Q:Who is Shepherd’s Finance, LLC?
A: Shepherd’s Finance, LLC, along with our consolidated subsidiary, (“Shepherd’s Finance,” “we,” “our,” “us” or the “Company”) is a finance company organized as a limited liability company in the State of Delaware. Our business is focused on commercial lending to participants in the residential construction and development industry. Our Chief Executive Officer (who is also on our Board of Managers) is Daniel M. Wallach. Mr. Wallach is responsible for overseeing our day-to-day operations. We were organized in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2007 under the name 84 RE Partners, LLC and changed our name to Shepherd’s Finance, LLC on December 2, 2011, after we terminated our relationship with 84 Lumber Company, as discussed further below. We converted to a Delaware limited liability company on March 29, 2012. We are located in Jacksonville, Florida.
All of our outstanding common membership interests are owned directly or beneficially by Mr. Wallach and his wife; therefore, Mr. Wallach is able to exercise significant control over our business, including with respect to the composition of our Board of Managers. A Manager may be removed by a vote of holders of 80% of our outstanding voting membership interests.
Q:What are your primary business activities?
A: We extend and service commercial loans to small-to-medium sized homebuilders for the purchase of lots and/or the construction of homes thereon. We also extend and service loans for the purchase of undeveloped land and the development of that land into residential building lots. Most of the loans are for “spec homes” or “spec lots,” meaning they are built or developed speculatively (with no specific end-user homeowner in mind). The loans are secured, and the collateral is the land, lots, and constructed items thereon, as well as additional collateral, as we deem appropriate. At the end of December, 2011 we had development loans in two subdivisions both in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As of July 31, 2015, we had construction loans in nine states to eleven borrowers, along with the still progressing Pittsburgh development loans (both of which have sold through about 50% of their eventual total size). We intend to continue expanding our lending activity and further diversify our loan portfolio.
Q:What is your experience in this type of lending?
A: Our Chief Executive Officer, Daniel M. Wallach, has been in the housing industry since 1985. For 11 years, he was the CFO of 84 Lumber Company (“84 Lumber”), a multi-billion dollar supplier of building materials to home builders. He also was responsible for 84 Lumber’s lending business for 20 years. During those years, he was responsible for the creation and implementation of many secured lending programs to builders, some of which were performed fully by 84 Lumber, and some of which were performed in partnership with banks. In general, both the creation of all loans and the resolution of defaulted loans were Mr. Wallach’s responsibility, whether the loans were company loans or loans in partnership with banks. Through these programs, he was responsible for the creation of approximately $2,000,000,000 in loans which generated interest spread of $50,000,000 after deducting for loan losses. Through the years, Mr. Wallach managed the development of systems for reducing and managing the risks and losses on defaulted loans. Mr. Wallach also was responsible for 84 Lumber’s unsecured debt to builders, which reached over $300,000,000 at its peak. He also gained experience in securing defaulted unsecured debt.
Q:Given the current low number of housing starts in the U.S. today, why will your potential customers want to borrow from you?
A: While the number of housing starts dropped to historically low levels several years ago, there are still more than 600,000 single family homes being built in the U.S. on a yearly basis. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Inflation, Interest Rates, and Housing Starts.” Many small-to-medium sized home builders can build homes for customers who have their own financing, but are unable to obtain or supply their own financing to build speculative or model homes. The ability to have available either a speculative home or a model home can greatly increase the total number of homes a builder can sell per year, so despite the high cost of providing financing to builders today, we believe that there is a significant demand. Banks, which historically have been the most popular provider of financing for builders, are mostly not in that business today, or are in the business at a greatly reduced level. We believe that this void in supply gives us the opportunity to profit in this niche business of providing financing to small-to-medium sized home builders.
Q:What is the role of the Board of Managers?
A: While our Chief Executive Officer is responsible for our day-to-day operations, our Board of Managers is responsible for overseeing our business. Our Board of Managers is comprised of Daniel M. Wallach, who is also our Chief Executive Officer, and three independent Managers – Bill Myrick, Eric Rauscher, and Kenneth R. Summers.
Q:What kind of offering is this?
A: We are offering up to $70,000,000 in Notes.
Q:How are the Notes sold?
