For a long time, I have mostly written in this space about the ridiculous Democrats in the House who, tilting at left-wing partisan windmills, are heading in the direction of impeaching President Trump thus almost guaranteeing his re-election in 2020 since there is no chance the Senate will remove him.
This week, however, I have stumbled into an equally ridicules situation which has no relationship with what is currently happening in Washington but could have a serious impact on America’s largest employer—small business.
You may have seen some TV commercials for a non-bank lender named Kabbage. It features actor Gary Cole playing a spokesman from 10 minutes in the future talking to some small business people. After they get the funding they needed, Cole pops in as even further in the future after they got the Gundelfinger Account.
My company has used Kabbage for something like three years.
It’s not a huge credit line but we have made every payment on a timely basis and they have never had any problem with us.
On December 2, we made our normal monthly payment. A few days later, I checked to make sure it was recorded properly. It was. But there was a note on the app screen which said, “You are not currently eligible to take a loan. Call us at 88xx-xxxx to fix this issue.”
So I did.
What they told me was that there was a 60 day hold on our account, the computer makes these decisions and there is no appeal because they don’t know the reason that the computer made the decision.
I asked to speak to an executive who authorized the computer to make that decision.
“Sir,” said the young lady, “That team is not customer facing.”
Not customer facing?
Now I need to make two points here. Nobody is obligated to lend you money any more that anybody is obligated to borrow money. This is a business transaction. You lend me money and I pay it back with interest.
But good business practice dictates that if you make a decision like that—which, by the way, you have every right to make—you pick up the phone and FACE THE CUSTOMER! Maybe your precious computer got the wrong—or no—information.
Kabbage is part of a new group of financial institutions called fintech.
It’s the latest new thing.
They have a proprietary algorithm so they can evaluate risk and make loans fast.
That’s all well and good. And, as welcome as that may be to help fund America’s largest employer, a lender you cannot talk to is nobody you want to do business with.
Suppose, as an example, you are coming up on a payroll and are just a bit short—something which is not unusual in the wide world of small business. You know you have that available in your Kabbage line. Only, when you go to use it, there’s a note, placed there by a computer for a reason nobody knows that you cannot use the money. That’s the sort of thing that can break a small business.
What was point number two that I was going to make?
Only that I made it clear that I was not mad at the nice young customer facing lady. I was mad at her company and then only because information is as important as cash in small business and if Kabbage can’t tell you why, it’s very difficult to want to continue to do business with them—even after the 60 day hold is over. Resigning the Gundelfinger account is a real possibility.
Now, we can get back to politics. But I’ll bet that Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein will see the logic in fixing this problem long before the Democrat morons in the House figure out that they are hamsters making the wheel go around. And I mean no insult to hamsters.
Fred Weinberg is a guest columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission.