Please see the Prospectus for a complete description of the risks you should consider before investing in Notes.
Risks Related to Our Offering and Business
Our Notes are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any third party, so repayment of your Note depends upon our equity (which may be limited at times), our experience, the collateral securing our loans, and our ability to manage our business and generate adequate cash flows.
Our Notes are not certificates of deposit or similar obligations or guaranteed by any depository institution and are not insured by the FDIC or any governmental or private insurance fund, or any other entity. Therefore, you are dependent upon our ability to manage our business and generate adequate cash flows. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow to repay our debts, you could lose your entire investment.
The Notes are risky speculative investments. Therefore, you should not invest in the Notes unless you are able to afford the loss of your entire investment.
The Notes may not be a suitable investment for you, and we advise you to consult with your investment, tax, and other professional financial advisors prior to deciding whether to invest in the Notes. The characteristics of the Notes, including the maturity and interest rate, may not satisfy your investment objectives. The Notes may not be a suitable investment for you based on your ability to withstand a loss of interest or principal or other aspects of your financial situation, including your income, net worth, financial needs, investment risk profile, return objectives, investment experience, and other factors. Before deciding whether to purchase Notes, you should consider your investment allocation with respect to the amount of your contemplated investment in the Notes in relation to your other investments and the diversity of those holdings. If you cannot afford to lose all of your investment, you should not invest in these Notes.
There will not be any market for the Notes, so you should only purchase them if you do not have any need for your money prior to the maturity of the Note.
The Notes are not listed on a national securities exchange or authorized for quotation on the NASDAQ Stock Market, or any securities exchange. The Notes do not have a CUSIP identification number. There is no trading market for the Notes. It is unlikely that the Notes will be able to be used as collateral for a loan. Except as described elsewhere in this prospectus, you have no right to require redemption of the Notes. You should only purchase these Notes if you do not have the need for your money prior to the maturity of the Note.
You will not have the benefit of an independent review of the terms of the Notes, the prospectus, or our Company as is customarily performed in underwritten offerings.
The Notes are being offered by our Chief Executive Officer without an underwriter or placement agent. Therefore, you will not have the benefit of an independent review of the terms of the Notes, the prospectus, or our Company. Accordingly, you should consult your investment, tax, and other professional financial advisors prior to deciding whether to invest in the Notes.
Our business is not industry-diversified. The United States economy is experiencing a slow recovery after the significant downturn in the homebuilding industry beginning in 2007, which was one of the worst credit and liquidity crises since the 1930s. Further deterioration in industry or economic conditions could further decrease demand and pricing for new homes and residential home lots. A decline in housing values similar to the recent national downturn in the real estate market would have a negative impact on our business. Smaller value declines will also have a negative impact on our business. These factors may decrease the likelihood we will be able to generate enough cash to repay the Notes.
Developers and homebuilders to whom we may make loans use the proceeds of our loans to develop raw land into residential home lots and construct homes. The developers obtain the money to repay our development loans by selling the residential home lots to homebuilders or individuals who will build single-family residences on the lots, or by obtaining replacement financing from other lenders. A developer’s ability to repay our loans is based primarily on the amount of money generated by the developer’s sale of its inventory of single-family residential lots. Homebuilders obtain the money to repay our loans by selling the homes they construct or by obtaining replacement financing from other lenders, and thus, the homebuilders’ ability to repay our loans is based primarily on the amount of money generated by the sale of such homes.
The homebuilding industry is cyclical and is significantly affected by changes in industry conditions, as well as in general and local economic conditions, such as:
|●||employment level and job growth;|
|●||demographic trends, including population increases and decreases and household formation;|
|●||availability of financing for homebuyers;|
|●||affordability of homes;|
|●||levels of new and existing homes for sale, including foreclosed homes and homes held by investors and speculators; and|
|●||housing demand generally.|
These conditions may occur on a national scale or may affect some of the regions or markets in which we operate more than others.
We generally lend a percentage of the values of the homes and lots. These values are determined shortly prior to the lending. If the values of homes and lots in markets in which we lend drop fast enough to cause the builders losses that are greater than their equity in the property, we will be forced to liquidate the loan in a fashion which will cause us to lose money. If these losses when combined and added to our other expenses are greater than our revenue from interest charged to our customers, we will lose money overall, which will hurt our ability to pay interest and principal on the Notes. Values are typically affected by demand for homes, which can change due to many factors, including but not limited to, demographics, interest rates, overall economy, cost of building materials and labor, availability of financing for end-users, inventory of homes available and governmental action or inaction. The tightening credit markets have made it more difficult for potential homeowners to obtain financing to purchase homes. If housing prices decline or sales in the housing market decline, our customers may have a hard time selling their homes at a profit. This could cause the amount of defaulted loans that we will own to increase. An increase in defaulted loans would reduce our revenue and could lead to losses on our loans. A decline in housing prices will further increase our losses on defaulted loans. If the amount of defaulted loans or the loss per defaulted loan is large enough, we will operate at a loss, which will decrease our equity. This could cause us to become insolvent, and we will not be able to pay back your principal and interest on the Notes.
The homebuilding industry could experience adverse conditions, and the industry’s implementation of strategies in response to such conditions may not be successful.
The United States homebuilding industry experienced a significant downturn beginning in 2007. During the course of the downturn, many homebuilders focused on generating positive operating cash flow, resizing and reshaping their product for a more price-conscious consumer and adjusting finished new home inventories to meet demand, and did so in many cases by significantly reducing the new home prices and increasing the level of sales incentives. Notwithstanding these strategies, homebuilders continued to experience an elevated rate of sales contract cancelations, as many of the factors that affect new sales and cancelation rates are beyond the control of the homebuilding industry. Although the homebuilding industry has recently experienced positive gains, there can be no assurance that these gains will continue. The homebuilding industry could suffer similar, or worse, adverse conditions in the future. Continued decreases in new home sales would increase the likelihood of defaults on our loans and, consequently, reduce our ability to repay your investment in the Notes.
