(Distressed Loan Advisors offers expert advice about SBA loan modifications and the Offer In Compromise process, and can be reached at JasonTees.com)
Absolutely Not! There is no law that you have to pay an attorney hundreds of dollars per hour to negotiate your SBA debt. That said, you do want to be represented by a firm (law firm or not) with experience dealing with SBA, who knows its policies and procedures inside and out.
Many borrowers think that lawyers have the expertise to negotiate debt, and while some do, many do not. We’ve had many attorneys admit to us that they are not good with numbers, which is why they got into law in the first place! While no lawyer will admit that to a client, having a lawyer who not adept at financial statement analysis and has no knowledge of the SBA process could result in a fairly large bill and no success with settling or modifying your debt.
The key to choosing the right firm to assist with your SBA debt problems is to choose a firm that:
1) Has extensive experience dealing with the SBA and their Offer In Compromise process.
2) Will charge you a fair fee. If they charge you more than 10% of the amount they saved you, that’s too much.
3) Will not charge large upfront fees. The largest part of the fee should be only due if your debt is successfully settled.
4) Makes you feel comfortable. Don’t let salesman scare you into paying their fees. While it is a serious issue, a good SBA settlement firm will be able to answer all your questions, while also being able to give you a realistic idea of what you are facing. If someone is giving you the “doom and gloom” scenario, ask yourself if they are looking out for you, or simple looking to make a sale.
So when do I strongly suggest that my clients consult with an attorney? Any time they are asked to sign legal documents, or if the bank has initiated legal action and the client is seeking advice regarding the suit.