Central Texas Bank
Bankpoint Consultants was retained by a financial Institution in Central Texas when they were facing imminent regulatory challenges and possible closure. A recent FDIC examination had substantially depleted their capital and positioned the bank for “prompt corrective action” and possible closure. Our review of the loan portfolio indicated that substantial charge-offs during the exam were questionable. The majority of these loans were secured by agricultural products and subject to certain restrictions according to defined charge-off criteria. An appeal, first to the regional FDIC office and then to Washington DC, reversed these losses and allowed the shareholders additional time to recapitalize the bank and move forward with operations. As a direct result of these efforts, the bank continues to prosper and thrive to this day.
Southwest State Bank
Bankpoint was notified that a troubled bank in Arizona needed an advisory Director to the board. The bank’s loan portfolio consisted almost entirely of single-family homes. At the time, a broad-based economic collapse was occurring, and property values had plummeted. Arizona was a “non-liability” deficiency state and borrower loan performance was deteriorating with a large number of borrowers “turning in the keys” on a daily basis. The ownership of this institution had previously made substantial capital contributions and the quandary was whether to continue to support frequent, substantial capital calls or allow the bank to fail. At this point, the ownership group sought outside assessment and that’s when we were contacted. Ralph’s approach was to bring in a loan review team to perform an independent valuation of the portfolio, then incorporate the data into the institution’s projections. The work product included an analysis of managements capacities. Failure of the bank was predicted by the analysis and economic projections. Ralph recommended that the bank’s attorney evaluate potential personal liability and as a result, the owners declined to make additional contributions. In the prism of retrospect, this was the correct call. Our clients likely saved several million dollars.
On three separate occasions, Ralph’s services as the acting CEO were retained by financial institution owners to stabilize their respective institutions. Two of the banks were sold within a year, the third continues to operate. Shareholder objectives were met on all three occasions.
Ralph was retained by a group in an investment banking firm to analyze the purchase and renovation of an island-based resort hotel property off the coast on Maryland. This group had obtained an updated appraisal but was seeking additional due diligence before finalizing their offering price. Specifically, they were seeking information about area price point and seasonality considerations that would impact the underlying assumptions of the appraisal. The investor group had additional questions about the target market and the demographics of the area. Initially Bankpoint performed a web-based survey combined with inquiries to area owners/operators. Results of the area survey were offered as an inducement for participation by owner/operators. The results indicated that the seasonality assumptions contained in the appraisal were severely understated. This factor was incorporated into the negotiations and utilized in both the investment and financing models. As a side note, sharing the results with one of the participants led to additional hospitality consulting opportunities.
Ralph Dowling also has extensive experience in lending to restaurants, hotels and marinas. This includes the management of distressed assets in each of these segments.
Two family members owned 50% of a family trust with substantial diversified assets, both domestically and in Mexico. One member was actively involved in management of the trust; the other resided remotely and received a substantial renumeration. Over time these diverse factors led to family dissonance, and it was agreed by both parties to retain Ralph for the purpose of facilitating a settlement. As there was no preexisting buy-sell agreement or a basis for valuation of the underlying assets, the process was dimensional and challenging. Compounding the challenge was the fact that communication had to a large extent broken down between the family members. Ralph identified areas of general agreement and worked through points of disagreement while developing a basis for valuation. A consensus was eventually reached, documented and closed. We understand the parties involved remain satisfied with the process and the outcome some ten years later.
Import, Manufacturing, Assembly and Distribution
A luxury watch line based in New York City encountered a severe downturn in sales, which was compounded by incomplete tax-reporting. The company purchased watch works from Switzerland, watch bands and finish out components from Italy. These were assembled and the complete product was distributed from an office in the Empire State Building. Following 9/11 security requirements resulted in long delays in building access for the watchmakers, slowing production capacity. The reduction in product combined with an economic recession brought the company close to bankruptcy. Working with the company’s management, Ralph developed and implemented a strategic plan that included new sales management, a new financial software system, relocation to less expensive real estate in the garment district, and an updated product line. Within two years, sales and profitability returned and the company was sold at a substantial premium.
BANKPOINT CONSULTING IS BASED OUT OF MARYLAND & TEXAS, USA