We have $45,214,000 of loan assets as of September 30, 2018. A 35% reduction in total collateral value would reduce our earnings and net worth by $1,671,000 . Larger reductions would result in lower earnings and lower net worth.
As of September 30, 2018, we had $45,214,000 of loan assets on our books. These assets are recorded on our balance sheet at the lower of the loan amount or the value of the collateral after deduction for expected selling expenses. A reduction in the value of the underlying collateral could result in significant losses. A 35% reduction, for instance, would result in a $1,671,000 loss. Accordingly, our business is subject to risk of a loss of a portion of our Note holders’ investments if such a reduction were to occur.
We have $5,035,000 of development loan assets as of September 30, 2018, which unlike our construction loans, are long term loans. This longer duration as well as the nature of collateral (raw ground and lots) creates more risk for that portion of our portfolio.
Development loans are riskier than construction loans for two reasons: the duration of the loan and the nature of the collateral. The duration (being three to five years as compared to generally less than one year on construction loans) allows for a greater period of time over which the collateral value could decrease. Also, the collateral value of development loans is more likely to change in greater percentages than that of built homes. For example, during a 70% reduction in housing starts, newly completed homes still have value, but lots may be worthless. This added risk to this portion of our portfolio adds risk to our investors as our net worth would be significantly impacted by losses.
Currently, we are reliant on a single developer and homebuilder, the Hoskins Group, who is concentrated in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania market, for a significant portion of our revenues and a portion of our capital.
As of September 30, 2018, 23% of our outstanding loan commitments consisted of loans made to Benjamin Marcus Homes, LLC and Investor’s Mark Acquisitions, LLC, both of which are owned by Mark Hoskins (collectively referred to herein as the “Hoskins Group”). We refer to the loans to the Hoskins Group as the “Pennsylvania Loans.” The Hoskins Group is concentrated in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania market. The Hoskins Group also has a preferred equity interest in us. Therefore, currently, we are reliant upon a single developer and homebuilder who is concentrated in a single city, for a significant portion of our revenues and a portion of our capital. Any event of bankruptcy, insolvency, or general downturn in the business of this developer and homebuilder or in the Pittsburgh housing market generally will have a substantial adverse financial impact on our business and our ability to pay back your investment in the Notes in the long term. Adverse conditions affecting the local housing market could include, but are not limited to, declines in new housing starts, declines in new home prices, declines in new home sales, increases in the supply of available building lots or built homes available for sale, increases in unemployment, and unfavorable demographic changes.
We have foreclosed assets as of September 30, 2018, which unlike our loans, are generally recorded on our balance sheet at the value of the collateral.
A reduction in the value of the underlying collateral of our foreclosed assets could result in significant losses. For example, a 35% reduction in the value of the underlying collateral would result in a $2,213,000 loss. While we are not carrying large balances of foreclosed assets, our business is subject to increased risk of not being able to repay timely your investment in the Notes if such a reduction were to occur.
Increases in interest rates, reductions in mortgage availability, or increases in other costs of home ownership could prevent potential customers from buying new homes and adversely affect our business and financial results.
Most new home purchasers finance their home purchases through lenders providing mortgage financing. Immediately prior to 2007, interest rates were at historically low levels and a variety of mortgage products were available. As a result, home ownership became more accessible. The mortgage products available included features that allowed buyers to obtain financing for a significant portion or all of the purchase price of the home, had very limited underwriting requirements or provided for lower initial monthly payments. Accordingly, more people were qualified for mortgage financing.
Since 2007, the mortgage lending industry has experienced significant instability, beginning with increased defaults on subprime loans and other nonconforming loans and compounded by expectations of increasing interest payment requirements and further defaults. This, in turn, resulted in a decline in the market value of many mortgage loans and related securities. Lenders, regulators and others questioned the adequacy of lending standards and other credit requirements for several loan products and programs offered in recent years. Credit requirements tightened, and investor demand for mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities declined. In general, fewer loan products, tighter loan qualifications, and a reduced willingness of lenders to make loans make it more difficult for many buyers to finance the purchase of homes. These factors serve to reduce the pool of qualified homebuyers and made it more difficult to sell to first-time and move-up buyers.
Mortgage rates may rise significantly in over the next several years. The benefit of recent trends loosening credit to potential end users of homes may be outweighed by the rise of interest rates for those borrowers, which might lower demand for new homes.
A reduction in the demand for new homes may reduce the amount and price of the residential home lots sold by the developers and homebuilders to which we loan money and/or increase the amount of time such developers and homebuilders must hold the home lots in inventory. These factors increase the likelihood of defaults on our loans, which would adversely affect our business and consolidated financial results.
Most of our assets are commercial construction loans to homebuilders and/or developers which are a higher than average credit risk, and therefore could expose us to higher rates of loan defaults, which could impact our ability to repay amounts owed to you.
Our primary business is extending commercial construction loans to homebuilders, along with some loans for land development. These loans are considered higher risk because the ability to repay depends on the homebuilder’s ability to sell a newly built home. These homes typically are not sold by the homebuilder prior to commencement of construction. Therefore, we may have a higher risk of loan default among our customers than other commercial lending companies. If we suffer increased loan defaults, in any given period, our operations could be materially adversely affected, and we may have difficulty making our principal and interest payments on the Notes.
Our underwriting standards and procedures are more lenient than conventional lenders.
We invest in loans with borrowers who will not be required to meet the credit standards of conventional mortgage lenders, which is riskier than investing in loans made to borrowers who are required to meet those higher credit standards. Because we generally approve loans more quickly than some other lenders or providers of capital, there may be a risk that the due diligence we perform as part of our underwriting procedures will not reveal the need for additional precautions. If so, the interest rate that we charge and the collateral that we require may not adequately protect us or generate adequate returns for the risk undertaken.
