Small businesses in Nigeria and all over the world are grappling with the problem of refinancing their already existing loans. Not only that, in tough business environments like Nigeria, many small businesses have had to take out loans in order to keep the business afloat.
It sounds like a good idea in the short term, but macro-economic factors like inflation, which generally increase the cost of sales for these small businesses and ultimately make it difficult for these businesses to repay their loans. This is because they are small, which means they have very little leeway to pass their costs on to their customers without risking losing them to other alternative services or products or to a larger competitor who owns a very well established market share. This then affects their potential profits which would have been used to refinance their loans.
That is why in a country like Nigeria, in addition to getting loans from loan sharks, who give loans with high repayments to their customers and not to mention the recent trend of how these platforms share the personal information of those who have defaulted on their payment obligations. general public in an attempt to shame them into repaying their loans, it is quite difficult to obtain reasonably priced loans from banks and microfinance banks.
As a small business owner who has now taken various loans from different sources, it becomes very difficult to keep track of all this. Here’s why debt consolidation is very important for small business owners to know.
What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation is a smart financial strategy for small business owners who have incurred multiple debts from different sources. Consolidation merges multiple bills into one debt that is repaid monthly through a debt management plan or consolidation loan.
Debt consolidation lowers the interest rate on your debt and lowers monthly payments. This debt relief option unravels the mess that business owners face every month trying to cope with multiple bills and multiple deadlines from multiple card companies. In its place is a simple remedy; single-source payment, once a month.
How it works
Debt consolidation is the use of different forms of financing to pay off other debts and liabilities. If you are struggling with different types of debts, you can apply for a loan to consolidate these debts into one liability and pay them off. Payments are then made on the new debt until it is fully paid off.
Most people apply for a debt consolidation loan through their bank, credit union, or credit card company. It’s a good place to start, especially if you have a great relationship and payment history with your institution. If you are denied, try exploring private mortgage companies or lenders. Creditors are also willing to do so for several reasons.
For the borrower, debt consolidation maximizes the probability of collection from a debtor. These loans are usually offered by financial institutions such as banks and credit unions, but there are other companies that specialize in debt consolidation services that offer these services to the general public.
An important point to note is that debt consolidation loans do not erase the original debt. Instead, they simply transfer a consumer’s loans to another lender or type of loan. For true debt relief or for those who do not qualify for loans, it may be best to consider debt settlement rather than or in conjunction with a debt consolidation loan.
Going deeper, there are two major types of debt consolidation loans; secured and unsecured loans. While secured loans are backed by one of the borrower’s assets, such as a house or car, unsecured loans, on the other hand, are not asset backed and can be more difficult to obtain. Unsecured loans also tend to have higher interest rates and lower qualifying amounts. Regardless of the type of loan, interest rates are always generally lower than the rates charged on credit cards. And in most cases, the rates are fixed, so they do not vary over the repayment period.
Why it matters to you and your business
Debt consolidation is a great tool for people who have multiple debts with high interest rates or monthly payments, especially for those who owe N10 million or more. By negotiating one of these loans, you can enjoy one monthly payment instead of multiple payments, not to mention a lower interest rate.
As long as you don’t incur any additional debt, you can also expect to be debt free sooner. Going through the debt consolidation process can reduce calls or letters from collection agencies, as long as the new loan is kept up to date.
However, it’s important to remember that while the interest rate and monthly payment may be lower on a debt consolidation loan, its payment schedule may be another Pandora’s box you don’t want to open. Indeed, longer payment schedules mean paying more in the long run.