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“New Player in Small-Business Loans – Pawn Shops”

When most people hear the term “pawn shop”, even if the term is dressed up as “luxury pawn shop” or “high end pawnshop”, visions of seedy pawnbrokers preying on individuals strapped for cash come to the forefront of one’s mind. At SFPLA, San Francisco’s premier luxury asset lender since 1912, we have always taken great pride in conducting our business as the complete antithesis of that initial image and now, more than ever, collateral lenders like us are being taken as seriously as banks when it comes to making small business loans. Bank regulations are tighter than ever and small business loans and loans for start-ups are becoming increasingly hard to come by. At SFPLA we provide discreet short term financing with no credit check, lending an amount based solely on the value of whatever luxury assets you have available to pledge. Whether you need $50,000 or $500,000 to energize your business and take it to the next level, SFPLA specializes in providing quick access to capital via jewelry loans, fine art loans, loans on luxury automobiles and other luxury assets. We’ve been called everything from Silicon Valley’s Pawn Shop, San Francisco’s Luxury Lender, and The Gentleman’s Pawn Shop. Whatever you’d like to call us, we are here to serve our clients with their asset secured loans to help bridge any cashflow shortcomings in a discreet and respectable manner, as we have for over a century.

For a bit more information about how small businesses are borrowing money from lenders like SFPLA, here are some quotes from Mark Calvey’s article that he wrote about us in the San Francisco Business Times:

“Small business owners are turning to pawnshops when they want easier access to financing than they can get at a bank. These new borrowers, who seek larger loans than a traditional pawn shop customer and often borrow against luxury goods, are also changing the nature of the pawn business.”

 “Provident is among the growing number of pawn shops lending to small business owners and entrepreneurs.”

“Assets that Provident has lent against include the familiar sources of fast money — jewelry, diamonds and watches — but also valuables that aren’t traditionally associated with pawn shops. That list includes fine art and antiques, exquisite cars, wine collections and other rare collectibles. Provident declined to identify clients. Customers will sometimes volunteer why they need the loan, but Provident doesn’t inquire about why the money is being borrowed. Borrowers’ thumb prints and signatures are also required.”

“Joey and his son Marcus Chait have lent one small business owner $1 million and last week were assessing a $2 million loan request. The family estimates conservatively they lend about $5 million to $6 million per year. “

“It takes more time to confirm the value of some rare luxury goods offered as collateral than, say, a loan against gold, which can be made in minutes. Provident frequently works with auction houses to determine the provenance and value of expensive artwork. In one case, a Provident client had a piece of artwork placed in a San Francisco museum so that money could be borrowed and repaid against the piece like a credit line, Joey said.”

” …borrowers get fast loan approval — within minutes or a day in many cases — whereas a traditional lender could take weeks or months. Plus, pawnshop loans are made with no credit check and the loans don’t hit credit reports. The latter is advantageous so the borrower can avoid uncomfortable questions from creditors about the loan down the road.”

“‘Entrepreneurs say the first dollars are the hardest to raise,’ Marcus said, while standing in the vault, speculating on who was financing small business payrolls or expansion based on the amount borrowed. Often, Provident lends money to help borrowers close a real estate deal.”

“Marcus says Provident’s decision to go upscale grew out of a national industry survey of 500 people that was conducted last year.”

“‘We asked who would you prefer to borrow money from, a pawn broker, a hard-money lender, or a luxury-asset lender,” Marcus said. “We just made up the term ‘luxury-asset lender,’ but that was the most popular choice. So guess what? We’re now a luxury-asset lender.”‘

(quotes from Marc Calvey article in San Francisco Business Times, 2014)

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