The Bigger Big Short


bigger-big-short-2Over the last several articles, Revitalization Partners has written several articles related to the movement of Payday Loan financing to the business market.

In talking with a number of potential clients who have approached RP for assistance, we have discovered that prior to talking with us, they have, very much as in the consumer payday loan segment, financed and refinanced these loans, increasing the loan amounts each time until even these subprime lenders are ready to stop lending and foreclose on these loans.



interest-ratesBecause obtaining these loans have been so easy to get, it isn’t until the very end that these borrowers begin to ask for help; and then it’s too late.

For those of you that watch John Oliver’s show on HBO, there is becoming a bigger problem in the consumer industry.   As outlined on Oliver’s show, the used car dealers have developed a subprime business that has become “buy here, pay here.   These dealers, with no real credit approval criteria, basically arrange for anyone to get a car loan.   And when all of the fees and interest rates are calculated, real interest rates approach 15 to 41%.



Oliver’s show recently explored how short lived these solutions are and whether they are beginning the makings of a sequel to The Big Short.   And, as the show points out, these dealer/lender hybrids get people into cars at about the same rate that they repossess those same cars from said people at the rate that these subprime lenders reclaim cars for nonpayment, they’re essentially renting these cars, not selling them.     

The sky-high rates and fees along with the inflated payments are impossible for most borrows to keep up with, which is how one Kia model; ended up changing ownership eight times in just two years; as prices about twice the blue book value.


Many people are defaulting on these loans which is an exciting development for those in the subprime debt buying business.   But it does raise the specter of the subprime mortgage crisis that led to billion-dollar bank bailouts.  But even if the bubble does burst, the subprime auto loan bubble isn’t likely to have the same effect on the economy.



16446010 - abstract word cloud for subprime lending with related tags and termsWhat do auto loans have to do with the business loans we have been writing about?  The real issue is subprime lending.   As the Consumer Protection Committee clamped down on Payday Loans, these subprime lenders moved their markets.   And their new borrowers range from business owners to subprime auto borrowers.

On the business side, a small company in Missouri borrows hundreds of millions of dollars from one of the biggest names in Wall Street finance. The debt is rated subprime and the loans carry few, if any, of the standard protections seen in ordinary debt, making them particularly risky.  And yet, investors clamor to buy pieces of the loans which pay annual interest of at least 8.75% to the investors.  Demand is so strong that some buyers have to settle for less than they wanted.



belle-of-the-ballCompanies like this are the belles of the ball this year.  Wall Street and private equity firms, hedge funds, and other less transparent sources of capital are frustrated by low returns on other forms of debt and are turning to riskier, but higher returns from smaller companies. So, weaker credit is traveling down to smaller companies that would not ordinarily have this kind of leverage.

This subprime lending boom underscores a major change in financing practices since 2008.  Banks which have become increasing regulated have ceded much of their post-crisis to private equity and investment funds which slice up the loans and pool them for sale to other investors. These shadow lenders make up as much of 60% of new small company loans.



As these loans are not at all relationship based, any potential default or delay in making payments is likely to have an impact on the loan. It is important to both understand the impact of acquiring the loan and the impact any issue with serving the loan. Yes, the interest rate is high, but before signing you name on the loan document, consider losing your business, and all of your personal assets as well.  If the loan won’t wait a day or two for reasonable vetting from your advisor, it’s probably a loan that the lender expects to go bad.  Or maybe you just get a thrill of starting over.

Revitalization Partners is a Northwest business advisory and restructuring management firm with a demonstrated track record of achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. We specialize in improving the operational and financial results of companies and providing hands-on expertise in virtually every circumstance, with a focus on small and mid-market organizations. Whether your requirement is Interim Management,  a Business Assessment, Revitalization and Reengineering or Receivership/Bankruptcy Support, we focus on giving you the best resolution in the fastest time with the highest possible return.

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Over the years, through our many assignments, the Principals of Revitalization Partners frequently said to ourselves: “One day, we should write a book about our work and how we can help companies through our experiences.” This is that book and we hope that you find words of value to you and your business.

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