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The Credit Department
In A Time Of War And Terrorism
Dealing with the Aftermath of September 11

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By Doug Fox, CCE and Scott Blakeley, Esq.
Reprinted by permission from Trade Vendor Quarterly Blakeley & Blakeley LLP

September 11 has changed our lives. On the commercial credit front, credit professionals are experiencing greater risk with their open account sales. Customers are warning of earnings shortfalls. Bank financing, bond offerings and IPO's are significantly down since Sept. 11, making it difficult for customers to borrow. Customers are laying off workers in the face of fewer orders, delaying product orders, merging with competitors because of the downturn in business, facing extraordinary insurance premiums that may threaten their survival, and those customers that do not have enough cash or assets face a credit crunch, possibly resulting in bankruptcy and going out of business. The bankruptcy of one customer may result in the bankruptcy of one or more of its creditors, who may also be customers.

What does the new environment mean to the credit professional and credit agreements, customers and the economy? In such an environment, what are the real credit risks, both direct and indirect, in assessing an existing customer's credit line, and new open account sales? Of course, a customer's financial leverage is even riskier in today's environment.

But does this mean widespread defaults by customers on open account sales in the aftermath of Sept. 11? What steps should a credit executive take with credit sales in the face of recent events? Is the simple answer tightening credit extension and collections, or are there additional steps a credit professional may take?

Douglas G Fox, GSCFM, CCE is a member of Mid-Atlantic NACM and is active in the Greater Delaware Valley Region and Philadelphia area.

Scott E. Blakeley is a principal of Blakeley & Blakeley LLP where he practices creditors' rights and bankruptcy law. He can be reached at

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