Tips for Negotiating Settlements on Delinquent Business Loans[yoast-breadcrumb]
Tips for Negotiating Settlements on Delinquent Business Loans
If your small business is struggling with debt from delinquent loans, you may be able to negotiate a settlement. A settlement is an agreement between you and the lender where you pay a lump sum that is less than the full amount owed, and the lender agrees to forgive the remaining balance. Negotiating a settlement can help you resolve debt and move forward with your business.
Here are some tips for negotiating the best possible settlement on your delinquent business loans:
Before starting negotiations, get all your financial paperwork in order. Make a list of all your business debts and loans, including who the creditor is, the amount owed, interest rates, and payment status. Gather all loan agreements, statements, and other paperwork. Understanding the full scope of your debt situation will help with negotiating settlements.
Prioritize your debts
Not all debts are equal, so prioritize which ones are most important to settle first. Loans secured by business assets like equipment or property should be high priority. Settling these first can help you avoid repossession or foreclosure. Unsecured loans that are severely delinquent or have high interest rates should also be high on your list. Make a plan for the order you want to approach creditors.
Calculate a reasonable offer
Decide what you can realistically afford as a lump sum payment for each debt settlement. Look at your current finances and projected income to determine what you can pay. Creditors often agree to settlements of 50% or less of the amount owed, but your offer depends on your individual situation. Crunching the numbers will help you make fair settlement offers.
Reach out to each creditor once you have an idea of what settlement you want to propose. Explain that you are experiencing financial hardship and want to discuss options for resolving your delinquent account. Be prepared to share details on your business finances to help justify your settlement offer.
Make your best offer
Present your lump sum settlement offer to the creditor along with a proposed payment timeline. Explain why this is the best you can offer based on your current ability to pay. Negotiation often involves some back-and-forth, so be prepared to consider slightly adjusting your offer if needed. But try to get the creditor to agree to your original proposed settlement terms.
Get any deal in writing
Before sending any payment, be sure to get the settlement terms in writing from the creditor. Signed documentation should state they will accept your lump sum payment as payment in full and forgive the remaining unpaid balance. This protects you from any issues down the road.
Consider debt consolidation
If negotiating individual settlements with multiple creditors seems overwhelming, debt consolidation may be an option. This involves taking out a new loan to pay off multiple debts at once. The new consolidated loan will have just one monthly payment. Consolidating through a SBA loan could provide better terms and help resolve delinquent debts.
For some small businesses facing severe financial distress, bankruptcy may be the most viable option. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, eligible business debts can be discharged without repayment. Consult a bankruptcy attorney to see if this is the right choice for your situation.
Work with an attorney
Consider enlisting help from a business attorney experienced with debt relief and negotiations. An attorney can deal directly with your creditors and make sure any settlements are legally sound. This can give you peace of mind that your rights are protected.
Don’t wait too long
It’s best to start settlement talks with creditors before debts become severely delinquent. Creditors are usually more willing to negotiate and agree to discounts on debts that are less than 6 months past due. Acting early improves your chances of successful settlements.
Be persistent and patient
Negotiating settlements takes time and effort. You may need to follow up multiple times with creditors and counter their offers during back-and-forth discussion. Be persistent in making your case, but also patient as you work out an agreement. With concerted effort, you can reach amenable settlements.
Resolving delinquent business debt through negotiated settlements can be challenging, but is very possible. Following these tips will help you secure deals with creditors to pay off loans under terms you can manage. With preparation and perseverance, you can reduce or eliminate burdensome business debt through strategic settlements.