Rolling Out

Black bank owner Benaisha Poole-Watson gives business owners tips to get loans

The military veteran has financial advice to help businesses stay solvent
Black bank owner Benaisha Poole-Watson gives business owners tips to get loans
Benaisha Poole-Watson (Photo courtesy of Benaisha Poole-Watson)

Benaisha Poole-Watson wants to help Black businesses get to the next level. One of Dallas’ top realtors and a veteran, Watson also owns a bank.

She recently stopped by rolling out to discuss her lending team and the loan process for Black business owners to follow.

How did you become the owner of the federally chartered bank, Prime One Lending Group/Prime One Home Loans?

I started in the space of real estate. I helped so many people as a sales agent selling homes. I knew what buyers wanted, I knew what sellers wanted, but what I did notice is the big disparity among a lot of the buyers who looked like me, the minorities, who could not qualify.

I didn’t start in this field, I didn’t go to school for financing, and I was approached to own a bank. I went through the process, I qualified, and for me, it was bigger than just making money. It was more about changing the culture and empowering people to have a safe space where they can come and do business.

What year was that?

Two years ago in 2021.

A lot of times when looking to increase revenue with investment properties, owners have to raise the rent. How do you invest in a property while not pushing out members of the Black community?

I always tell people to not sell grandma’s house. Sometimes people pass away, you inherit things and the first thing you think of is, “Let me cash out” because you don’t have [money] or “It’s going to set me up.” You should really hold that property to cash out refinance, tap into your equity, still own the property, put a renter in there, and now you have a two-for-one. You can use some of that equity that you took out of that home and purchase more assets. That’s how you build a foundation and establish financial growth in our families.

What is the best way for a business owner build to build up their business credit enough to get a loan from you?

To be honest, you don’t need business credit to get a home loan. We’re always going to look at your personal credit. Your personal credit is important. You’re going to need at least a 580 or above in order to step into the space of ownership in a home or commercial building. Your LLC and business will come into play if you want to put it into your business’s name, but your business credit is not a part of it.

To get a loan from me, you need to have your personal credit in order. You need to have job consistency. As long as you have income coming in consistently, the general time frame is two years, either at your job for two years or having your business set up for two years. The last thing is to manage your debt-to-income ratio.

So, the debt is all the bills going out, and your income is what’s coming in. That balance of having at least more income coming in than debt coming out is going to set you up for homeownership.

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