business owners face in the selling process.