Update on my experience:
I haven`t heard back on my email proposing a higher success fee or escrow of the up-front fee and I don`t expect to. I was told I would definitely get a call from the "program manager", but didn`t.
The people I was dealing with are Kamela Jacobs (introducing broker who sent me the initial email) and Norwood Hurst (program manager that asks for the up-front fee of 2% of either 150K or 250K). I don`t know anything about a 695 fee; must be a different avenue or program. Also, Kamela said she gets none of the 2% up-front fee. If I remember correctly, she mentioned their new program was through Wells Fargo.
I found another outfit at yournewfile.com that charges 499 up-front fee and "only" 18% on the back-end, but the whole site is generally unprofessional.
I have another resource that charges a flat 2,710 fee up-front, but provides a guarantee to refund after 120 days if the financing isn`t successful, and they take nothing on the backend. They are a long established business services company in NV and I`ve used them to establish several LLCs over the years. I feel most comfortable with them. They help you establish 5 tradelines in your entity and refer you to their lenders or you can go to your own. They point out that there is a push from the Obama administration to lend to businesses that plan to create jobs and the fact that the credit references don`t have to be long established, just 5 or more and paid on time, with a DB number and others. They help get those tradelines for you.
Interesting process with all these different avenues.