What kind of loans do you make and to whom?
Microloans of $1,000 to $50,000 to entrepreneurs and startups, and small-business loans of $50,000 to $500,000 to grow businesses and create jobs. We lend to all types of businesses, with a specialty in restaurants.
What can you do that a bank can’t?
Make a loan to a startup and to an existing business that doesn’t have historic repayment ability. We can also accept unusual collateral and work through past credit problems.
What kind of unusual collateral?
We will take master leases that have sale value and royalty income streams from licensing of technology.
What can banks do that you wish you could?
Offer lines of credit and bigger loans.
What has been the biggest change in the lending industry since the financial crisis?
The absence of banks making small-business loans, the growth of predatory online lenders with high interest rates and the continued tight regulatory environment for banks and credit unions.
Has that helped or hurt you and other nonbank lenders?
It’s helped us with more customers than we have money for. That pushed us to expand to Chicago, Nevada and now New York. It has also helped predatory lenders who want to charge upwards of 30 percent for a small-business loan.
What was your worst day at the office?
The day in 2009 when we had lent all the loan capital we possessed and had to turn away small businesses desperate for capital.
Your best day?
In January 2011, when Chase granted VEDC $5 million to support $50 million in small-business lending across the state of California. The problem is that big, so the solutions have to be that big.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
From my late mentor, Michael Freedland, who told me to always do the right thing, no matter how politically unpopular or personally unbeneficial.
What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
I can put in a sprinkler system and landscaping in a home. My dad taught me.
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