A: The Notes are offered directly by us without an underwriter or placement agent. We may market the Notes by advertisements in local and/or national newspapers, roadway sign advertisements, advertisements on the internet, or through direct mail campaigns and other miscellaneous media in states in which we have properly registered the offering or qualified for an exemption from registration.
Q:What are the proposed terms of the Notes you are offering?
A: The Notes will initially be offered with maturity (duration) lengths ranging from one year to four years from the date of issuance. The interest rates will vary but initial annual interest rates are as follows: 6.00% for 12-month Notes; 6.75% for 19-month Notes; 7.25% for 28-month Notes; and 10.00% for 48-month Notes. Interest will be calculated based on the actual number of days your Note is outstanding. Interest is calculated and compounded monthly based on a 365/366 day year. When you make an investment, your rate will be fixed throughout the duration of your investment.
Q:What will you do with the proceeds raised from this offering?
A: If all of the Notes offered by this prospectus are sold, we expect to receive approximately $69,589,000 in net proceeds (after deducting all costs and expenses associated with this offering). We intend to use substantially all of the net proceeds from this offering as follows and in the following order of priority:
- to make payments on other borrowings, including loans from affiliates;
- to pay Notes on their scheduled due date and Notes that we are required to redeem early;
- to make interest payments on the Notes; and
- to the extent we have remaining net proceeds and adequate cash on hand, to fund any one or more of the following activities:
- to extend commercial construction loans to homebuilders to build single or multi-family homes or develop lots;
- to make distributions to equity owners, including the preferred equity;
- for working capital and other corporate purposes;
- to purchase defaulted secured debt from financial institutions at a discount;
- to purchase defaulted unsecured debt from suppliers to homebuilders at a discount and then secure it with real estate or other collateral;
- to purchase real estate, in which we will operate our business; and
- to redeem Notes which we have decided to redeem prior to maturity.
Q:What is a Note?
A: A Note is our promise to pay you a specified rate of interest for a specific period of time and to repay your principal investment upon maturity. The Notes are our general unsecured obligations and are subordinate in right of payment to all present and future senior debt. “Subordinated” means that if we are unable to pay our debts as they come due, all of the senior debt would be paid in full first. After the senior debt is paid in full, any remaining money would be used to repay the Notes and other subordinated debt that are equal to the Notes in priority. As of June 30,2015, we had $829,000 in senior debt and approximately $6,691,000 in subordinated debt, which amount includes Notes issued pursuant to this offering. We expect to incur debt in the future, including but not limited to, more senior debt and the Notes offered pursuant to this offering.
Q:What is an indenture?
A: As required by United States federal law, the Notes will be governed by a document called an “indenture.” An indenture is a contract between us and a trustee. The main role of the trustee is to enforce your rights against us if we are in default of our obligations under the Notes. Defaults are described in this prospectus under “Description of Notes – Events of Default.” There are some limitations on the extent to which the trustee acts on your behalf. These limitations are described in this prospectus under “Description of Notes – Events of Default.”
The Notes are issued under an indenture dated September 29, 2015 between us and U.S. Bank National Association (“U.S. Bank”), as trustee. The indenture does not limit the principal amount of debt securities that we may issue under it. The indenture is governed by Delaware law and is qualified under the Trust Indenture Act of 1939.
Q:Is my investment in the Notes insured or guaranteed?
A: No, the Notes are:
- NOT certificates of deposit with an insured financial institution;
- NOT guaranteed by any depository institution; and
- NOT insured by the FDIC or any governmental or private insurance fund, or any other person or entity.
The Notes are backed only by the faith and credit of our Company and our operations. You are dependent upon our ability to effectively manage our business to generate sufficient cash flow, including cash flow from our commercial lending activities, for the repayment of principal at maturity and the ongoing payment of interest on the Notes.
Q:How is the interest rate determined?
A: From time to time, we will establish the interest rate(s) we are offering for various purchase amounts and maturities. By referring to the features (e.g., the maturities and interest rates) which are in effect at the time, you will see the interest rate(s) and maturity date(s) we are currently offering for your desired purchase amount. The interest rate offered on the Notes depends on which maturity date and purchase amount you select. The interest rate on a Note purchased by you is fixed and will not change over the term of the Note.