If we lose or are unable to hire or retain competent personnel, we may be delayed or unable to implement our business plan, which would adversely affect our ability to repay the Notes.
We do not have an employment agreement with any of our employees and cannot guarantee that they will remain affiliated with us. We do not have key man insurance on any of our key employees. If any of our key employees were to cease their affiliation with us, our consolidated operating results could suffer. We believe that our future success depends, in part, upon our ability to hire and retain additional personnel. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in attracting and retaining such personnel, which could hinder our ability to implement our business plan.
Employee misconduct could harm us by subjecting us to monetary loss, significant legal liability, regulatory scrutiny, and reputational harm.
Our reputation is critical to maintaining and developing relationships with our existing and potential customers and third parties with whom we do business. There is a risk that our employees could engage in misconduct that adversely affects our business. For example, if an employee were to engage-or be accused of engaging-in illegal or suspicious activities including fraud or theft, we could suffer direct losses from the activity, and in addition we could be subject to regulatory sanctions and suffer serious harm to our reputation, financial condition, customer relationships, and ability to attract future customers or employees. Employee misconduct could prompt regulators to allege or to determine based upon such misconduct that we have not established adequate supervisory systems and procedures to inform employees of applicable rules or to detect and deter violations of such rules. It is not always possible to deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent misconduct may not be effective in all cases. Misconduct by our employees, or even unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct, could result in a material adverse effect on our reputation and our business.
A failure in, or breach of, our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of our third-party vendors, including as a result of cyber attacks, could disrupt our business, result in the disclosure or misuse of confidential or proprietary information, damage our reputation, increase our costs, and cause losses.
We rely heavily on communications and information systems to conduct our business. Information security risks for our business have generally increased in recent years in part because of the proliferation of new technologies; the use of the Internet and telecommunications technologies to process, transmit, and store electronic information, including the management and support of a variety of business processes, including financial transactions and records, personally identifiable information, and customer and investor data; and the increased sophistication and activities of organized crime, hackers, terrorists, activists, and other external parties. As customer, public, and regulatory expectations regarding operational and information security have increased, our operating systems and infrastructure must continue to be safeguarded and monitored for potential failures, disruptions, and breakdowns. Certain of our software and technology systems have been developed internally and may be vulnerable to unauthorized access or disclosure. Our business, financial, accounting, and data processing systems, or other operating systems and facilities, may stop operating properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors, including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control. For example, there could be electrical or telecommunication outages; natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes; disease pandemics; events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts; and, as described below, cyber attacks.
Our business relies on its digital technologies, computer and email systems, software, and networks to conduct its operations. Although we have information security procedures and controls in place, our technologies, systems, and networks and, because the nature of our business involves the receipt and retention of personal information about our customers, our customers’ personal accounts may become the target of cyber attacks or information security breaches that could result in the unauthorized release, gathering, monitoring, misuse, loss, or destruction of our customers’, or other third parties’ confidential information. Third parties with whom we do business or who facilitate our business activities, including intermediaries or vendors that provide service or security solutions for our operations, and other third parties, could also be sources of operational and information security risk to us, including from breakdowns or failures of their own systems or capacity constraints. In addition, hardware, software, or applications we develop or procure from third parties may contain defects in design or manufacture or other problems that could unexpectedly compromise information security.
While we have disaster recovery and other policies and procedures designed to prevent or limit the effect of the failure, interruption, or security breach of our information systems, there can be no assurance that any such failures, interruptions, or security breaches will not occur or, if they do occur, that they will be adequately addressed. Our risk and exposure to these matters remain heightened because of the evolving nature of these threats. As a result, cyber security and the continued development and enhancement of our controls, processes, and practices designed to protect our systems, computers, software, data, and networks from attack, damage, or unauthorized access remain a focus for us. As threats continue to evolve, we may be required to expend additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures or to investigate and remediate information security vulnerabilities. Disruptions or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support our business and customers, or cyber attacks or security breaches of the networks or systems, could result in regulatory fines, penalties or intervention, reputation damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, and/or additional compliance costs, any of which could have a material effect on our results of operations or financial condition. Furthermore, if such attacks are not detected immediately, their effect could be compounded. To date, to our knowledge, we have not experienced any material impact relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches.
We are susceptible to customer fraud, which could cause us to suffer losses on our loan portfolio.
Because most of our customers do not publicly report their financial condition, we are susceptible to a customer’s fraud, which could cause us to suffer losses on our loan portfolio. The failure of a customer to accurately report its financial position, compliance with loan covenants, or eligibility for additional borrowings could result in our providing loans that do not meet our underwriting criteria, defaults in loan payments, and the loss of some or all of the principal of a particular loan or loans.
We have entered into loan purchase and sale agreements with third parties to sell them portions of some of our loans. This will increase our leverage. While the agreements are intended to increase our profitability, large loan losses and/or idle cash could actually reduce our profitability, which could impair our ability to pay principal and/or interest on the Notes.
The loan purchase and sale agreements we entered into have allowed us to increase our loan assets and debt. If loans that we create have significant losses, the benefit of larger balances can be outweighed by the additional loan losses. Also, while these transactions are booked as secured financing, they are not lines of credit. Accordingly, we will have increased our loan balances without increasing our lines of credit, which can cause a decrease in liquidity. One solution to this liquidity problem is having idle cash for liquidity, which then could reduce our profitability. If either of these problems is persistent and/or significant, our ability to pay interest and principal on our Notes may be impaired.
Management has broad discretion over the use of proceeds from this offering, and it is possible that the funds will not be used effectively to generate enough cash for payment of principal and interest on the Notes.
