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Texas Dealer Ballard: SBA Loans Still Beyond Reach

October 20, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: RVBUSINESS.com received this letter – an appeal for help through the press from an imperiled Texas dealership faced with ongoing floor plan credit woes, and we thought we would indeed pass it along.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are a small family-owned recreational vehicle sales & service dealership in Selma Texas. We have been in business for five years. We have been a profitable business for five years due to hard work, dedication, and help from family, friends and financial institutions.

As we know, despite massive infusions of taxpayer dollars, many banks are still not lending to American businesses. Many profitable companies are finding our existing credit lines limited or, worse, eliminated.

We have had a strong relationship with Textron Financial for over three years. Our wholesale financing (floorplan) has increased from $750,000 to $1,450,000 in this short period of time. This has been accomplished due to increases in volume, profits, and credibility.

On October 29th, 2008, Textron Financial sent out a letter to its wholesale RV customers (including us) stating their “commitment to the RV Industry for many years to come. Also stated was that their borrowing costs had risen, but remain strong.” Also, that they have had no difficulty raising capital in order to fund their customers. The letter did mention they had to change some ways they conducted business. For instance, increase in rates and different base pricing structure. I did agree to the changes, and stayed loyal to Textron.

On December 22, 2008, however, we were contacted by a vendor of ours letting us know Textron was leaving the RV lending sector. I researched on the Internet and to my surprise it was true.

So, at that point in time I started looking for other sources for inventory floor plan. Since the banking industry had already started in the downward spiral, you can imagine what I was going through, and still am. No lenders were opening new lines of floor plan credit to RV dealers. I have searched local lenders, friends, and investment groups with no luck. This has put us in a financial crisis. When I sell an existing RV in stock I cannot replace it. I am now in a position I cannot continue operating under these conditions without help. This is the reason for this letter.

Now with the help of Senators Bayh (D-IN), Lugar (R-IN), Merkley (D-OR) and Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives De Fazio (D-OR), Donnelly (D-IN) and Souder (R-IN), the SBA has incorporated “Floor Plan” lending into its 7 (a) program. This had us, for lack of words, “dancing in the street in celebration.”

Now we have started contacting banks and credit unions asking for their help with this SBA-supported program. We have contacted as many as 14 institutions and are getting the same answer: “We still will not loan money for floor plan”.

We have even contacted Kenan Pankau, lending manager with Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union, which has won the SBA Credit Union Lender of the Year award announced at the National Small Business Week held in Washington D.C., May 17, 2009, and received the same general answer: “Its not in our policy to lend money for flooring even with this new program.”

My question now is why Janice Mills, Senators and Representatives went through all the trouble of getting this passed, and the banking industry still will not help? As one banker stated “It’s still our money, regardless of what the government has to offer.”

I am sure I speak for all RV dealers, please, we urge you to force lending institutions to help as everyone else has. Please help us RV dealers and their employees in their struggle for survival. Also the ARC loans are also impossible to get. As of 10/01/2009, there have only been 11 approved applications for SBA floor plan guaranteed loans.

Please pass this on to your Congressman.

THIS IS AN URGENT PLEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stephen Ballard
Ballard’s Freedom RV LLC
16719 Pawlin Drive
Selma, Texas 78154
877-627-2244
210-725-6672
210-651-3199 fax
www.ballardsrv.com
steve@ballardsrv.com

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