IFA urges lenders conference to bank on franchising

IFA Board Members and President & CEO Steve Caldeira headlined an unprecedented franchise lending panel at CBA LIVE, the annual conference of the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), a meeting that drew over 1,000 of the nation’s retail banking leaders to Austin, Texas Monday in a sign of the improving outlook in the economy and the financial services sector.

The panel, titled “Engaging in Franchise Lending: Growing Bank Loans in 2012 Using a Proven Concept,” featured IFA Board Members Shelly Sun, CEO and Co-Founder of BrightStar Care, and Darrell Johnson, President & CEO of FRANdata, along with Lynetta Tipton Steed, Division Head of Business & Community Banking at Regions Financial Corporation, and Bank of America Line of Business Executive Joe DiNicola.

Caldeira discussed the IFA’s Credit Access Campaign, launched last April, which has now attracted the involvement of a diverse range of organizations from the Financial Services Roundtable and the Independent Community Bankers of America, to the Hispanic Alliance for Prosperity Institute and the National Association of Women Business Owners. 

“While the credit crunch has eased somewhat, franchising needs significantly more capital to return to strong growth and job creation,” Caldeira said. “We’re here to raise awareness about the advantages of franchising as a proven, scalable, lower-risk small business model, and the unique tools and turn-key solutions available to increase franchising lending and a healthy return on investment. Now is the time.”

Johnson described FRANdata’s Bank Credit Report, an in-depth financial analysis available to franchisors that translates complex data from the FTC-required Financial Disclosure Document (FDD) into a language lenders can readily understand, thereby facilitating the loan process. 

DiNicola described a new tool developed by the IFA, CBA and FRANdata called a “Franchise Lending Template” – a result of the IFA’s 2011 Small Business Lending Summit, that he said will help lenders understand franchise lending, spurring more investment. “We’re committed to it. We are here to help our colleagues understand the benefits of this particular business model and all the opportunity there,” DiNicola said. Lending executives attending the session included Greg Jaeger, SVP and Chief Credit Officer of U.S. Bank, along with executives from Union Bank, HSBC, PNC and others.

DiNicola, Steed, CBA Small Business Committee chairman and HSBC business banking chief Mark Luppi and others will attend IFA’s upcoming 2nd Small Business Lending Summit in Washington April 17, where franchise and finance leaders will gather to seek ways to expand access to credit. Acting chief of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) John Walsh, Acting FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are scheduled to address the Summit.

For more information about the invitation-only event, please contact Beth Solomon at bsolomon@franchise.org.