Funders to Watch: Commercial Capital BIDCO— Why Brokers Should Consider Adding Small Balance Bridge Projects to Their Toolbox

Thank you to DealMaker Magazine for featuring our latest article. Check out the published article on their site here!

Funders to Watch: Commercial Capital BIDCO— Why Brokers Should Consider Adding Small Balance Bridge Projects to Their Toolbox

Being a skilled broker today means having a toolkit that can stand the test of time and allow you to quickly pivot with the lending needs of your clients while maintaining the momentum of a deal in motion. Some of you may just be starting out in the commercial bridge lending industry with a toolkit that is a work in progress, while others may be seasoned bridge lenders looking to reevaluate the services and value you are providing to your clients. In either case, read on to learn how Commercial Capital BIDCO finds success with smaller balance bridge loans and how you can replicate these deals in your market.

Having a wide variety of quality tools in your commercial lending broker toolkit can not only save you time with securing the best loan product for your client, but it will also position you as a creative broker who can handle the majority of funding opportunities that may arise without the need to pull in additional brokers. Let’s pull out and sharpen one of the most handy tools in our kit here at Commercial Capital BIDCO: the small balance bridge loan.

While not the most common tool for all brokers, the small balance bridge loan is still an excellent resource to add to your toolkit, as it will forge a path for your client to get to the next phase, especially if the circumstances require a small “bridge” to be set in place.

At Commercial Capital BIDCO, our team specializes in loans from $250,000 to more than $2 million. We have closed larger bridge loans that are out of our typical scope; however, this range is our sweet spot. This range of funding is where we find ourselves being the most flexible as a direct bridge lender and the most creative for our clients.

With this specific tool added to your portfolio, you must ensure you are also taking the time to sharpen and polish your knowledge of this loan product. It will prove a solid solution for certain scenarios and give you an additional way to add value to your services.

What is Bridge Lending?

Bridge lending, or a bridge loan, is exactly what it sounds like. It is a loan that a client needs to bridge a gap they may have between other loans they are securing or have secured. Providing this type of loan will build trust with a client and give them one more reason to continue working with you in the future.

Now, let’s talk through where and how a small balance bridge loan will come into play with certain deals. When it comes to this specific loan product, there are several reasons for a client to need a bridge loan on a smaller scale. A few of these are:

  • A fast closing of real estate or an investment property that a bank simply cannot close in time.

  • The purchase of an unstabilized piece of investment real estate in a rural area in which the property needs a few months to stabilize.

  • The purchase of real estate property that will be permanently financed in a government-backed loan. These loans simply take longer to close, and a client may need funding prior to that loan product closing.

  • A distressed sale in which the seller wants to close quickly and the buyer is purchasing at a discount.

  • When a client needs a small amount of funds to complete improvements to a land deal prior to the permanent construction loan being in place.

These types of scenarios may not meet the threshold or minimums of most bridge lenders who play in the large balance bridge loan space. That niche of lenders typically focuses on deals on larger properties with loan amounts that are more than $4 million in size. Diving into the smaller balance space will give you value and allow you to approach these deals with confidence. You will also be able to build the correct funding bridge needed by the client.

“At CCB, we pride ourselves in being a different type of bridge lender in that our preferred lending space is the $200,000 to more than $2 million loan size,” Jeff Luker, vice president of Commercial Capital at BIDCO, says. “This funding window not only allows us to provide a solid bridge loan product for our clients, but we are also able to quickly shift our gameplan within a deal and provide a creative solution to our clients when getting them to the finish line.”

Remember, bridge lending is just that: It’s a bridge to get your client to the next phase of their project. Whether that is a construction loan or a permanent financing loan, it is a path to that end result. This industry allows lenders of all sizes to play the game, and our advice to anyone looking for a new tool to add to their toolkit is to assess their services, or current tools, and the needs of their clients. Smaller balance bridge loans can be a truly valuable offering and one that you can find great success with when utilized in the correct scenarios. Educating yourself on how and when to use this tool will keep your portfolio, or toolkit, fresh and evolving.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leah Waldrop is director of marketing for Alternative Capital Solutions and Commercial Capital BIDCO as well as The Commercial Broker Playbook. Waldrop has spent more than 10 years learning leading marketing strategies across numerous industries, including the music and entertainment industry, global supply chain processes and commercial lending. She believes her well-rounded experience enables her to create unique content and stay on the forefront of UX, graphic design and digital content trends.


Commercial Capital BIDCO: A Phalanx Against Uncertain Times

Wow is an understatement for how we are feeling! Thank you to DealMaker Magazine for highlighting our very own COO, Jeff Luker, as part of this year's Hot List. Check out the full interview and article below as well as on DealMaker Magazine's website linked here.

