Small Business Lending Heats Up in June

 

 

Summer’s record temperatures seem to be heating up small business lending markets. Following increased loan volume to small business in May, the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of 1,000 loan applications by IFA member Biz2credit.com, found that approvals in June by big banks jumped a half percentage point to 11.1% from 10.6% in May 2012.  The figure was well above the disappointing 8.9% approval rate a year ago, in June 2011.

Additionally, loan approvals by small banks jumped to 47.5% in June 2012, up two percentage points from 45.5% in May 2012 and up a full five percentage points higher than the 42.5.% approval rate in May 2011, according to Biz2Credit.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but the previously frozen credit markets for small business seem to be thawing somewhat,” said Beth Solomon, IFA’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Industry Relations. “But until the housing sector picks up steam, traditional sources of capital such as home equity loans will feel downward pressure, so the IFA will continue to offer tactics, tools, and solutions to our members.”

Nearly 100 franchise leaders attended a Private Equity & Franchise Finance Bonus Session at the International Franchise Expo in New York in June. IFA will present a webinar on using technology to access capital July 24th. Please contact Josh Merin at jmerin@franchise.org for more information.

A picture worth 2 million likes

What began as a small gesture by a waitress at a Texas based Bennigan’s, has now grown into a national campaign to honor members of the military.  A picture of a pint of beer left by a Navy veteran to honor one of his own was posted to facebook by waitress Hannah Hobbs who “couldn’t pour it out without having everyone know about it.”  President and CEO of Bennigan’s Paul Mangiamele spoke with CNN to discuss how one picture, which has now received 2 million likes on facebook, is creating something legendary to honor our nation’s veterans. 

The pint of beer, which was left for LT JG Francis Toner who was killed in action March 27th 2009 in Afghanistan as he ran into the line of fire, has sparked Mangiamele to give back to the millions of veterans that are coming home to find work.  “As part of IFA’s Operation Enduring Opportunity program, we will waive the entire franchise fee for any veteran that qualifies for financing”, said Mangiamele.  “It gives vets the chance to flex their entrepreneurial muscles and hopefully hire other veterans as part of their team.”  By eliminating a franchise fee of 30,000 dollars it “will help get veterans off to a great start as they begin to come home to the workforce,” Mangiamele stated. 

As hundreds of thousands of veterans come home to try and find jobs, the IFA and franchised businesses launched Operation Enduring Opportunity, a commitment to hire and recruit as franchise business owners, 75,000 veterans and their spouses and 5,000 Wounded Warriors by 2014.  Since last year, 6,900 veterans have started careers in franchising, including over 4,200 new veteran business owners.   “With over 70,000 veteran-owned franchises in operation already and a million troops returning home in the coming years, franchise businesses are looking to create employment opportunities for our returning heroes,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira.

For more information and to become a part of IFA’s Operation Enduring Opportunity program visit vetfran.com or contact Josh Merin at jmerin@franchise.org

Please click here to watch the full interview on CNN Starting Point and please click here to watch the clip on CNN Evening Express.

First-ever Franchising Pavilion creates good will and good business

 

Some came because their boss is a military veteran. Others made the trip because a son or daughter served. Patty Conti, Vice President and General Counsel of Michigan-based Big Boy restaurants, rolled a colorful booth into the VA’s National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo for the first-ever Franchising Pavilion in Detroit because, with the region’s unemployment rate over 16 percent, and thousands of veterans seeking work, it was just the right thing to do.

Army veteran and former combat medic Norman Theaker, who drove five hours from northern Michigan, was almost desperate for options after being unemployed for two years. “I was getting to the point where I thought I would have to give up,” he told the Detroit News. But the 53-year-old landed several promising interviews at the hiring fair of the unprecedented event, which included Two Men And a Truck, Aaron’s, FASTSIGNS, Big Boy, the Moran family of companies — about two dozen IFA members bringing in hundreds of opportunities — a franchising platoon of sorts that made up 10 percent of the total number of companies involved. 

