Message From The CEO - Pete Stickler, President and CEO
adapting your business during a crisis
As we near the end of 2020, we have seen life temporarily altered as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. We’ve all had to adapt to stay at home orders, wearing masks, limited public gatherings and, in some cases, virtual classrooms. We are all seeking to recover, reset, and hopefully resume life as we know it once this crisis subsides. It’s important to remember that the pandemic does not just affect individuals. It has also affected businesses of all sizes throughout the world. Whether it is catering companies turning into takeout meal services or brick-and-mortar stores embracing curbside pickup, adaption continues to be the key to success.
The banking industry has also faced its challenges in 2020, and Inland Bank adapted just like other businesses. Here are a few of the challenges and opportunities we faced and how we adapted:
- Home Mortgages Boomed – Home purchases and refinances skyrocketed in 2020, and our team rose to the challenge by meeting with customers virtually, adding staff where needed, and working long hours to meet our customers’ needs.
- Curbside Services – To help protect both our staff and our customers, we closed our branch lobbies for an extended period this year. This allowed for implementation of new safety protocols and protection equipment. While lobbies were closed, our bankers offered expanded curbside services to customers and reached out by phone to stay connected.
- New Business Lines – Here at Inland Bank, we understand that diversity is key when it comes to business. Over the last few years, we have expanded our Commercial Banking focus to include loan programs for Condo and Homeowners Associations, as well as Franchisees and Financial Advisors. This expansion helped provide diversity in the Bank’s lending portfolio and services as the market for Commercial Real Estate lending fluctuated.
Our Customers Adapted, Too
BKF Computer Services, Inc. was founded in 2000 by existing owner/ operator Brian K. Fischer and has been a customer of Inland Bank since 2013. BKF Computer Services, Inc. not only offers a wide array of traditional IT solutions but has also built a niche market providing specialty commercial wiring, network design, structured cabling, phone and security installations.
During the pandemic, they re-focused their business on the remote user and VPN networking needs of their commercial clients. With the onset of remote working, Republic Services, a waste disposal service, employed them to install additional exterior security measures to ensure the safety and security of their unoccupied commercial buildings in multiple Midwest states. Mr. Fischer credits Inland Bank for providing the resources to hire contractors, purchase inventory or afford travel to accommodate the multiple simultaneous projects for Republic.
The ongoing crisis is a large-scale reminder that businesses are constantly facing changes that threaten their bottom line – some minor, some major. Being agile, flexible, and resilient will better position you to overcome these challenges as they surface, with minimal impact to your business. That is why we are in your corner. I encourage you to tap into our expertise to make sure the financial resources and tools you currently have available will meet your needs – today and tomorrow.
Financial Advisor Loan Program Supports Growth, Financing of FA Businesses
Launched in January 2018, Inland Bank’s Financial Advisor Loan Program was established to help independent financial advisors grow their business and client base through the acquisition of another financial advisor’s book of business, via partner buy-outs or debt refinancing. Serving financial advisors across the nation, the program provides conventional loans at a substantially lower rate than the SBA 7(a) loan program as well as flexible structures and favorable pricing and terms.
“When we started the program - and even still today – we witnessed a growing demand for financial advisor loans as the number of financial advisor retirees continues to increase,” said Tiffany Tyson, assistant vice president – commercial lending for Inland Bank. “By listening to our financial advisory clients and providing customized solutions, we build a foundation of long-term, continuous support to help with financing now and in the future as a financial advisor’s practice grows.”
Historically, loans to financial advisors have had a very low default risk. Even amid the current pandemic, Inland Bank is seeing financial advisor businesses continuing to perform well and experience minimal impact.
One such company, Paramount Financial Strategies, LLC, a third-generation financial planning firm founded in 1965 that provides comprehensive fee-based financial plans for high-net-worth business owners and executives, became a client of Inland Bank in May 2020 when it found a need to finance a large acquisition. Paramount turned to Inland Bank’s extensive experience in conducting complicated transactions within the financial advisory industry.
“While the acquisition negotiations were completed prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Inland Bank was faced with underwriting the loan in the face of the pandemic reality,” said Robert E. Bortz, Jr., CFP, president of Paramount Financial Strategies, LLC. “They were realistic, flexible and trusted us as a borrower at a time when there were so many variables that other banks would have used to delay a decision and funding. Inland Bank came through for Paramount at an elevated level within a critical timeframe.”
Based in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and serving 1,300 clients in 30 states, Paramount’s business has continued to grow and thrive with the assistance and support of Inland Bank’s Financial Advisor Loan Program.
Another firm, Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management, with offices in Jackson and Battle Creek, Michigan, became a client of Inland Bank in January 2020 when needing a financial advisor loan to finance a partner buy-out.
“It’s common for a buy-out transaction to have many steps and modifications from start to finish, but after experiencing complications with our first lender, we reached out to Inland Bank in early January to see if we could still reach our target closing date in early February,” said Erik A. Smith, owner of Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management. “Inland Bank was very clear from the start about the typical 60-day timeline for transactions of this magnitude, so I was amazed at the speed from the time they stepped in to closing in mid-February which was faster than their typical timeline. The personal interaction, ability to get a hold of someone with questions, follow-up and customer service is extraordinary.”
Due to the positive experience of the partner buy-out, Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management expanded their relationship with Inland Bank to include personal and business checking accounts, a high yield money market account, corporate lending and access to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans.
