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If you're in the finance business, then understanding the financial relationships of your prospects can be a huge advantage over competitors. Researching UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filings are one way to gain an edge. UCC liens are required to be filed and reported to the secretary of state. A UCC filing is a notice to the state that a lender has a secured interest in one or more assets of a business. These assets are used as collateral for a loan. For example, if a construction business wants to get a loan or line of credit from a bank or other financial services company, that business may use company equipment as collateral for that line of credit. Other assets can also be used, such as a mortgage on a building. A financial institution then becomes a secured party for a lien on that particular piece of equipment or property. Not all businesses have UCC liens, but for those that do, that information can be very useful in business development efforts if you know where to find the information, and how to use it. The more information you have before you approach a prospect greatly increases your chances of getting a meeting and ultimately converting that prospect to a customer. The best producers know how to gather intel and have a good understanding of their prospect before attempting to contact them.
To find UCC data in Texas, you can go to UCC Direct at the Texas Secretary of State (SoS) website. This website is separate for the business filing section at the Texas SoS site. There are fees that are charged on a per search basis, and if you want to see the detailed PDFs of each lien, then you can see them here. (Although, a better option is to use the Snap Diligence interactive research platform where you will be able to see even more data about a person or business and you'll be able to see connections and relationships which you won't be able to see at the UCC Direct site.)
So what does UCC data show you? Most importantly it shows you financial relationships, both present and past. UCC liens that are currently active will not only show you banking relationships, if a bank is a secured party, but it can also show you lien expiration dates. Knowing who your competitors are is a huge advantage, and knowing when a lien is expiring is even more important. If you know a prospect has a lien that's expiring, you now have a reason to call them and offer them a better loan rate. By seeing past UCC liens, you can get a good idea of their financial history, who their lenders have been, the length of their loans and who their co-debtors have been. Seeing the co-debtors helps you to see relationships between businesses.
This kind of research works well with new prospects, but as we've mentioned before, you can also research your current customer base to find any opportunities that you may be missing. Researching UCC liens on current customers allows you to find out the same information such as past and present co-debtors as well as financial relationships and lien status. You may be able to leverage this information on your own customers. You could have a goldmine of business right in your own database of customers.