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Financial Insights


A step-by-step guide to building credit for your business

Building credit for your business is crucial for entrepreneurs, as credit access is vital for many businesses. By establishing business credit, entrepreneurs can fund their operations, cover expenses, hire employees, and purchase inventory or machinery.

If you're just starting, it's essential to understand the differences between business and personal credit and how you can begin building business credit. Here's what you need to know:

Building credit for your business vs. personal credit


Unlike personal credit, which is tied to your Social Security Number, business credit is linked to your Employers Identification Number (EIN). Here are the key differences between the two:

  • Personal credit is reported to consumer credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, while business credit is reported to business credit bureaus such as Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.
  • Personal credit reports typically include information about your credit history, employment history, and salary. Business credit reports, on the other hand, may include information about your company's financials, payment history, and business structure.
  • Personal credit scores are calculated using the FICO model, while business credit scores can be calculated using the Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX model or Experian's Intelliscore Plus. Generally speaking, it's easier to improve a business credit score than a personal one.


Can sole proprietors establish business credit?

Sole proprietors don't necessarily need an EIN to run their business for tax purposes, but if they want to establish business credit, they'll need one. This also means they'll need to open a business bank account separate from their personal accounts.


Why is building credit for your business important?

Establishing business credit is critical because it protects your personal assets if trouble arises. If you use personal credit to run your business, you put yourself and your family at risk if the company goes bankrupt. Creditors will have access to your personal accounts, and you'll be personally responsible for covering the expenses.

How to get started building credit for your business.

After registering your business and obtaining an EIN, you can request a business credit card from a banking institution. A business credit card is an easy way to build a good credit history, provided you pay on time and keep the balance low or at zero every month. Here are some other ways to establish business credit:

  • Establish credit with suppliers: Some suppliers and vendors report payments to business credit bureaus, so working with them and paying on time can help build your business credit.
  • Obtain trade lines: Trade lines can include credit accounts for goods or services that your business uses regularly, such as a vendor that provides your office supplies or a supplier that provides the raw materials for your products.
  • Apply for a small business loan: Applying for and paying back a small business loan can help establish your business's creditworthiness. You'll need to get a D-U-N-S number before doing this, which simply requires registering your business with the Dun and Bradstreet bureau.

If you're interested in building credit for your business, get in touch with us to learn more about your options.


Real Estate Business Loans for Investors: What to Know

February 2, 2023 – Commercial real estate can have a high barrier to entry, but determined entrepreneurs willing to put in the work and time can see a substantial return on their investments. Read on to learn more about real estate investment loans and how to maximize your relationship with your lending team.

Real estate business loans for investors: what factors to consider

There are many factors to consider when seeking a real estate investment loan. Some include:

  • Loan Terms: The loan length, repayment schedule and covenants will determine if the agreement is viable for the investor.
  • Collateral Requirements: Depending on the Loan to Value (LTV), a larger down payment may be required. Credit History: Banks typically check the borrower's credit history while underwriting  a loan. Commercial landlords with a strong credit and operating history are more likely to receive more favorable terms.

Real estate business loans for investors: preparing the request

Commercial landlords should be ready to answer questions when asking a bank for a loan. The more prepared they come to the appointment, the better!

Using a multi-unit retail building landlord as an example, here are some questions a banker will ask when a real estate investment loan is requested:

  • What historical income and expense information do you have on the property?
  • Do you have copies of current leases, certified rent rolls, and expense reports?
  • What recent capital improvements have been made to the property?
  • Are the real estate taxes being assessed properly?
  • Is there an available environmental report on the property?

This helps the bank understand where to begin building a proforma cash flow, as cash flow is what ultimately repays the loan.  

  • Does this property pass the cash flow test?

Interest rates rise and fall all the time, which means making loans on the same property is a lot different today than it was six months ago and will be six months from now. Interest rates affect cash flow, which determines whether or not repayment abilities will be impacted. 

  • What does your credit look like?

In addition to using the proposed property as collateral, the bank, in many cases, also requests a personal guarantee from the commercial landlord. This guarantee provides additional payment protection for the bank. That means the bank collects personal financial information from everyone involved in purchasing the property (even if it is an LLC) to ensure their credit history and financials are in order. 

  • What does your tax history look like?

While savvy entrepreneurs try to be as tax efficient as possible, inaccurately reporting income is illegal and a non-starter when it comes to real estate investment loans. Banks ask for tax returns, and commercial landlords should be prepared to present them.

Real estate business loans for investors: our approach

What sets Pan American Bank and Trust apart from other banks is that we are not a multi-layer decision-making bank. We believe in the quality over quantity principle, and that building long-term relationships with our clients is the key to success for all parties involved. 

