“When I think of loans, I think of banks, not equipment finance companies,” says Maurice Brewster, owner of Mosaic Global Transportation, a California limo-sedan shuttle company. But Brewster got a happy surprise recently when an equipment finance company thought of him.
Brewster’s company, a multi-million dollar business with 22 vehicles and an extended network of affiliates, suffered during the Great Recession as did most small businesses. But by the beginning of 2013 the company was back on track, Brewster says, and 2014 points toward a strong increase of 25 percent by the end of this year.
But Mosaic Global bills its clients for services, and waiting for payments can strain cash flow. As a result, the company was unable to take on new clients and was one of several small businesses featured in a story in March appearing in The Wall Street Journal. The story told of difficulties encountered by small-business owners—especially those who are minorities—when trying to secure a bank loan. “I had contacted several banks, and they told me they didn’t like the fact that my assets were mobile, and that my national operations use a network of independent affiliates rather than employees,” says Brewster.
Brewster is African American. He is not certain if race played a role in bank responses, but he points to information in the newspaper’s story that reports only 1.7% of $23.09 billion in loans granted by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2013 went to black borrowers.
An executive at Advantage Funding read the article and took immediate action. “After learning more about his business and discussing various options, we were certain we could offer him a loan,” said Don Coolbaugh, Chief Sales Officer.
Since then the company has provided three more loans and a letter of reference for Mosaic’s use when bidding on municipal transportation projects.
“Maurice and Mosaic Global have developed a close relationship with us, because we figured out how to meet his needs,” says Coolbaugh. Advantage Funding takes pride in maintaining close customer relations and, in fact, Brewster and his contacts at the company are now on a texting basis.
“When we talk, it’s not just about a particular financing need, but also about business strategy,” says Coolbaugh. “We share our knowledge where we feel we can add value. We’re looking for ways to do business, unlike other lenders that present too many hurdles.”
Brewster, meanwhile, is grateful and excited about Mosaic Global’s prospects. “I feel blessed that [people at Advantage Funding] read that newspaper article and reached out to me,” he says.