We expect to use the proceeds from this offering for purposes detailed in the “Questions and Answers” and “Use of Proceeds” sections. Because no specific allocation of the proceeds is required in the indenture, our management will have broad discretion in determining how the proceeds of the offering will be used.
Additional competition may decrease our profitability, which would adversely affect our ability to repay the Notes.
We may experience increased competition for business from other companies and financial institutions that are willing to extend the same types of loans that we extend at lower interest rates and/or fees. These competitors also may have substantially greater resources, lower cost of funds, and a better-established market presence. If these companies increase their marketing efforts to our market niche of borrowers, or if additional competitors enter our markets, we may be forced to reduce our interest rates and fees in order to maintain or expand our market share. Any reduction in our interest rates, interest income, or fees could have an adverse impact on our profitability and our ability to repay the Notes.
Our real estate loans are illiquid, which could restrict our ability to respond rapidly to changes in economic conditions.
The real estate loans we currently hold and intend to extend are illiquid. As a result, our ability to sell under-performing loans in our portfolio or respond to changes in economic, financial, investment, and other conditions may be very limited. We cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any real estate loan for the price or on the terms set by us, or whether any price or other terms offered by a prospective purchaser would be acceptable to us. We also cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of a loan. The relative illiquidity of our loan assets may impair our ability to generate sufficient cash to make required interest and principal payments on the Notes.
Our systems and procedures might be inadequate to handle our potential growth. Failure to successfully improve our systems and procedures would adversely affect our ability to repay the Notes.
We may experience growth that could place a significant strain upon our operational systems and procedures. Initially, all of our computer systems used electronic spreadsheets and we utilized other methods that a small company would use. Over time, we added a loan document system which many banks use to produce closing documents for loans. We replaced our electronic spreadsheet system for Notes investors in 2018 with a proprietary system that we developed. We also plan on replacing our loan asset tracking system in 2019 with another proprietary system. We may fail to make these improvements effectively. Additionally, our efforts to make these improvements may divert the focus of our personnel. If any of these systems fail, or if we do not replace our loan asset tracking system in the near future, such a failure could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and, ultimately, our ability to repay principal and interest on your Notes.
If we do not meet the requirements to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, our ability to raise new capital will be harmed.
If we do not maintain effective internal controls over our financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 (“Section 404”) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), it could result in delaying future SEC filings or future offerings. If future SEC filings or future offerings are delayed, it could have an extreme negative impact on our cash flow causing us to default on our obligations, including on the Notes.
We are required to devote resources to comply with various provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, including Section 404 relating to internal controls testing, and this may reduce the resources we have available to focus on our core business.
Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the related rules adopted by the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, our management is required to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting. We may encounter problems or delays in completing any changes necessary to our internal controls over financial reporting. Among other things, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal controls over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404. Any failure to comply with the various requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may require significant management time and expenses and divert attention or resources away from our core business. In addition, we may encounter problems or delays in completing the implementation of any requested improvements provided by our independent registered public accounting firm.
We are subject to risk of significant losses on our loans because we do not require our borrowers to insure the title of their collateral for our loans.
It is customary for lenders extending loans secured by real estate to require the borrower to provide title insurance with minimum coverage amounts set by the lender. We do not require most of our homebuilders to provide title insurance on their collateral for our loans to them. This represents an additional risk to us as the lender. The homebuilder may have a title problem which normally would be covered by insurance, but may result in a loss on the loan because insurance proceeds are not available.
The collateral securing our real estate loans may not be sufficient to pay back the principal amount in the event of a default by the borrowers.
In the event of default, our real estate loan investments are generally dependent entirely on the loan collateral to recover our investment. Our loan collateral consists primarily of a mortgage on the underlying property. In the event of a default, we may not be able to recover the premises promptly and the proceeds we receive upon sale of the property may be adversely affected by risks generally related to interests in real property, including changes in general or local economic conditions and/or specific industry segments, declines in real estate values, increases in interest rates, real estate tax rates and other operating expenses including energy costs, changes in governmental rules, regulations and fiscal policies (including environmental legislation), acts of God, and other factors which are beyond our or our borrowers’ control. Current market conditions may reduce the proceeds we are able to receive in the event of a foreclosure on our collateral. Our remedies with respect to the loan collateral may not provide us with a recovery adequate to recover our investment.
If a large number of our current and prospective borrowers are unable to repay their loans within a normal average number of months, we will experience a significant reduction in our income and liquidity, and may not be able to repay the Notes as they become due.
Construction loans that we extend are expected to be repaid in a normal average number of months, typically eight months, depending on the size of the loan. Development loans are expected to last for many years. We have interest paid on a monthly basis, but also charge a fee which will be earned over the life of the loan. If these loans are repaid over a longer period of time, the amount of income that we receive on these loans expressed as a percentage of the outstanding loan amount will be reduced, and fewer loans with new fees will be able to be made, since the cash will not be available. This will reduce our income as a percentage of the Notes, and if this percentage is significantly reduced it could impair our ability to pay principal and interest on the Notes.
Our cost of funds is substantially higher than that of banks.
Because we do not offer FDIC insurance, and because we want to grow our Notes Program faster than most banks want to grow their CD base, our Notes offer significantly higher rates than bank CDs. Our cost of funds is higher than banks’ cost of funds due to, among other factors, the higher rate that we pay on our Notes and other sources of financing. This may make it more difficult for us to compete against banks when they rejoin our niche lending market in large numbers. This could result in losses which could impair or eliminate our ability to pay interest and principal on our outstanding Notes.
We are subject to the general market risks associated with real estate construction and development.
Our financial performance depends on the successful construction and/or development and sale of the homes and real estate parcels that serve as security for the loans we make to homebuilders and developers. As a result, we are subject to the general market risks of real estate construction and development, including weather conditions, the price and availability of materials used in construction of homes and development of lots, environmental liabilities and zoning laws, and numerous other factors that may materially and adversely affect the success of the projects.