We provide continued support to our commercial real estate clients through personalized concierge banking services and direct access to our lending team 24/7. Choosing us as your lending partner means you're getting more than a real estate investment loan; you're getting bespoke advice from bankers who care.

Get in touch with one of our Commercial Lenders and learn more about your commercial real estate loan options today.


Pan American Bank & Trust Named 2022 Best Bank to Work For

November 29, 2022 – Pan American Bank & Trust has been named one of the 2022 Best Banks to Work For. American Banker has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify banks that excel at creating positive and supportive workplaces for employees.

This year 90 banks earned a spot in the ranking of Best Banks to Work For, based on an anonymous employee survey and a thorough review of the benefits and perks offered. The full 2022 Best Banks to Work For list will be featured at

“I am humbled and honored to lead a group of such talented individuals. This award symbolizes Pan American Bank’s strong culture and brand, which instills pride in each one of us,” says President and CEO Frank Cerrone.

This is the second time that Pan American Bank & Trust has been recognized by the annual Best Banks to Work For program. The survey and awards program is designed to identify and honor banks with the best cultures for helping employees thrive.

“The banks recognized on this list are trying hard to create workplaces that employees want to join,” said Chana R. Schoenberger, Editor-in-Chief of American Banker. “Especially during this moment when companies are experiencing a shift in how, where, and how much employees work, banks are paying attention to how they can best retain their people.”

Determining the Best Banks to Work For involved a two-step process. The first consisted of evaluating each participating bank’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second consisted of employee surveys aimed at assessing the experiences and attitudes of individual employees with respect to their workplace. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the final ranking. 

To be considered for participation, banks had to have at least 50 employees working in the U.S. and been in business for a minimum of one year. Best Companies Group managed the registration and survey process and also analyzed the data to determine the final ranking.  

For more information on the Best Banks to Work For program, visit

About Pan American Bank & Trust

Pan American Bank & Trust is the premier bank for entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities.  As an independently owned institution, PABT is invested in our client's success because we are invested in our communities. We fiercely reject one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter banking for a more customized and adaptable approach. We meet clients where they are, so we can get them where they want to go – together. 

About American Banker

American Banker empowers banking professionals with unique analysis and insight into the ideas transforming their business and industry. Across its journalism, events, research and benchmarking, it helps drive the way forward through the complexity of business innovation, retail and commercial disruption, technology, regulation and reform. With a banking community 850M strong, American Banker’s content connects leaders online, in person and in print every day.

About Best Companies Group

Since 2004, Best Companies Group has specialized in identifying and recognizing great employers to work for. We are an independent research firm that ranks companies based on our established research methodology. Our surveys provide actionable, hard-to-obtain data that companies use to improve employee recruitment and retention.


Bringing Banking to You

It’s one thing to create a warm and welcoming environment inside a bank – it’s another to have that essence of hospitality transcend the physical location. Since our inception, Pan American Bank & Trust has made it our priority to extend that feeling to all our customers – no matter where they are. What does that mean? It means our staff quite literally travels to you and your business to assist your accounts. 

"The Uber of Banking"

Call it concierge banking or "the Uber of banking" – we call it a regular day of work. Whether it's business lending, treasury management, or even personal accounts, one of our staff members will come to clients if they cannot make it to one of our five branches. 

We don't charge a fee for this personalized banking service – our intent is to make our clients' lives easier and build deeper relationships. Sometimes, being able to talk about business obstacles and drill down solutions is better done on-site – team members can stay focused in a familiar environment without worrying about outlying factors like traffic. It's also much easier to complete treasury management training this way because employees can learn on their own POS systems. We're able to help them troubleshoot cooperatively with their own IT support. 

Personalized Banking Everywhere

This service isn’t just reserved for our immediate area, either. We’ve traveled as south as Mokena and as north as Crystal Lake – nowhere is out of the question for our clients. We love these opportunities to meet them where they are because it gives us a chance to connect on a deeper level.

For example, we recently visited one of our clients on a Friday – which in their office is “Fun Sock Friday.” We knew we couldn’t show up empty-handed, so we brought a half dozen “donut worry” socks and our own “Dream Bigger” branded socks wrapped around our client’s favorite wine bottle.

The Feedback that Fuels our Travels

Though many of our clients who take advantage of our concierge services are businesses, it’s important to know we also offer these services for personal accounts. We recently assisted a lovely couple who had trouble getting to a Pan American branch. The husband was essentially homebound, and the wife would need to call another family member to help her husband if she were to leave for the bank. 

When we told her on the phone we would come to her home to help her with her transactions; she was near tears. She’s never had a banker offer to go the extra mile – and it was a relief not to worry about the logistics of her husband’s care in this situation. 

