Magazine article American Banker

Atlanta Finance Firm, with New Backing, Seeks Banks to Team Up on USDA Loans

Magazine article American Banker

Atlanta Finance Firm, with New Backing, Seeks Banks to Team Up on USDA Loans

Article excerpt

By MATT ANDREJCZAK An Atlanta specialty finance firm is seeking partnerships with community banks so it can make more and larger loans to rural businesses. And to do so, B&I Lending is counting on the capital-and industry contacts- of its new owner. B&I Lending, which originates government-guaranteed loans to small-town businesses, recently sold a majority stake to Hovde Financial Inc., a Washington investment bank, for an undisclosed sum. The transaction will allow B&I to tap Hovde's community bank contacts and provide access to more capital. Hovde currently holds stock in approximately 120 banks nationwide with assets of less than $3 billion."Hovde has larger resources that can support our continued growth," said Mike Thomas, B&I's chief executive. Last year B&I funded 13 loans, valued at $42.9 million, under the Department of Agriculture's rural development and business program. Its goal is to double that volume by teaming up with small banks that are constrained by legal lending limits. Mr. Thomas said B&I would help community banks keep deposit relationships that are often lost to regional banks and specialty finance companies that can fund bigger loans. …

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