Our operations are not subject to the stringent banking regulatory requirements designed to protect investors, so repayment of your investment is completely dependent upon our successful operation of our business.
Our operations are not subject to the stringent regulatory requirements imposed upon the operations of commercial banks, savings banks, and thrift institutions, and are not subject to periodic compliance examinations by federal or state banking regulators. For example, we will not be well diversified in our product risk, and we cannot benefit from government programs designed to protect regulated financial institutions. Therefore, an investment in our Notes does not have the regulatory protections that the holder of a demand account or a certificate of deposit at a bank does. The return on any Notes purchased by you is completely dependent upon our successful operations of our business. To the extent that we do not successfully operate our business, our ability to pay interest and principal on your Notes will be impaired.
We have the right to pay your investment back to you before the stated maturity of your investment. If we do, you may not be able to reinvest the proceeds at comparable rates and you will stop earning interest on your investment.
At any time, we may redeem all or a portion of the outstanding Notes purchased by you prior to their maturity. In the event we redeem any part or all of your Notes early, you would have the risk of reinvesting the proceeds at the then-current market rates, which may be higher or lower.
We are an “emerging growth company” under the federal securities laws and are subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.
We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or the JOBS Act, and are eligible to take advantage of certain exemptions from, or reduced disclosure obligations relating to, various reporting requirements that are normally applicable to public companies.
We will remain an “emerging growth company” until the earliest of (1) the last day of the first fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenues of $1.07 billion or more, (2) the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the first sale of our common equity securities pursuant to an effective registration statement, (3) the date on which we become a “large accelerated filer” as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act (which would occur if the market value of our common equity held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million, measured as of the last business day of our most recently completed second fiscal quarter, and we have been publicly reporting for at least 12 months), or (4) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during the preceding three-year period. Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies are not required to (1) provide an auditor’s attestation report on management’s assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, (2) comply with new requirements adopted by the PCAOB which require mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report in which the auditor must provide additional information about the audit and the issuer’s financial statements, (3) comply with new audit rules adopted by the PCAOB after April 5, 2012 (unless the SEC determines otherwise), (4) provide certain disclosures relating to executive compensation generally required for larger public companies, or (5) hold shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation.
Additionally, the JOBS Act provides that an “emerging growth company” may take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies. This means an “emerging growth company” can delay adopting certain accounting standards until such standards are otherwise applicable to private companies. We intend to take advantage of such extended transition period. Since we will not be required to comply with new or revised accounting standards on the relevant dates on which adoption of such standards is required for other public companies, our financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of companies that comply with public company effective dates. If we were to subsequently elect to instead comply with these public company effective dates, such election would be irrevocable pursuant to Section 107 of the JOBS Act.
We are exposed to risk of environmental liabilities with respect to properties of which we take title. Any resulting environmental remediation expense may reduce our ability to repay the Notes.
In the course of our business, we may foreclose and take title to real estate that could be subject to environmental liabilities. We may be held liable to a governmental entity or to third parties for property damage, personal injury, investigation, and clean-up costs incurred by these parties in connection with environmental contamination, or may be required to investigate or clean up hazardous or toxic substances or chemical release at any property. The costs associated with investigation or remediation activities could be substantial. In addition, as the owner or former owner of a contaminated site, we may be subject to common law claims by third parties based on damages and costs resulting from environmental contamination emanating from the property. If we ever become subject to significant environmental liabilities, our business, financial condition, liquidity, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Persons investing the assets of employee benefit plans, qualified retirement plans, IRAs, and other tax-favored benefit accounts should consider the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”) and related risks of investing in the Notes.
ERISA Section 406 and Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), prohibit certain transactions that involve (i) a pension, 401(k), or other qualified retirement plan or employee benefit plan subject to ERISA (“plan”), or a tax-favored benefit account such as an individual retirement account or annuity, Archer MSA, health savings account, or Coverdell education savings account (“account”), and (ii) any person who is a “party-in-interest” or “disqualified person” with respect to such a plan or account. Consequently, the fiduciary of a plan or owner of an account contemplating an investment in the Notes should consider whether we, any other person associated with the issuance of the Notes, or any of our or their affiliates, is or might become a “party-in-interest” or “disqualified person” with respect to the plan or account and, if so, whether an exemption from such prohibited transaction rules is applicable.
In addition, if you are investing the assets of an individual retirement account or annuity (“IRA”) or a qualified or nonqualified pension or retirement plan, you should satisfy yourself that your investment (i) is consistent with your fiduciary obligations under ERISA and other applicable law, (ii) is made in accordance with the documents and instruments governing your plan or IRA, including your plan’s investment policy, and (iii) satisfies any prudence and diversification requirements that may apply under ERISA or other applicable law. You should also determine that your investment will not impair the liquidity of the plan’s trust or the IRA and will not produce UBTI for the plan’s trust or the IRA; or, if it does produce UBTI, that the purchase and holding of the Notes is still consistent with your fiduciary obligations. You should also satisfy yourself that you will be able to value the assets of the plan annually or as otherwise required by ERISA or other applicable law.
For further discussion of issues and risks associated with an investment in the Notes by plans, IRAs and other accounts, see the “Certain Employee Benefit Plan Considerations” section of this prospectus.
Risks Related to Conflicts of Interest
Our CEO (who is also on our board of managers) will face conflicts of interest as a result of the secured lines of credit made to us, which could result in actions that are not in the best interests of our Note holders.