These are the interactions that keep us going. Service to others and good corporate citizenship is in our DNA – and we will continue to offer these amenities to all of our clients for as long as they give us the privilege of being their bankers.

Need to talk to one of our experienced bankers? Remember you can always get in touch with a real person over the phone – call us now!

Establish Financial Literacy Early with a Minor Savings Account

Many young people receive no for­mal education on finances. Instead, they learn about mon­ey by observing their parents, care­givers, oth­er adults, and peers. Pan American Bank & Trust offers savings accounts for minors as an incentive to promote financial wellness from a young age.

By establishing a minor savings account, you can begin to have fundamental money management conversations with your child in a fun and interactive way. 

Why is financial education necessary for youth?

Before children are saddled with financial obligations in young adulthood, it’s important they learn about personal finance. Recent research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison concluded that fourth and fifth-graders exposed to financial education increased their financial capability later in life. A PBS study shows children’s money habits are already set by seven years old.

Opening a minor savings account can contribute to children making sound financial decisions later in life. 

Opening a savings account for a minor

In order to start a minor savings account at the bank, a child will need a parent or a guardian to set up a custodial account.  While the account is technically the child’s property, the parent or guardian manages the account on behalf of the minor.  

The Benefits of Savings Account for Minors

Just like a piggy bank at home, a savings account is a tangible method to teach children about the importance of savings. While it may be tempting to control the account yourself, taking the extra step to involve your child in opening and managing the account will help establish foundational money values early. 

Maximizing Financial Education with a Youth Savings Account

Opening a savings account with us is just one way to teach your children about money. Here are some other activities to keep financial education fun and engaging:

  • Give incentives to save. For example, offer to match savings for a particular goal.
  • Walk your children through your purchasing decisions when grocery shopping. Explain how couponing and budgeting work.
  • Discuss big-ticket items like car shopping by explaining marketing tactics, negotiations, and the premise of loans.

The earlier children can learn and understand the importance of good financial health, the more wealth we hope they can acquire over their lifetime. Are you interested in setting up a savings account for your child? Come into any of our five branches and speak to one of our relationship bankers today! 


C&I Lending: The Pan American Advantage

Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered as investment or personal finance advice. 

While most banks offer commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, Pan American Bank & Trust gives entrepreneurs more than just capital. We equip owners with a team of decision-makers dedicated to seeing their businesses grow. 

What is a C&U Loan?

A commercial and industrial (C&I) loan is a loan made to a business to provide it with funds that can be used for day-to-day operational needs (working capital) or to purchase machinery. We frequently work with companies seeking working capital to pay their employees, bills, and inventory needs. 

Commercial and industrial loans usually have variable interest rates tied to the bank's prime rate or another benchmark rate. Many borrowers must also file regular financial statements, which could be monthly, quarterly or annually. This helps banks get a complete picture of a business's financial health. 

Obtaining a C&I Loan

In order to obtain a C&I loan, a business needs to put together a proposal that may include some of the following:

  • A business and management experience profile
  • Business plan
  • Loan request (i.e. type of equipment being purchased, line of credit size)
  • Loan repayment
  • Personal and business financial statements
  • Income and cash flow projections

Benefits of a C&I Loan

C&I loans allow businesses to bypass the typically laborious process of obtaining equity investors. While investors can add value to businesses with their capital, and networks, C&I loans can help companies raise funds needed for expansion in more straightforward terms.

Securing C&I Funds

We understand how important it is for businesses to have access to cash flow. When owners get in touch to discuss C&I loans, our relationship bankers visit their job sites to understand how they operate.

"We strive to understand the business almost as well as the business owner does," says Joe Haugh, Executive Vice President & Director of Lending. 

We often bring our President or Chairman to client visits, so business owners feel confident in their decision to bank with us. 

"We're showing our clients that they have a team of decision-makers dedicated to their account and success," says Haugh.

What sets us apart from national banks is that we are not a multi-layer decision-making bank. The same people who visit clients make decisions on our loan committee. If a business tells us they need to buy a piece of equipment tomorrow or they need cash flow now, our team is empowered to give them a quick yes or even quicker no so they can move forward or pivot accordingly. 

"You'll never meet the bank president or chairman of a larger bank," says Haugh. "The exposure to the executive team is what sets us apart. We're coming to you owner to owner, entrepreneur to entrepreneur."

Continued C&I Support

Our relationship bankers provide continued support to all of our business clients. When we aren't having one-on-one conversations with our clients, they're communicating with us through their financial reporting. 

We also advise our clients on purchasing decisions, like whether they should buy or lease equipment and the tax advantages of either situation. Choosing us as your lending partner means you get more than capital – you also get bespoke advice and continued support from bankers who care. 



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