Tai-Dan Hsu financed his business the way many entrepreneurs do. After paying a finance company's high rates, he progressed to a Small Business Administration loan. After seven years, he finally secured a conventional bank loan.
When his Lakewood, Colo., engineering consulting firm needed money to finance an acquisition, though, Mr. Hsu's lenders at Bank One Colorado took nearly two months to make a decision. So Mr. Hsu went to the local Merrill Lynch office and got a loan in two weeks.