Commercial Loan Due Diligence

Due Diligence

I am Ted. The original Ted. And this is the Official Ted Blog.

There was a time when I was part of a team that was retained by a major California bank to go after post judgement money overseas. Their client, who they commercially funded(in the millions), defaulted on the loan. Judgement was issued by the court however the bank could find very few assets in the USA. They needed to take the hunt for the cash up a few notches as many of these clients were still living the high life. We were hired because of our relationships with international law enforcement and expats retired from the US Government living abroad. We had our methods which were successful in finding the money which would pave a path for our client to collect on the debt.

Throughout this investigative process we noticed a trend. While we investigated the case, we would find pre-existing detrimental data, that had the bank known, they would not have ever funded the loan.

I took our new data to this financial institution and asked them to implement a much deeper due diligence program. I found the loan officers and supervisors were over zealous in funding the loans. They just did not look that deep. If the surface of the package made sense, they pushed it through there funding meetings. Accountants crunch the numbers. Lawyers go over the paperwork. But who was looking deep into the past and civil and criminal issues? Who was looking the integrity of the company and its principals? They adopted our program. However there was this one case…where the LO tried slip one past us.

The VP of commercial funding had seen we had not signed off on the package which made sense considering we were never sent the package for review.

Their client was an aviation equipment company(that is still in business so I will leave their name out of this post). They wanted $2 Million dollars to retrofit a couple of 737 aircraft as island hoppers in Hawaii. The package looked great. And in fact they provided aviation equipment to the US Government and the Department of Defense. They made a forward statement in which they expected to have a continuing income from DoD contracts. Their financials looked great and they did have money in the bank.

Only one problem. A few years before, the company and its CEO were convicted in federal criminal court for defrauding the government. It seems they wanted to win a specific parts contract and they paid off the other bidders to bid really high so that this company could come in at low bid. Part of the conviction included an 8 year stay on this company being able to do business with the government in any way. So how does the forward statement above hold any water?

This is an integrity issue. Did our findings always stop the bank from funding the loans if they make sense in other ways? No and that was not our responsibility. But at least the financial institutions had additional data within their decision making process.

Integrity is everything and as a former investigator when I work with start up companies, IPO’s and ICO’s, I dig deep.