We have two lines of credit from Daniel M. Wallach (our CEO and chairman of the board of managers) and his affiliates. The first line of credit has a maximum principal borrowing amount of $1,250,000 and is payable to Mr. Wallach and his wife, Joyce S. Wallach, as tenants by the entirety (the “Wallach LOC”). The second line of credit has a maximum principal borrowing amount of $250,000 and is payable to the 2007 Daniel M. Wallach Legacy Trust (the “Trust LOC,” and together with the Wallach LOC, the “Wallach Affiliate LOCs”). As of September 30, 2018, there are no amounts outstanding under the Wallach LOC or the Trust LOC. During June 2018 we entered into first amendments to the Wallach LOC and the Trust LOC which modified the interest rates to generally equal the prime rate plus 3%. The interest rates for the Wallach Affiliate LOCs was 8.0% as of September 30, 2018. The Wallach Affiliate LOCs are collateralized by a lien against all of our assets. The Notes are subordinated in right of payment to all secured debt, including these Wallach Affiliate LOCs. Pursuant to the promissory note for each Wallach Affiliate LOC, the lenders have the option of funding any amount up to the face amount of the note, in the lender’s sole and absolute discretion. Therefore, Mr. Wallach will face conflicts of interest in deciding whether and when to exercise any rights pursuant to the Wallach Affiliate LOCs. If these Wallach affiliates exercise their rights to collect on their collateral upon a default by us, we could lose some or all of our assets, which could have a negative effect on our ability to repay the Notes.
As a result of his large equity ownership in the Company, our CEO will face a conflict of interest in deciding the amount of distributions to equity owners, which could result in actions that are not in your best interests.
As of September 30, 2018, our CEO (who is also on the board of managers) beneficially owns 78.7% of the common equity of the Company. He and his wife also own 52.9% of the Series C cumulative preferred units outstanding as of the date of this prospectus. Since the Company is taxed as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, all profits and losses flow through to the equity owners. Therefore, Mr. Wallach and his affiliated equity owners of the Company will be motivated to distribute profits to the equity owners on an annual basis, rather than retain earnings in the Company for Company purposes. There is currently no limit in the indenture or otherwise on the amount of funds that may be distributed by the Company to its equity owners. If substantial funds are distributed to the equity owners, the liquidity and capital resources of the Company will be reduced and our ability to repay the Notes may be negatively impacted.
Risks Related to Liquidity
We depend on the availability of significant sources of credit to meet our liquidity needs and our failure to maintain these sources of credit could materially and adversely affect our liquidity in the future.
We plan to maintain our loan purchase and sale agreements and our lines of credit from affiliates so that we may borrow when necessary to meet our obligation to redeem maturing Notes, pay interest on the Notes, meet our commitments to lend money to our customers, and for other general corporate purposes. However, as of September 30, 2018, we have availability of $2,500,000 on our lines of credit from affiliates. Certain features of the loan purchase and sale agreements with third parties have added liquidity and flexibility, which have lessened the need for the lines of credit from affiliates. If we fail to maintain liquidity through our loan purchase and sale agreements and lines of credit, we will be more dependent on the proceeds from the Notes for our continued liquidity. If the sale of the Notes is significantly reduced or delayed for any reason and we fail to obtain or renew a line of credit, or we default on any of our lines of credit, then our ability to meet our obligations, including our Note obligations, could be materially adversely affected, and we may not have enough cash to pay back your investment. Also, the failure to maintain an active line of credit (and therefore using cash for liquidity instead of a borrowing line) will reduce our earnings, because we will be paying interest on the Notes, while we are holding cash instead of reducing our borrowings.
We have unfunded commitments to builders as of September 30, 2018. If every builder borrowed every amount allowed (which would mean all of their homes were complete) and no builders paid us back, we would need to fund that amount. While some of that amount would automatically come from our loan purchase and sale agreements, the rest would have to come from our Notes Program and/or our lines of credit. Therefore, we may not have the ability to fund our commitments to builders.
As of September 30, 2018, we have $22,163,000 of unfunded commitments to builders. If every builder borrowed every amount allowed and no builders repaid us then we would need to fund that amount. Lines of credit, payoffs from builders, and immediate investments in our Notes may not be enough to fund our commitments to builders as they become payable. If we default on these obligations, then we may face any one or more of the following: a higher default rate, lawsuits brought by customers, an eventual lack of business from borrowers, missed principal and interest payments to Note holders and holders of other debt, and a lack of desire for investors to invest in our Notes Program. Therefore, we could default on our repayment obligations to our Note holders.
One of our secured lines of credit is set to expire in 2019 , and another of our secured lines of credit is set to expire in 2020 . Failure of those lines to renew could strain our ability to pay other obligations.
We have a secured line of credit with a maximum principal borrowing amount of $7,000,000 (the “Swanson LOC”) that will become due in April 2020 unless extended by Mr. Swanson for one or more additional 15-month periods. The Swanson LOC has a principal outstanding amount of $7,000,000 as of September 30, 2018. We can provide no assurance that the Swanson LOC will be renewed. We also have another secured line of credit with a maximum principal borrowing amount of $1,325,000 (the “Shuman LOC”) that will become due in July 2019 unless extended by the lenders for one or more additional 12-month periods. The Shuman LOC has a principal outstanding amount of $1,325,000 as of September 30, 2018. The Shuman LOC is funded by a group of lenders. We can provide no assurance that the Shuman LOC will be renewed. If we are unable to renegotiate or extend our lines of credit, then we may default. Therefore, we could default on repayment obligations to some of our debt holders, including our Note holders.
We have a significant amount of debt and expect to incur a significant amount of additional debt in the future, including issuance of the Notes, which will subject us to increased risk of loss. Our present and future senior debt may make it difficult to repay the Notes.
