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A Surprising Obstacle in Small Biz Lending...Fax Machines

Board of Directors - Tuesday, December 13, 2016


By Trevor Dryer | November 21, 2016

No movie scene conveys society's frustration with old-school office hardware better than the famous one in "Office Space" — in which a group of disgruntled co-workers destroy their company's fickle printer with baseball bats.

These days, bankers may feel similarly about their fax machine, a relic that predates the digital age but is still making loan processing difficult.

Fax machine use has declined to the point where many offices no longer have them at all. Electronic communications are infinitely faster and more efficient. However, one diehard fan of faxed communication still exists. It will surprise no one to hear that that holdout is the Internal Revenue Service.

This preference isn't merely inconvenient and out-of-step with modern business practices. When the IRS documents are transmitted via fax, it slows down lending to a degree that may threaten small business' livelihood. It also introduces an unfair advantage to unregulated digital marketplace lenders, who aren't bound by the same antiquated rules and therefore can act with greater speed. The result? An unequal playing field among lenders, higher lending costs for small businesses and a competitive landscape that doesn't operate as efficiently as it could. All because of the lowly fax machine...

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