Howard Levkowitz doesn’t offer savings accounts. Saif Mansour won’t cash checks. Jeri Harman can’t do a home mortgage. After all, they’re not bankers.

But if your business needs a loan – to buy property, to expand, to go after new markets – the nonbankers profiled in this section might offer quicker access to cash than commercial bankers could.

And it’s not just a matter of speed. These nonbank lenders do lots of things banks can’t. Some take part ownership of a borrower – that’s something banks aren’t allowed to do. And because they don’t take deposits, the alternative lenders can make riskier loans and charge higher interest. And they don’t have to please bank examiners, so they can take collateral some banks wouldn’t accept.

Roberto Barragan makes tiny loans to restaurants and other small businesses, often as they’re just starting up and have no track record. Ray Boone helps tech startups bridge the gap between venture capital backing and self-sufficiency. Mark Zytko and Jeff Friedman lend against what a property could be worth, not what it’s worth today.

These and other nonbank lenders saw more business during and after the recession as banks turned off the money spigot. But even as banks loosen up, Levkowitz and others see plenty of opportunities ahead.

“It will be quite some time before banks get into the business of the types of loans we do,” he said.

– James Rufus Koren

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