Marlin Finance Review

Lender Overview

Loan types
Working capital loans for small businesses; equipment financing and franchise financing
Loan amount
$150,000 maximum; $5,000 minimum
Interest rates
1.08 to 1.38
Origination fees
2%
Loan term
Fixed rate, self-amortizing loans with terms of between six months and 24 months
Funding time
Apply in 10 minutes; funding in as little as two days after approval
Customer services
Available by phone or email. Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; the MarlinNet online portal is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

About Marlin Finance

Marlin Finance began operations in 1997, and is a direct lender. Since that time, they've provided more than $5 billion in financing to over 300,000 business customers nationwide. They currently have relationships with more than 25,000 equipment dealers, manufacturers, distributors, ISO/brokers, who refer them customers looking for equipment financing and leasing and working capital loans.

Their mission is to provide fast, simple and cost-effective financing to allow businesses to acquire the equipment and technology that they need. This includes commercial equipment financing and some of the best working capital loans for small businesses nationwide.

Marlin Finance goes beyond basic lending. They operate much like a partner for your business. In addition to working capital loans, they also provide equipment financing, franchise financing, vendor programs (loans for your customers) and certificates of deposit for uninvested cash.

Marlin Business Services Corp is a publicly traded holding company (NASDAQ: MRLN) providing nationwide commercial financing and certificate of deposit products. CDs and working capital loans are provided by Marlin Business Bank, while equipment financing is offered by Marlin Equipment Finance.

Marlin Finance Drill Down

MarlinNet. This is Marlin Finance's dealer portal, giving you the tools to help submit credit applications online (such as with Vendor Programs). It provides application entry and tracking, real-time application approval notification, ability to manage active contracts, automated documentation, management of customer databases, and real-time upgrade quotes. Their online tool set is cutting-edge and remains the gold standard in the equipment financing industry. If you're a vendor or manufacturer looking for a finance partner to extend low-interest equipment financing to your customer base, Marlin Finance may be your best bet.

MyMarlin. Marlin's online account manager, providing customers with access to account information, bill payments, and chat with representatives online, 24/7. You can manage your Marlin account, stay current on the latest Marlin product offers and specials, and have access to customer service, FAQs and quick guides. You can access details about your loan at any time through MyMarlin, since you will not receive any monthly statements.

Marlin eLink. This is a web-based integration tool that uses application program interface (API), seamlessly integrated into your e-commerce activity.

It is designed to do the following:

  • Reduce website abandonment, and converts more visitors at the point-of-sale
  • Offers another payment method that will provide choices for the customer
  • Once approved, customers can complete the lending process quickly, and without direct support
  • Provides your company with a competitive advantage
  • Branding Options: Marlin-branded and co-branded

Company Reputation. Marlin Finance has the following ratings from third-party business rating services:

Licenses and Accreditations. Marlin Business Services Corp is licensed as a holding corporation through the Utah Department of Financial Institutions.

Funding Stream - Marlin Finance Working Capital Loans

Working capital loans are offered under the following terms:

Loan purpose. Loan must be used for business purposes. For example, working capital loan proceeds can be used for marketing, inventory, working capital, upgrading software or equipment, or expanding your business. Funds can be used to pay off competitor balances, but merchant must net at least 50% of the working capital loan proceeds. For this reason, Marlin Finance is considered a First-Position business lender.

Loan availability. All 50 states.

Industries funded. Almost all industries will be considered, including construction and trucking. Specific target market includes loans for retail, loans for restaurants, loans for manufacturers, loans for healthcare, and established businesses with personal guarantors who have a minimum of 650 FICO score.

Excluded industries. Attorneys, gambling, adult entertainment, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations

Interest rates. 1.08 to 1.38

Origination and document fees. 2% origination fee, but no doc fee. There is no application fee, and no monthly or annual fees.

Loan term. 6 to 24 months.

Repayment frequency. Daily fixed ACH payments generally, but weekly ACH payment loan terms are offered for strong files. Payments are automatically deducted from your business checking account via ACH approximately three days after the funds have been dispersed into your account.

No stacking. Merchant will be declined for a loan renewal if they layer a competitor loan on top of a Marlin Finance loan. Merchants who need more money after their loan funds are encouraged to come back to Marlin for additional access to capital. Should Marlin decline the merchant for funds, there are other Second Position lenders in the working capital marketplace that will consider the file. However, the merchant should be aware that taking extra funding is a violation of Marlin's contract.

Loan renewals. Merchants are eligible to renew once the original loan is at least 50% paid.

Interest forgiveness. When you pay off your loan early, you'll receive a 5% discount on the total remaining unpaid payment amounts.

Exceptions. Marlin Finance grants exceptions under the following circumstances:

  • Weekly repayments will be considered on a case-by-case basis on strong credit applications.
  • Will consider personal guarantors with bankruptcies discharged more than two years.
  • Tax liens are acceptable with balances under $50,000, and with established repayment plans.

Working Capital Loans Borrower Requirements

To qualify for a working capital loan through Marlin Finance you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be in business for at least two years
  • Have at least 51% ownership in the business
  • Have a minimum of $100,000 in gross annual revenues
  • A minimum personal credit score of 650
  • Social Security number of the business owner(s)
  • Maximum of five negative ending days in the last six month's bank statements

Marlin Finance Loan Application Process

Your loan can be approved in about 10 minutes, and funded within two days. The entire application process is completed online. Or you can complete the process by phone. No application fee is charged, and a 2% Origination Fee will be incurred only if your loan application is approved, and accepted by you.

