Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE)?
A:

The SBFE is a national source of small business credit information. It is a member-owned, not-for-profit trade association that reports and maintains both positive and negative financial information regarding small businesses.

Q: Who can join the SBFE?
A:

To qualify for membership in the Small Business Financial Exchange, your organization must be a small business lender that originates small business financial obligations, owns the paper related to small business financial obligations, or services the receivables for small business financial obligations.  

Members are required to report all of the positive and negative account information in an acceptable format to the SBFE Data Warehouse on a monthly basis.  Members dues are based on the total number of active accounts reported to SBFE.  

Dues as little as $500 per year for most SBFE Members and up to a maximum of $15,000 for our largest Members, help SBFE fulfill its Mission to advocate for the safe exchange of business account information in order to facilitate and promote the healthy growth of the small business community and provide factual insight into small business trends.

Member dues help offset SBFE's costs to provide independent, on-going oversight and governance protection for your organization's most valuable asset - its small business customer and small business owner/guarantor customer data - while enabling access to the most robust risk management dataset available through authorized or SBFE Certified Vendors™.

Q: Who manages the daily operations of the SBFE?
A:

The Chief Executive Officer along with Directors on staff, manage the Exchange. Certified Vendors provide reports and statistics to the Chief Executive Officer for use in assuring member compliance. The Board of Directors has adopted Bylaws and a set of Operating Guidelines that set forth the requirements for Exchange operations and Member participation.

Q: How does the information contained in the SBFE database differ from current data sources?
A:

Current data sources typically do not contain loan and performance information from financial institutions. According to lenders, the most important information to them in making decisions about a small business's credit is to know what financial institution credit has been extended to that business and how successfully the business has managed that credit. The SBFE provides this information.

Q: Are third-party service providers (inquiry and/or data reporting vendors) involved in the SBFE?
A:

The SBFE Data Warehouse® works with vendors to assist in programming for the Members' reporting of data. Prospective members should discuss their utilization of third-party vendors with SBFE as well as contact the vendors directly to expedite necessary vendor actions and preparation for SBFE® data and functionality.

Q: Who owns the SBFE data?
A:

Each member owns the data it contributes to the Exchange.

Q: What data is contained in the SBFE?
A:

The SBFE provides a picture of a small business's financial exposure across multiple financial institutions and portfolios. Key data elements include small business name and address, account type and status, date account opened, credit limit, high credit, balance and payment history.

Q: For what purposes can the SBFE data be used?
A:

Members may use the data for credit risk assessment, fraud prevention, portfolio monitoring and locate purposes. Use of the data for marketing purposes is not permitted.

Q: How do members access the SBFE data?
A:

Access is available to Members through Certified Vendors.

Q: Can financial institutions join the SBFE or have access to SBFE data without providing their own data?
A:

No. Members must provide data to qualify for SBFE membership. Furthermore, the SBFE Operating Guidelines include requirements stipulating that members may only have access to the types of data they contribute.

Q: How do SBFE members report data to the SBFE?
A:

SBFE strongly recommends the electronic reporting of data via FTP PGP, however other options are available.

Q: Are technical resources available to assist Members with SBFE data reporting and inquiry capabilities?
A:

Yes. Each Member will receive personal attention relating to the transmission of their small business portfolios.

Q: Does the SBFE comply with FCRA requirements for disclosure and dispute?
A:

The FCRA does not pertain to commercial lending; however, certain dispute and disclosure processes for the SBFE have been patterned after FCRA guidelines.

Q: Can scoring models be built using the SBFE data?
A:

Yes. Model-building is governed by the SBFE Operating Guidelines. The Board of Directors has agreed that each member may opt-in or opt-out for the inclusion of its data in the development of generic industry models. Only opt-in members may receive the generic industry scores. Each member may use its own data for internal model-building.

Q: What defines a "small business" for SBFE purposes?
A:

In general, a "small business" is defined as an entity with revenues of less than $10 million and loan exposure with the financial institution of less than $2.5 million. Individual Exchange members may define "small business" differently.