We have a significant amount of debt and expect to incur a significant amount of additional debt in the future. As of September 30, 2018, we have approximately $45,523,000 of debt. Our primary sources of debt include our lines of credit, loan purchase and sale agreements, and the Notes. As of September 30, 2018, we have a total outstanding balance of $4,011,000 on our lines of credit . As of September 30, 2018, we have a total outstanding balance of approximately $16,931,000 on our loan purchase and sale agreements. We also have the capacity to sell portions of many loans under the terms of our loan purchase and sale agreements. The loan purchase and sale agreements and other secured debt are with third parties and all but one of the lines of credit are collateralized by loans that we have issued to builders. The Notes are subordinate and junior in priority to any and all of our senior debt and senior subordinated debt, and equal to any and all non-senior debt, including other Notes. There are no restrictions in the indenture regarding the amount of senior debt or other indebtedness that we may incur. Upon the maturity of our senior debt, by lapse of time, acceleration or otherwise, the holders of our senior debt have first right to receive payment, in full, prior to any payments being made to a Note holder or to other non-senior debt. Therefore, upon such maturity of our senior debt Note holders would only be repaid in full if the senior debt is satisfied first and, following satisfaction of the senior debt, if there is an amount sufficient to fully satisfy all amounts owed under the Notes and any other non-senior debt.
In addition, we expect to incur a significant amount of additional debt in the future, including issuance of the Notes, borrowing under credit facilities, and other arrangements. The Notes will be subordinated in right of payment to all secured debt, including the Wallach Affiliate LOCs, the loan purchase and sale agreements, the senior subordinated note discussed in the prior paragraph, and the line of credit discussed in the prior paragraph. Therefore, in the event of a default on the secured debt, affiliates of our Company, including Mr. Wallach, have the right to receive payment ahead of Note holders, as do other secured debt holders, such as the loan purchasers under the loan purchase and sale agreements. Accordingly, our business is subject to increased risk of a total loss of your investment if we are unable to repay all of our secured debt.
Increases in interest rates would increase the amount of debt payments under the Wallach Affiliate LOCs which could impair our ability to repay the principal and interest on the Notes.
The interest rate under the Wallach Affiliate LOCs is generally equal to the prime rate plus three percent. Increases in interest rates will increase the applicable prime rate and therefore, the interest rate under the Wallach Affiliate LOCs will increase. An increase in the interest rate would increase the amount of debt payments under the Wallach Affiliate LOCs which would reduce our cash flows and could impair our ability to repay the principal and interest on the Notes.
We incurred indebtedness secured by our office property, which may result in foreclosure.
The debt incurred by us in connection with our office property is secured by a mortgage. If we default on our secured indebtedness, the lender may foreclose and the entire investment in the office property could be lost, which could adversely affect our ability to repay the principal and interest on the Notes.
If the proceeds from the issuance of the Notes exceed the cash flow needed to fund the desirable business opportunities that are identified, we may not be able to invest all of the funds in a manner that generates sufficient income to pay the interest and principal on the Notes.
Our ability to pay interest on our debt, including the Notes, pay our expenses, and cover loan losses is dependent upon interest and fee income we receive from loans extended to our customers. If we are not able to lend to a sufficient number of customers at high enough interest rates, we may not have enough interest and fee income to meet our obligations, which could impair our ability to pay interest and principal to you. If money brought in from new Notes and from repayments of loans from our customers exceeds our short term obligations such as expenses, Note interest and redemptions, and line of credit principal and interest, then it is likely to be held as cash, which will have a lower return than the interest rate we are paying on the Notes. This will lower earnings and may cause losses which could impair our ability to repay the principal and interest on the Notes.
The indenture does not contain the type of covenants restricting our actions, such as restrictions on creating senior debt, paying distributions to our owners, merging, recapitalizing, and/or entering into highly leveraged transactions. The indenture does not contain provisions requiring early payment of Notes in the event we suffer a material adverse change in our business or fail to meet certain financial standards. Therefore, the indenture provides very little protection of your investment.
The Notes do not have the benefit of extensive covenants. The covenants in the indenture are not designed to protect your investment if there is a material adverse change in our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. For example, the indenture does not contain any restrictions on our ability to create or incur senior debt or other debt to pay distributions to our equity holders, including our Chief Executive Officer. It also does not contain any financial covenants (such as a fixed charge coverage or a minimum amount of equity) to help ensure our ability to pay interest and principal on the Notes. The indenture does not contain provisions that permit Note holders to require that we redeem the Notes if there is a takeover, recapitalization, or similar restructuring. In addition, the indenture does not contain covenants specifically designed to protect you if we engage in a highly leveraged transaction. Therefore, the indenture provides very little protection of your investment.
Additional competition for investment dollars may decrease our liquidity, which would adversely affect our ability to repay the Notes.
We could experience increased competition for investment dollars from other companies and financial institutions that are willing to offer higher interest rates. We may be forced to increase our interest rates in order to maintain or increase the issuance of Notes. Any increase in our interest rates could have an adverse impact on our liquidity and our ability to meet a debt covenant under any future lines of credit obtained and/or to repay the Notes.
If we are unable to meet our Note maturity and redemption obligations, and we are unable to obtain additional financing or other sources of capital, we may be forced to sell off our operating assets or we might be forced to cease our operations, and you could lose some or all of your investment.
Our Notes have maturities ranging from 12 months to 48 months . In addition, holders of our Notes may request redemption upon death. We intend to pay our Note maturity and redemption obligations using our normal cash sources, such as collections on our loans to customers, as well as proceeds from the Notes Program. We may experience periods in which our Note maturity and redemption obligations are high. Since our loans are generally repaid when our borrower sells a real estate asset, our operations and other sources of funds may not provide sufficient available cash flow to meet our continued Note maturity and redemption obligations. While we have secured lines of credit from affiliates of up to $2,500,000 with availability of $2,500,000 as of September 30, 2018, our affiliates are not obligated to fund our borrowing requests. One of our secured lines of credit with an outside party is only $500,000 (which is fully drawn as of September 30, 2018). For all of these reasons, we may be substantially reliant upon the net offering proceeds we receive from the Notes Program to pay these obligations. If we are unable to repay or redeem the principal amount of the Notes when due, and we are unable to obtain additional financing or other sources of capital, we may be forced to sell off our operating assets or we might be forced to cease our operations, and you could lose some or all of your investment.
