Ken Altena on the Difference Between Banks and Private Lenders.

Ken Altena recently joined Billboard Loans, LLC. after a 39 year career in banking.  We talked with Ken about the difference between bank OOH lenders and private OOH lenders.

Ken Altena

How did you join Billboard Loans

When I told Dave Westburg, who has been a colleague, friend and client for over 25 years, I was getting ready to retire from banking, I was very flattered that he asked me to join the Billboard Loans team.  It didn’t take long for me (or my wife) to realize this was a great fit for me post-banking.  I enjoy helping people and organizations reach their financial goals.  Whether it’s buying a house or a building a billboard, a loan can help get it done.

What kind of loans are you targeting?

25 years ago Dave left banking to start a private lending company to help people he felt were not being served well.  This company has evolved to the current Billboard Loans Fund Three, LLC.  The focus is entirely on out of home companies with borrowing needs under $1 million because, well, Dave became a billboard nerd and it is the smallest borrowers who often have the least options to finance their projects.

What are the differences between banking and private lending.

A private niche lender like Billboard Loans becomes an expert.  Instead of lending to 200+ industries we focus only on out of home.  This means we don’t waste your time with stupid questions like “What’s your steel worth?” or “What’s your net income.”  We focus on your locations, your leases and cashflow (EBIDTA) and can tell at the end of a 20 minute phone call if a loan makes sense to pursue.

As a private lender we have more flexibility in underwriting and how we handle problem loans.  Banks have little patience with difficulties caused by a recession.  Some of our best lending relationships were formed after 9/11 and during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.  We helped put several out of home operators back on their feet after they made money in out of home and then lost it all in real estate during the great recession.

As a private lender, Billboard Loans does not enjoy the low cost funds that a bank enjoys.  We do not offer checking accounts that pay zero or near zero interest, and we cannot borrow from the Federal Reserve.  Our funding comes from private investors who believe in the billboard industry, but who also expect a fair return on their investment.  We have to watch our expenses just like our clients watch their expenses.

You can contact Ken by calling (206) 636-8478 or by emailing [email protected].

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