“I have been amazed at the resumes,” Conti said. “We told our stores to hold off hiring until we could meet with the veterans at this event. We are very serious.” Conti’s colleague Steve Facione said another surprise was the quality of franchisee candidates. “I didn’t come here thinking there would be a lot of [franchisee] leads, but we’re getting two to three serious ones a day,” he said.

Former Army Ranger Sean Oatney, EVP and Director of Sales at SIGNARAMA, knows first-hand the quality of candidates the military develops, having served under Gen. Colin Powell during Desert Storm. “We are meeting a lot of veterans who just never thought of franchising as they begin their civilian lives. One couple wants to start a business together. Franchising is perfect for them,” Oatney said. SIGNARAMA is waiving its franchise fee of $44,500 for a limited number of veterans, in addition to offering discounts that increase with years of military service.

Laura Hanis, wife of Marine veteran Chad Hanis and a new Decor & You franchisee in Grand Rapids, Mich., is an example of VetFran’s effort. Driving three hours to Detroit to participate in IFA’s press conference at the event, she said, “We are very grateful for the opportunity.” Her husband added that military values and characteristics can be found in veterans’ family members. “They get it through osmosis,” he said, thanking franchisors who participate in VetFran.

“We look in at least 750 resumes,” said Aaron’s National Director of Franchise Sales Greg Tanner. “We need managers, and these vets are great candidates. They were willing to take a bullet for their last employer. We would hire them all if we could.”

Another franchisor echoed the sentiment. “If all my franchisees were veterans, it would be ideal,” he said.

“Veterans have the discipline, the core values, the work ethic and the passion that make great franchisees,” said Two Men And a Truck chairwoman and IFA Secretary Melanie Bergeron, who brought a team to both the hiring fair seeking team members and the Franchise Pavilion to meet potential franchisees. “This is a highly qualified, diverse and exceptional group of candidates,” Bergeron said. “It is higher-level than we’re used to seeing at expos. It’s a whole new audience for franchising.”

Earlier this year, VA officials including Sec. Eric Shinseki and Executive Director of Small Business Development Tom Leney asked the International Franchise Association to participate in the Detroit event. Traditionally a small business conference run by the U.S. Army, the event never before included a hiring fair or “Open House” where franchisors could meet candidates. Until the end, no one was sure how many veterans would attend.

A dogged VA Public Affairs team led by Nathan Naylor in Washington and Alysse Mengason in Detroit burned up phone lines and bombarded the blogosphere in the weeks before the event, joining multiple franchise PR teams determined to reach the target audience — the region’s veterans. As TV trucks lined the streets around Cobo Center starting at 5:00 the first morning of the three-day event, veterans started to stream in. By 8:00, still two hours before doors officially opened, thousands of veterans were waiting to register. In the end, nearly 10,000 veterans met potential future employers at Cobo.

“A lot of trade shows are hit and miss, but we have done very well here,” said FranNet’s John Blair, which is moving aggressively to seek veteran franchisee candidates. “A lot of guys here want to work from home. You see vets coming back who just served and need an opportunity to start business lives.”

Finding good candidates was not the only reason to participate. “We realize how important veterans are to what we are able to do in this country. It’s because of those guys that we can put people into business every day,” Blair said.

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Thousands join IFA town hall call on health care ruling

If you decided to join us for the town hall call today, you weren’t alone. Nearly 2,200 people joined the call to hear IFA’s perspective on the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care and its potential impact on franchising and small business. If you missed the call, you can still listen to the recording (also in wav format).

From left: Judith Thorman, Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy; Stephen J. Caldeira CFE, President & CEO; and Matt Haller Vice President, Public Affairs and Chief of Staff to the President & CEO prepare for the town hall.

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New Tools Provide Veterans More Access to Careers in Franchising

Veterans now have more tools to jump-start their careers in franchising, IFA announced during a media event in Washington, D.C. on June 28.  IFA conducted events at veteran-owned franchise businesses in 12 cities to launch new tools to put veterans back to work in franchising.   A VetFran Toolkit and a Veterans Mentor Network are part of IFA’s Operation Enduring Opportunity campaign. IFA’s VetFran program helps returning service members access franchise opportunities through training, financial assistance and industry support.

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