Q:How is interest calculated and paid to me?
A: Interest will be calculated based on the actual number of days your Note is outstanding. Interest is calculated and compounded monthly based on a 365-day year (366-day in case of a leap year). Interest will be earned daily, and we will pay interest to you monthly or at maturity as you request. If you choose to be paid interest at maturity rather than monthly, the interest will be compounded monthly. If any day on which a payment is due with respect to a Note is not a business day, then you will not be entitled to payment of the amount due until the following business day, and no additional interest will be due as a result of such delay. If you elect to be paid interest monthly, interest on your Note will be paid on the first business day of every month. Your first interest payment date will be the month following the month in which the Note is issued, except that if a new Note is issued within the last 10 days preceding an interest payment date, the first interest payment will be made on the next succeeding interest payment date (i.e. approximately 35-40 days after issuance). No payments under $50 will be made, with any interest payment being accrued to your benefit and earning interest on a monthly compounding basis until the payment due to you is at least $50 on an interest payment date.
Q:If I elect to have interest on the Note paid in one lump sum at maturity, can I change my election later?
A: Yes, we will allow you to change your election so that you receive monthly payments of earned and unpaid interest instead. You should contact us at (302) 752-2688 (30-ASK-ABOUT) or use our website www.shepherdsfinance.com to find out what you need to do to change your election.
Q:When do the Notes mature?
A: All of our maturity dates will be at least one year from the date of issuance, but no longer than four years from the date of issuance. Not all maturity dates may be offered at all times. We will publish the maturity date(s) we are offering from time to time along with the other established features of the Notes we are then offering.
Q:May I renew a Note purchased by me?
A: Between 30 to 60 days prior to the maturity date of the Note, you will receive a letter notifying you of the upcoming maturity date and, if we are offering you any renewal options and have an effective offering available: (1) a current prospectus and (2) a renewal form containing your renewal options. The renewal form will describe the terms of the Notes offered at that time and you may select one of the renewal options offered. We may, at our choosing, offer any one or more of the following renewal options (most likely at an interest rate different from your interest rate) at:
- the same term length as the original term length;
- a different term length;
- various term lengths, from which you may select; or
- other renewal terms that may be offered by us at our choosing.
If you properly complete, execute and return the renewal form at least five business days prior to the maturity date, your Note will be deemed renewed under the renewal terms selected, provided that those terms are still effective (or were effective in the last seven days) at the time we receive your renewal. A Note confirmation will be issued by us within five business days after the original maturity date. Rates are subject to change. You should contact Shepherd’s Finance to confirm the rate in effect at the time of your investment. Our current rates are also included in our SEC filings, which can be found at www.sec.gov. We will honor the rate on the renewal form if it is either current or received within seven (7) days of the date that the particular interest rate and maturity offering selected were discontinued.
If you do not respond or if there are no options for renewal offered to you, then principal and any earned but unpaid interest will be paid to you at maturity.
Q:May I redeem a Note prior to maturity?
A: Beginning 180 calendar days after the issuance date, you may request, in writing, that we redeem the Note. Your request, however, is subject to our consent and we may decline your request at our choosing. If we agree to your redemption request, a 180-day interest penalty will be imposed. This means that you will not receive the last 180 days’ worth of interest and, if the accrued and unpaid interest is not sufficient to cover the amount of the penalty, then any remaining amount of the penalty shall be deducted from the principal amount of the Note (i.e., we will subtract the remaining interest penalty from your original investment).
Q:What happens if I die prior to the maturity date?
A: At the written request of the executor or administrator of your estate (or if your Note is held jointly with another investor, the joint owner of your Note), we will redeem any Note at any time after death. The redemption price will be equal to the principal amount plus earned but unpaid interest payable on the Note, without any interest penalty. We will seek to honor any such request as soon as reasonably possible based on our cash position at the time and our then current cash needs, but generally within two weeks of the request. It is possible that the subordination provisions in the indenture may restrict our ability to honor your request.
Q:Can you force me to redeem my Note?
A: Yes. At any time we may call all or a portion of your Note for redemption. We will give you 30 to 60 days’ notice of the mandatory redemption and repay your Note for a price equal to the principal amount plus earned but unpaid interest to the day we repay your Note.
