Originally Posted in Franchise Times Read Original→
“Sometimes banking is stuck in the ‘70s and ‘80s,” said banker Morgan Johns with Conestoga Bank in Pennsylvania. “You have to look outside the box.”
Which is precisely why he attended BoeFly’s Franchise Lending Spotlight Conference, held April 3 in suburban Boston. BoeFly, the online marketplace that connects franchisees and their loan applications to lenders and banks nationwide, hosted the event so local and regional bankers in the Northeast could hear franchisors’ 30-minute presentations on their opportunity.
“The purpose of the conference matches BoeFly’s mission, which is empowering lenders to find qualified borrowers,” said Mike Rozman. “It’s our strong belief when lenders are better educated about the franchise brand, that lender is better positioned to fund the brand’s franchisees.”
“It was about making connections with the lenders,” said Lene Steelman, vice president of accounting and controller with Kiddie Academy. “And hope with our presentation that we can sell the brand to them.” Conestega is already the local lender for their concept in Northeast, but Steelman was able to sit down with Johns and discuss financing beyond Conestaga’s normal footprint.
That was fine with Johns: He and his team have made a more concerted effort the last three years to finance franchises—some of which he found on BoeFly’s site. But the kicker is that now he’s going beyond the bank’s normal geographic footprint, as long as he is comfortable with the franchise.
“I did a deal in Baltimore, and then I thought, ‘I could do this in D.C.,’” he said. Now he’s completed franchise deals as far away as California, Texas and North Carolina, with concepts like Goddard Schools, Great Clips and Dunkin’ Donuts.
In addition to connecting franchises with local bankers, Rozman’s team also had two panels that provided additional insight into the franchise sector. And it didn’t hurt that each franchisor talked about how they support their franchisees. Because after all, lenders do want to be paid back.
Lou Miaritis, senior vice president with Pizzeria Uno Corp., was excited to unveil Uno’s new fast casual concept, Uno Dué Go, to the lenders. But it comes down to support, no matter how exciting the franchise: “We provide support beyond the contract,” he told the audience of bankers. “We come up with creative solutions to keep people in the system and happy so they can pay their bills.”
This article appears in the May 2013 issue of Franchise Times