There's a funny dynamic at play in the credit markets these days.

There's no shortage of loan funds for the strongest companies with rock solid balance sheets, but it's another story for outfits that might be pinched for cash and really in need.

"The guys that don't need the money, they can get all they want," said Tim Turner, managing director of Wachovia Capital Finance, an asset-based lender in Pasadena specializing in lines of credit from $10 million to $1 billion. "If you are off by just a few degrees your alternatives are limited."

Not exactly the kind of yin and yang that makes the business world go round.

But don't despair. Where there is risk, there is also potential for profit and that is no less the case for the lending industry.

So while traditional big bank and Wall Street funding sources are drying up, various other lenders are stepping up and looking for new business, even amid a souring economy.

This Business Journal special report examines how companies large and small, healthy and distressed can tap into this money vein and get the funds they need to grow their business or just hang on.

Of course, it's no surprise that there's a credit crunch and businesses across the nation are finding it difficult to fund expansions, factories and other vital enterprises.

The hangover from the years-long residential lending binge has been head splitting, with record mortgage defaults and a slowing economy souring lenders on even business loans unrelated to real estate.

That attitude is reflected in a recent Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers, which revealed that nearly 32 percent had tightened credit standards for large and middle market commercial and industrial loans, while 80 percent had pulled back on commercial real estate loans.

But then there are folks such as Bank of Manhattan, a new local community bank with a clean balance sheet, ready and willing to fund loans of a few million dollars.

In Pasadena, hard money lender Crawford Park Financial is willing to lend in exchange for asset-based collateral. There also are hedge funds, factors, and others.

And despite the maelstrom on Wall Street, big money players such as JP Morgan Chase & Co. are willing to deal, but remember the terms aren't nearly as favorable as they were last spring.

Simply put, don't expect to get as much bang for your buck.


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