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IFA Urges Lenders to Bank on Franchising

International Franchise Association Board members and President and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, headlined an unprecedented franchise lending panel at CBA LIVE, the annual conference of the Consumer Bankers Association. The meeting drew more than 1,000 of the nation’s retail banking leaders to Austin, Texas this past March 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, BrightStar Care CEO and Co-Founder Shelly Sun, CFE, FRANdata President and CEO Darrell Johnson, CFE, along with Regions Financial Corporation Executive Vice President, Business & Community Banking Head Lynetta Tipton Steed and Bank of America Line of Business Executive Joe DiNicola. IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, 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 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 U.S. Bank Senior Vice Pres. and Chief Credit Officer Greg Jaeger, along with executives from Union Bank, HSBC, PNC and others. DiNicola, Steed, HSBC Exec. Vice Pres., Small Business Banking Mark Luppi and others were scheduled to attend IFA’s upcoming 2nd Small Business Lending Summit in Washington, April 17, where franchise and finance leaders gathered to seek ways to expand access to credit. U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry, Acting FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, SBA Administrator Karen Mills and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were scheduled to address the summit. 
Beth Solomon is vice president of strategic initiatives and industry relations for the International Franchise Association. She can be reached at 292-662-0789 or bsolomon@franchise.org.

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