Real life scenario explains why factoring companies require a Notice of Assignment to fund business invoices.
A few years ago we had a factoring business prospect referred to us from a broker that was affiliated with our company. The prospect was engaged in the business of logistics, working with several well known automotive companies. His business was growing and he needed cash flow to hire additional employees and take on more jobs.
After gathering the required documents we moved forward with our proposal to fund the prospect. The prospect accepted our terms and we proceeded with funding our new client’s invoices. For the first month or so we were able to verify, fund and collect without any problems. Since the client’s business was growing, he was looking for us to increase his credit line so we could purchase more of his invoices.
It was in the the second month of funding when our team noticed that several of his invoices with one of his customers were still outstanding. This development struck us as odd since this particular customer of our client was very strong and the invoices with his other customers were paying in a timely fashion.
We contacted our client to shed some light on the issue and he informed us that he was not aware of any issues with the customer. We followed up with the client’s customer, who surprisingly informed us that they had never changed the payment address to our office even though they signed our notice of assignment.
Why Factoring Companies Use a Notice of Assignment When Funding Invoices
A “Notice of Assignment” is generally a written instruction to the client’s customer that the client’s accounts receivable have been assigned and is payable to the factor. This is an extremely important document for factoring companies. This document protects the factoring company in the event a payment is accidentally sent to the client instead of the factor. Even if the client skips off with your money, this document ensures you are still owed the funds from the client’s customer. Hopefully, you will never have to enforce this notice but it is imperative you have it as part of your requirements before funding.
As it turned out, the client received our checks and actually deposited the funds directly in his company’s account. Believe it or not, this happens quite often in the factoring business. Many times, the client’s accountant or bookkeeper will deposit everything that comes into their office without knowing which check is the property of the factoring company.
With this knowledge, we informed the client that all factored funds were the legal property of our company and needed to be returned to our company immediately. Our factoring agreement has a clause that specifically addresses misdirected payments. It basically imposes a huge penalty on the client if the funds are not returned to our office within a twenty-four hour period once the client has been notified.
The client informed us he wouldn’t be able to return the funds to us for another week or so. He also stated that since it wasn’t his mistake he had every right to the money to take care of a few expenses and pay us later. We explained to him this was unacceptable since he was now paid twice on his invoices and informed him of the misdirected payment clause in his agreement. He brushed it off saying we would get our money in about a week or so. Finally, we informed him of the notice of assignment that he and his customer signed when we opened his account with our company. We also mentioned that his customer would be receiving a demand payment letter from our legal department explaining the situation and how they owed us the money for the invoices he deposited.
This was not the way we wanted the situation to play out, but unfortunately the client left us no other choice. Think about if this legal document had reached his customer it would have portrayed him in a very negative light and severely damaged his relationship. Needless to say, we received our funds from the client (along with the penalty) the next day. We also ceased funding this client because we felt that when given the choice to do the right thing, he chose not to do so.
Always have a notice of assignment perfected with all customers you fund to ensure that any misdirected payments will be paid to you, the factoring company.
We are happy to discuss our factoring programs between 9:00-5:00 PST at (800) 790-3419. You may also visit our website Oxygen Funding for more information.
This article was written by our president Don D’Ambrosio and originally published in Factoring Investor on April 16, 2012.