Q:Are there any JOBS Act considerations?
A: In April 2012, President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or the “JOBS Act.” We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in 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. Such exemptions include, among other things, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations relating to executive compensation in proxy statements and periodic reports, and exemptions from the requirement to hold a non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation and obtain shareholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.
Additionally, under Section 107 of the JOBS Act, an “emerging growth company” may take advantage of the extended transition period provided in Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act for complying with new or revised accounting standards. 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 will remain an “emerging growth company” until the earliest of (i) the last day of the first fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenues of $1 billion or more, (ii) 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, (iii) 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), or (iv) the date on which we have, during the preceding three year period, issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt.
Q:What are some of the significant risks of my investment in the Notes?
A: You should carefully read and consider all risk factors beginning on page 14 of this prospectus prior to investing. Below is a summary of some of the significant risks of an investment in the Notes:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Payment on the Notes is subordinate to the payment of our outstanding present and future senior debt, if any. Since there is no limit on the amount of senior debt we may incur, our present and future senior debt may make it difficult to repay 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 a material adverse change in their financial position. If this happened to us, it may make it difficult to repay the Notes.
- If we are unable to raise substantial funds, we will be limited in our ability to diversify the loans we make, and our ability to repay the Notes that have been sold will be dependent on the performance of the specific loans we make.
- 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.
- There is no “early warning” on your Note if we perform poorly. Only interest and principal payment defaults on your Note can trigger a default on your Note prior to a bankruptcy.
- 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.
- 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.
- We are controlled by Daniel M. Wallach, as he is our Chief executive officer and beneficially owns all of our outstanding common equity membership interests.
- If we lose or are unable to hire or retain key personnel, we may be delayed or unable to implement our business plan, which would adversely affect our ability to repay the Notes.
- We have two lines of credit from affiliates which allow us to incur a significant amount of secured debt. These lines are collateralized by a lien against all of our assets. Our purchase and sale agreements functions as secured debt as well. We 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.
- Currently, we are reliant on a single developer and homebuilder, the Hoskins Group, for the majority of our revenues and a portion of our capital.
- In December 2014 and in April 2015, we agreed to purchase and sale agreements with two third parties to sell them portions of some of our loans. This is a new activity for our Company, and will increase our leverage. While the agreement is 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. /li>
- We have a limited operating history and limited experience operating as a company, so we may not be able to successfully operate our business or generate sufficient revenue.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Currently we are substantially reliant on the local homebuilding industry in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania market.
- Our business is not industry-diversified and the homebuilding industry has undergone a significant downturn. 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.
- Additional competition may decrease our profitability, which would adversely affect our ability to repay the Notes.
- 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.
- Because we require a substantial amount of cash to service our debt, we may not be able to pay our obligations under the Notes.
- Additional competition for investment dollars may decrease our liquidity, which would adversely affect 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.
- Our Chief Executive Officer (who is also on our Board of Managers) will face conflicts of interest as a result of the secured affiliated loans made to us, which could result in actions that are not in the best interests of our Note holders.
- Our Chief Executive Officer will face conflicts of interest as a result of his equity ownership in the Company, which could result in actions that are not in the best interests of our Note holders.
Q:How do I purchase a Note?
A: You may purchase a Note from us by visiting our website at www.shepherdsfinance.com and following the instructions under the heading “Investors” and then “Our Investment Process” or by calling (302) 752-2688 (30-ASK-ABOUT) to request a copy of the prospectus along with an investment application. Upon receipt of your application and investment check and the posting of your investment, we will send you a confirmation, which describes, among other things, the term, interest rate and principal amount of your Note.
We reserve the right to reject any investment. Among other reasons, we may reject an investment if the information in your investment application is incorrect or incomplete, or if the interest rate or maturity you have selected has not been offered by us in the past seven (7) calendar days for your desired investment amount at the time we receive your investment documents.
Q:Whom may I contact for more information?
A: You can obtain additional copies of this prospectus and review the established features of the Notes at www.shepherdsfinance.com or by calling (302) 752-2688 (30-ASK-ABOUT). However, the information contained on our website is not part of this prospectus. If you have questions about the suitability of an investment in the Notes for you, you should contact your own investment, tax, and other financial advisors.