In order to apply for a Marlin small business working capital loan, you need to provide the following documentation:

  • Business information: Federal Tax ID, Time in Business (TIB), Ownership breakdown
  • Personal information of majority owner(s) (personal credit will be checked)
  • Most recent three months of bank statements
  • Business tax returns required for loans over $50,000

Special situations to be aware of in the application process include:

  • A use of funds description is required on loan amounts up to $50,000
  • For loan amounts greater than $50,000, six months bank statements are required
  • Loan amounts of $75,000 or more require the most recent business tax return

Who Marlin Finance Working Capital Loans Work Best For

We've identified six types of merchants for whom Marlin Finance can be a preferred loan source:

  1. Merchants who need money in a hurry. The loan application process can be completed in a matter of minutes, and entirely online. You can receive funding deposited automatically into your business bank account in as little as two days after approval. This will make it possible for merchants to move quickly as new opportunities develop.
  2. Merchants who prefer a simple application process. There's no question, merchants can be dragged through a meat grinder when attempting to borrow money from banks. Marlin Finance requires little of the traditional documentation, like financial statements and tax returns. In many cases, you can qualify on little more than three months bank statements. Additional financial information will only be required under certain very specific circumstances.
  3. Merchants who are engaged in franchise businesses. Franchising is a core business with Marlin Finance. In addition to working capital loans, you can also have access to franchise financing for both your business and your franchisees. You can virtually automate the loan process for your franchisees, making the entire process seamless for all parties involved.
  4. Merchants looking for more than just a lender. Beyond working capital loans, Marlin Finance also provides one of the best franchise financing platforms, low interest equipment financing loans and certificates of deposit. They also provide a wealth of online resources to help you in the operation of your business, including MarlinNet and Marlin eLink.
  5. Repeat borrowers. The 5% discount on the total remaining unpaid payment amounts provides an incentive to seek renewal financing through Marlin Finance.
  6. Trucking and Construction businesses. These are industries that often find it difficult to obtain financing. Marlin Finance will make loans in these industries.

Marlin Finance Vendor Programs

Marlin Finance offers vendor programs for specific industries that provide financing to the end-use customers of equipment dealers, manufacturers, resellers, distributors, and brokers in various market sectors. Programs are available for the following market segments:

  • Office Technology
  • Security and Surveillance
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Healthcare
  • Food Services
  • Information Technology
  • Transportation

For example, in the Office Technology segment, they provide end-use financing programs for professional offices, law and accounting firms, marketing and advertising agencies, insurance agencies, medical facilities and municipalities. This is the type of preferred customer base that would buy office technology products, which Marlin can provide financing for.

Marlin Finance Equipment Financing

Marlin Finance offers customized equipment financing programs to small businesses. They can be used to update software, replace obsolete equipment, secure business capital, and grow your business. They will provide equipment financing on lease-to-purchase acquisitions.

They offer equipment financing at two levels, Gold and Platinum. The specifics of each level include:

Gold:

  • Application Only Up to $75,000
  • Commercial program up to $175,000
  • Franchise financing with up to 50% Soft Cost
  • Healthcare financing
  • Vehicle financing program
  • Annual funding amount: $500,000

Platinum:

  • Application only up to $100,000
  • Commercial program up to $250,000
  • Franchise Financing with up to 50% Soft Cost
  • Healthcare financing
  • Vehicle financing program
  • Structured Funding Program (SFP) for high risk credits
  • Assignment of residual renewal sharing (optional)
  • Annual funding amount: $1,000,000

Marlin Finance provides an Equipment Payment Calculator to help you determine the monthly payment of equipment you want to finance:

Marlin Finance Franchise Financing

Marlin Finance offers franchise financing through Marlin Business Bank. The program targets single and multi-unit established operators in the restaurant, hospitality, business services, and automotive industries. They work with major client franchise stores, such as Dunkin' Donuts, Hardee's and Denny's. Term loans and equipment financing plans are available to both franchisors and franchisees.

For franchisors, financing is available for investments in equipment, re-imaging, product conversions, working capital and new store expansion.

Franchisor financing is available on the following terms:

  • Financing up to $1 million
  • Terms from 24 to 84 months
  • Master lease agreements
  • One-on-one personalized service
  • Credit decisions in two hours
  • Fixed rate working capital term loans
  • Fixed rate equipment financing plans

Franchisee financing is available on the following terms:

  • Equipment financing from $5,000 to $1 million
  • Credit decisions in as little as two hours
  • Equipment financing quote in just two minutes
  • Flexible terms up to 84 months
  • Deferred payment plans
  • Application only to $250,000
  • Fast funding process
  • Working capital term loan or equipment financing agreement

Marlin Finance Certificates of Deposit

CDs are offered through Marlin Business Bank, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. CDs are available for both business and personal certificates. All CDs are FDIC insured, up to $250,000 per depositor.

CDs are available in denominations up to $100,000, and are available at the following rates (as of August 21, 2017):

  • 12 months - 1.65% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
  • 24 months - 1.85% APY
  • 36 months - 2.00% APY
  • 48 months - 2.15% APY
  • 60 months - 2.35% APY

Prepayment Penalty. All CDs are subject to early withdrawal penalties, if funds are withdrawn prior to the maturity date of the certificate. The penalty will be the greater of half of the interest that would be earned for the term of the CD on the amount withdrawn, or seven days interest.

Kevin Mercadante
About Kevin Mercadante
Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed “slash worker” – accountant/blogger/freelance blog writer – on Out of Your Rut.com. He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides “Alt-retirement strategies” for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires. He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering work-arounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the “savings barrier” and transitioning from debtor to saver. He’s a regular contributor/staff writer for as many as a dozen financial blogs and websites."