With a focus on addressing clients’ entire financial situation and creating plans for specific goals and needs, Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management takes an active role in investment management, blending strategies to help clients reach their long-term investment goals and minimize downside risk.
“We encourage financial advisors who are interested in growing their business, reducing the rate on their current debt, or looking for a bank that offers a holistic approach customized to fit their needs, to contact us for more information,” said Tiffany Tyson. “Our goal has always been to focus on building relationships and providing a personal touch that is missing in banking these days.”
Since inception, the Inland Bank Financial Advisor Loan Program has funded several loans to financial advisors located in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
For more information about the Financial Advisor Loan Program, contact Tiffany Tyson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (630) 908- 6623.
Franchise Lending Program Offers Expansion Opportunities
Inland Bank’s multifaceted Franchise Lending Program, established in 2016, supports both franchisors and franchisees, as well as single-location and multi-unit operators. Understanding that each business is unique, Inland Bank works diligently and strategically to provide clients with the necessary capital to establish or expand their franchise footprint, and goes a step further to aid clients by providing structured assistance throughout the finance process. From start-ups to expansions and re-financing, Inland Bank offers a variety of loan programs, including commercial real estate financing, working capital, acquisition financing and SBA 504.
“Establishments with drive-thru access have been doing exceptionally well, especially during COVID-19,” said Andrew Kelpsa, senior vice president of commercial lending at Inland Bank. “They’re a quick-service, safe option for customers and activity within that market continues to accelerate.”
Andrew helped launch the Finance Lending Program, after joining Inland Bank in 2016.Since inception, the program has worked with a number of new clients.
One quick-service retailer Inland Bank recently secured capital for is a well-established Dunkin’ franchisee. The franchisee’s portfolio consists of 31 Dunkin’ locations throughout the Chicagoland area, and is considered the third largest Dunkin’ operator in the state of Illinois. The operator’s relationship with Dunkin’ Brands began much like a start-up in 1997, after they acquired two Dunkin’ stores at the age of 19. Since then, their portfolio has grown significantly to include 31 locations and 500 employees. Inland Bank proceeds will be used to re-finance existing loans for 15 of the 31 Dunkin’ locations.
Going behind-the-scenes into the Dunkin’ program, Inland Bank also worked with Unified CML, LLC (“Unified”) and CML Operations, LLC, the commercial kitchen for Dunkin’, located in Bedford Park, Illinois. CML was launched in 2013 by 39 franchisors and produces baked goods for 370 Dunkin’ locations. Cash management was a very important feature for Unified, and proceeds from a $10.3 million commercial real estate loan covered existing loans and provided working capital.
Inland Bank’s Franchise Lending Program has secured financing for national operators including, Dunkin’, Culver’s and Popeyes.
For more information about the Franchise Lending Program, contact Andrew Kelpsa at email@example.com or (630) 908- 6520.
Cabernet & Company
Independently owned and operated specialty beverage retailer Cabernet & Company was founded in 1993 by Alixe Lischett. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the suburban Glen Ellyn shop swiftly transitioned to curbside operation, foregoing weekend wine bar offerings, tastings and in-store events.
Cabernet & Company has served Glen Ellyn and neighboring communities for over 25 years, consistently providing the quality, service, and curated selection of global wines and spirits clients have come to enjoy. As a small business owner, Alixe has made every effort to ensure continuity, while navigating through the sudden uncertainty.
Cabernet & Company’s relationship with Inland Bank began in early May, with the opening of a new account and inquiry into the Payroll Protection Program (“PPP”). Vice President of Business Banking, Illiana Ebbole, worked with Alixe throughout the newly implemented application process. Alixe credits her introduction and working relationship with Inland Bank to the individual and personalized guidance provided by Inland bankers. Receiving a late-evening, weekend call from Illiana to verify all documents were completed and ready for PPP submission, further affirmed the tailored care Alixe sought in specialized banking. Cabernet & Company is located at 434 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
E. Formella & Sons, Inc.
When E. Formella & Sons, Inc., a family-owned Chicagoland manufacturer of stock and custom recipes for food service and branded and private-label retail opportunities, began to experience challenges due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Company did not hesitate to reach out to its Inland Bank account manager and Vice President of Commercial Banking, James Cox, for assistance and support.
E. Formella & Sons has enjoyed a three-year relationship with Inland Bank, in which they receive day-to-day banking services, wire transfers, management of the mortgage for its 34,000-squarefoot facility in Countryside, Illinois, and assistance in facilitating its business banking relationship in foreign markets for exports. However, more recently, the Company has turned to Inland Bank for guidance in navigating the ever-changing Disaster Recovery Loan guidelines.
“Jim Cox went above and beyond to assist us in this challenging time, and his knowledge and help in facilitating what was needed underscores their desire to understand my business and go that extra mile,” said Kathy Formella, president of E. Formella & Sons, Inc. “I greatly value the partnership, top notch service and professionalism our company receives from Inland Bank. It is clear they understand the roadmap, including obstacles and successes, of Formella Foods.”
Founded in 1909 by Enrico Formella, Formella Foods specializes in manufacturing giardiniera, muffuletta, pasta sauces and infused gourmet oils. Primarily serving customers in the Chicagoland area, E. Formella & Sons, Inc. is headquartered at 411 East Plainfield Road in Countryside.
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