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Would a Bank Finance You as a Superhero?

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ALL of us would agree that crime is bad, and that criminals should be stopped. Itís all very well having the good intentions, but we donít all have Bruce Wayne or Tony Starkís cash behind us to put our plan into action.

With that in mind, what do you think your bank manager would say if you took him a business loan application?

Hereís a look at some of the things the bank would consider, and whether you could get one to fund your own one-man war on crime.

Business Plan

First off, youíre going to have to present a business plan. As a potential superhero you should consider the particular type of injustice you want to fight. Corruption, drugs and violence are good places to start.

You should set out your goals, identifying your arch nemesis and estimating a time scale for when you hope to achieve them.

You could use a gap in the market to your advantage, so if there is a super villain hell-bent on tearing your town apart, but no costumed hero doing anything about it, seize the opportunity.

Consider marketing plans too. In the early days you can probably rely on word-of-mouth to get your brand out there.

People will take notice of a caped crusader running around, and terrified criminals will talk about you. After a few years though you could have action figures, t-shirts and even a Hollywood movie!

Costs

If youíre to be taken seriously as a caped crusader you need a hook, you need gadgets and gizmos, and perhaps a signature vehicle.

If Bruce Wayne wasnít a billionaire playboy who was able to self-finance his vigilante activities, can you imagine how much his overheads would be?

Iím not sure heíd get the green light for his transport costs, the batmobile looks like a gas-guzzler and the insurance premiums must be through the roof.

Plus, The Dark Knight is constantly updating his gadgets, and the batcave itself, which must be a costly process.

The same goes for Tony Stark. Without Stark Industries heíd presumably be going cap-in-hand to his bank with a loan request to finance the latest iteration of his Iron Man suit.

After Iron Manís run-ins with Iron Monger and The Mandarin, that suit probably accumulates a lot of maintenance costs.

Depending on your style, you might want to employ a sidekick -- but thatís another expense to think of. Youíll have to take on someone you trust as well, because you donít want some young upstart running up company expenses on your business credit cards.

On the other hand, you could cut your costs on things like travel by taking a leaf out of The Avengers or the JLAís book by teaming up with other superheroes, like a business co-operative.

Spider-Man and The Spirit incur few costs though, and doesnít use any fancy gadgets, expensive headquarters or flashy cars -- so maybe it can be done cheaply.



They did get bitten by a radioactive spider and come back from the dead respectively though, so good luck with that.

Profitability

There may not be a great deal of actual money to be made in vigilante justice.

Society in general would profit from your crime-fighting activities, but Iím betting it would be difficult to convince the bank manager of its worth.

You could always go down the sponsorship route and have your costume and/or cape plastered with corporate logos -- but you might want to avoid deals where you have to incorporate the brand into your name, Iron (Bru) Man or Super (Cuts) Man, for example.

Depending on your powers you could always try to land a government job like Dr. Manhattan, and earn yourself a decent salary, but the authorities may also want to experiment on you to find out more about your superpowers.

When you think about it, it might be easier to apply for a business loan as a super-villain. Just think of all the profit you could make from a bank job or racketeering! Provided, of course, you donít have a pesky caped crusader holding you back.

Cash Flow

If you do manage to make some money as a superhero, your bank manager will want to know some details about your cash flow.

This probably depends on what type of superhero you are planning on being. For example: the bank would look at how long you give your customers to pay their debts.

For a squeaky clean superhero like Superman I can imagine youíd be given as long as you needed to pay up, but I canít see Batman or The Punisher tolerating late payments -- they have bills to pay too, you know?

Verdict:

On balance, I donít think youíd be likely to get a bank to finance you as a superhero.

Prohibitive costs and limited profitability would probably get you laughed out of the bank, and thatís provided you managed to get past bank security in your cape and cowl.

Your only options are to do it as cheaply as possible (Thriftman?) or to apply for one regardless, and after you are rejected, wage war against your new arch nemesis: The Bank Manager.

The most sensible route seems to be starting a more conventional and lucrative business (think Wayne Enterprises and Stark Industries) before diversifying into costumed crime-fighting.

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[Mark Hooson writes for the business credit cards team at Moneysupermarket.com and is a comic book fan.]


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