There is no “early warning” on the Notes if we perform poorly. Only interest and principal payment defaults on the Notes can trigger a default on the Notes prior to a bankruptcy.
There are a limited number of performance covenants to be maintained under the Notes and/or the indenture. Therefore, no “early warning” of a possible default by us exists. Under the indenture, only (i) the non-payment of interest and/or principal on the Notes by us when payments are due, (ii) our bankruptcy or insolvency, or (iii) a failure to comply with provisions of the Notes or the indenture (if such failure is not cured or waived within 60 days after receipt of a specific notice) could cause a default to occur.
You will not have the opportunity to evaluate our investments before they are made.
We intend to use the net offering proceeds in accordance with the “Use of Proceeds” section of our prospectus, including investment in secured real estate loans for the acquisition and development of parcels of real property as single-family residential lots and/or the construction of single-family homes. Since we have not identified any investments that we will make with the net proceeds of this offering, we are generally unable to provide you with information to evaluate the potential investments we may make with the net offering proceeds before purchasing the Notes. You must rely on our management to evaluate our investment opportunities, and we are subject to the risk that our management may not be able to achieve our objectives, may make unwise decisions, or may make decisions that are not in our best interest.
A portion of our collateral securing the Pennsylvania Loans is preferred equity in our Company. In the event of a foreclosure on the properties securing the Pennsylvania Loans, it would be difficult to sell the preferred equity in order to reduce the loan balance.
Some of the collateral securing the Pennsylvania Loans is preferred equity in our Company, which has a book value of $1,320,000 as of September 30, 2018. If the borrower defaults on any of the Pennsylvania Loans and we are forced to use collateral to repay the loan, we will need to sell this preferred interest in us to a third party. There is no liquid market for this instrument, so we can give no assurance as to our ability to generate any amount of proceeds from that collateral.
Because we require a substantial amount of cash to service our debt, we may not be able to pay our obligations under the Notes.
To service our total indebtedness, we require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate cash depends on many factors, including our successful financial and operating performance. We cannot assure you that our business plans will succeed or that we will achieve our anticipated financial results, which may prevent us from being able to pay our obligations under the Notes.
The indenture and terms of our Notes do not restrict our use of leverage. A relatively small loss can cause over leveraged companies to suffer a material adverse change in their financial position. If this happened to us, it may make it difficult to repay the Notes.
Financial institutions which are federally insured typically have 8–12% of their total assets in equity. A reduction in their loan assets due to losses of 2% reduces their equity by roughly 20%. Our company had 12% and 16% of our loan assets in equity as of September 30, 2018 and December 31, 2017, respectively. If we allow our assets to increase without increasing our equity, we could have a much lower equity as a percentage of assets than we have today, which would increase our risk of nonpayment on the Notes. Note holders have no structural mechanism to protect them from this action, and rely solely on us to keep equity at a satisfactory ratio.
We expect to be substantially reliant upon the net offering proceeds we receive from the sale of our Notes to meet principal and interest obligations on previously issued Notes.
We intend to use the net offering proceeds from the sale of Notes to, among other things, make payments on other borrowings, fund redemption obligations, make interest payments on the Notes, and to run our business to the extent that other sources of liquidity from our operations (e.g., repayment of loans we have previously extended to our customers) and our credit lines are inadequate. However, these other sources of liquidity are subject to risks. Our operations alone may not produce a sufficient return on investment to repay interest and principal on our outstanding Notes. We may not be able to obtain an additional line of credit when needed or retain one or more of our existing lines of credit. We may not be able to attract new investors, have sufficient loan repayments, or have sufficient borrowing capacity when we need additional funds to repay principal and interest on our outstanding Notes or redeem our outstanding Notes. If any of these things occur, our liquidity and capital needs may be severely affected, and we may be forced to sell off our loan receivables and other operating assets, or we may be forced to cease our operations.
If we default in our Note payment obligations, the indenture agreements provide that the trustee could accelerate all payments due under the Notes, which would further negatively affect our consolidated financial position and cash flows.
Our obligations with respect to the Notes are governed by the terms of indenture agreements with U.S. Bank National Association as trustee. Under the indentures, in addition to other possible events of default, if we fail to make a payment of principal or interest under any Note and this failure is not cured within 30 days, we will be deemed in default. Upon such a default, the trustee or holders of 25% in principal of the outstanding Notes could declare all principal and accrued interest immediately due and payable. If our total assets do not cover these payment obligations, we would most likely be unable to make all payments under the Notes when due, and we might be forced to cease our operations.
There is no sinking fund to ensure repayment of the Notes at maturity, so you are totally reliant upon our ability to generate adequate cash flows.
We do not contribute funds to a separate account, commonly known as a sinking fund, to repay the Notes upon maturity. Because funds are not set aside periodically for the repayment of the Notes over their respective terms, you must rely on our consolidated cash flows from operations, investing and financing activities, and other sources of financing for repayment, such as funds from the sale of the Notes, loan repayments, and other borrowings. To the extent cash flows from operations and other sources are not sufficient to repay the Notes you may lose all or part of your investment.
If we have a large number of repayments on the Notes, whether because of maturity or redemption due to death, we may be unable to make such repayments.
Upon the death of an investor, if requested by the executor or administrator of the investor’s estate (or if the Note is held jointly, by the surviving joint investor), we are obligated to redeem his or her Notes without any interest penalty. Such redemption requests are not subject to our consent but may be subject to restrictions in the indenture. If a large number of our investors, or a single investor holding a significant portion of the Notes, die within a short period of time, we could be faced with a large number of redemption requests. We are also required to repay all of the Notes upon their maturity. If the amounts of those repayments are too high, and we cannot offset them with loan repayments, secure new financing, or issue additional Notes, we may not have the liquidity to repay the investments.