Candid Conversation with 2 Latina Money Pros

Candid Conversation with 2 Latina Money Pros

Closing Out Hispanic Heritage Month with Tips for Latino Owned Business Impacted by the Pandemic

By guest blogger, Angelica Urquijo

In real estate, it’s all about "Location, Location, Location." For our Latino business community, the focus should be "Plan, Plan, Plan."

Latino businesses have been the engine fueling the growth and revitalization of communities all over the United States, according to a Barron's article and a recent Latino Donor Collaborative report. If the U.S. Latino population were an independent country, it would rank as the eighth-largest economy in the world, with a 2017 output of $2.3 trillion.

Overnight, all that changed. COVID-19 ravaged our vulnerable Latino communities, destroyed dreams, and claimed precious lives. Our gente is resilient and determined to see the other side and save the business they worked so hard to start in their search for the American Dream.

And those PPP loans we heard so much about—the more than $10 billion set aside from the CARES Act to provide a safety net for small businesses impacted by COVID-19? Well, those dollars didn’t get into the hands of many of our Latino owned businesses. Why? Many were not prepared.

During a Zoom charla (a.k.a. conversation) with my two amigas Millú Ramirez, CFP®, of Urban Wealth Management and Paula Bahamon, Vice President and Community Development Officer at Mission Valley Bank, they provided insight that can position our small Latino business owners for future success in tapping into capital for their business.

“In many cases, applications were turned in incomplete, or they lacked business records such as an income statement or current tax returns. Mission Valley Bank received 360 applications for PPP loans. We funded 100% of those loans, most under $1 million, and about 15% were Latino owned businesses,” shares Paula Bahomon. She attributes the high success rate to the fact the applicants had an established relationship with the bank, and they were prepared.

Paula refers to the 5 C’s as critical for small business owners to position themselves favorably when seeking funding from a bank:
  • Character
  • Collateral
  • Cashflow
  • Capacity
  • Conditions

Millú Ramirez, CFP®, with Urban Wealth Management, works mainly with women experiencing life transitions. She adds, “Fear of the unknown and lack of information often prevent many small business owners from reaching their full potential and accessing capital when they need it the most.”

Millú suggests it’s essential for Latino business owners to surround themselves with their own personal board of directors or advisors that will prepare them to navigate unforeseen challenges like we’re facing today. The team looks like this:
  • Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Banker
  • Financial advisor

Additionally, take advantage of the free business resources in your community offered by the Small Business Development Council (SBDC), nonprofits, and local chambers of commerce such as the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce.

Banks carry out extensive background checks on prospective clients; our small business owners should research banks, too, to identify the financial institution that aligns best with their needs. Paula recommends a small bank for a business with less than $30 million in sales. One added tip: “Take time to get to know your banker, invite them for coffee, help them better understand your business and what drives you to get out of bed each day to head to work.” It works both ways, she adds. “Relationship building is essential to ensuring you can access money for your business when you need it the most.”

As far as getting your personal finances in gear, identify a financial advisor, if you don’t already have one on your board of advisors. At Urban Wealth Management, they have a motto: “We start with our clients where they are today. We don’t look back. There is no judgement.” The pandemic poses a threat to our Latino community, but their youth, tenacity, and growth rate positions them for long term success.

Urban Wealth Management is committed to the success of Latino and Black owned businesses. Look for upcoming blogs and webinars with resources to support your growth in 2021. We invite women to join the Smart Women/Savvy Money Club.

About the Author
Angelica Urquijo

Angelica Urquijo is a bilingual public relations professional with more than 10 years' experience in broadcast journalism and strong ties to the Latino community. She is passionate about storytelling and making a difference in the community.