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“A man’s character is known by the kind of company he keeps.” – Proverbs 13:20

Fresh out of college, Jeff Luker, now COO of Commercial Capital BIDCO, worked in car sales for about eight years, running sales teams and finance departments. During that time, he gained insights he’d used later in his career in the world of commercial loan brokerage and lending. Citing the similarities between selling a car and closing a loan agreement, Luker says the biggest difference was learning patience, as loans can take up to 90 days to close, whereas a car sale is same day. Otherwise, the transition to Alternative Capital Solutions, Commercial Capital BIDCO’s affiliate company that was founded prior to the bridge lending firm, was natural and paved the way for Commercial Capital BIDCO to thrive as one of the most important departments in the two firms, second only to the rapidly expanding underwriting department. Luker has great pride in the company’s culture, one he says is unique and essential to its brand. Having been in his role for more than seven years, Luker says his team uses great continuity to perform on all cylinders, giving clients a consistently well-rounded experience.

Specializing in short-term real estate-backed bridge loans, Commercial Capital BIDCO finances deals ranging from $250,000 to $2 million but can go as high as $6 million. With a team 10 members strong, Luker is proud of Commercial Capital BIDCO’s strong cohesion, which aligns with the company’s ethos of doing whatever it takes to get the borrower the best outcome — even if that means sending them to a permanent lender.

As COO, Luker’s role is primarily to work with brokers who send loan requests in for clients, vetting those requests through underwriting and then contacting and closing the deal with approved clients. The rest of the team fills in each other’s shoes. Since they have worked together for years, teammates are able to pick up the slack to get every viable deal out the door. And with an increased focus on credit quality, the company is adding more underwriters to its team and Luker says there is no end in sight for the company’s expansion.

“Even though we’re a short-term bridge lender with an average closing time of about 17 days, and even with as quickly as we work, we still do a full doc underwrite on every deal,” Luker says. “We’ve had a lot of banks in our area tell us that our underwriting is just as good if not better than theirs. Of course, one reason for that is because when a banker underwrites a loan, they’re slanting it to what their chief credit officer wants to see. We can’t do it that way. Since we can help with the permanent loan as well, we position our package so that we can quickly turn it to a permanent package. And if we’re going to do that, then it’s going to have to have a wide audience.”

Having a permanent package option has proved to be essential for Commercial Capital BIDCO because, as the past few years have shown the world, the unexpected can and will happen. When solutions for borrowers dry up due to market fluctuations, Luker and his team aim to be in a position to find a permanent solution to their lending needs. While the company doesn’t have a minimum credit score for its loans, it does stray away from risky or speculative proposals and focuses heavily on the front end so the client knows what they are signing up for.

“Brokers call us frequently asking for our loan parameters, our minimum credit score and our minimum debt service,” Luker says. “We don’t really have any of that because each project is different and unique. We prefer to look at things on a case-by-case basis. We want to see what makes sense. Sometimes you’re getting your cash flows up and your debt service is not good, but if we can build in an interest reserve that makes sense to give you time to build it up, then the project does make sense. We don’t have any sort of hard and fast rules on our loans, and that speaks to our flexibility. We want to do loans that make sense and loans that have a clear-cut takeout.

“I think a lot of brokers and borrowers, when they come to us, a lot of times are gun shy. You never really trust a lender until you have a loan funded with them, and I understand that. But I think that once we get through the process and we’ve funded the loan, a lot of borrowers and brokers see that we’re really fast and we’re really very easy to work with.”

Looking into the current and immediate future for the state of the U.S. economy, property values will decline as rates rise. Commercial Capital BIDCO’s activities are all real estate backed, so being careful with valuations is a top concern for the team. When starting a new loan process, the team may run into a prospective client with an appraisal that is six or eight months old. Based on the company’s loan policy, the team may still accept that appraisal, but will go further to investigate, making sure it is a good fit before asking for an updated appraisal. This has always been a checkpoint in the loan process at Commercial Capital BIDCO and will continue to be as the economy ebbs and flows.

With a possible recession in the coming years, Luker believes it will be pertinent for his team to continue being flexible as well as sharpening their already effective strategies in regards to building the best funding packages for their clients. Rising interest rates will actually be a boom for the short-term bridge loan lender and Commercial Capital BIDCO is ready to take on the challenge of funding deals for an influx of borrowers looking for a lending solution.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Koplin is an editor of DealMaker.


Residential Property in Tennessee Closes in 14 Days

Commercial Capital BIDCO's client was able to close on the refinance of a residential property in Columbia, Tennessee in April of 2022. The client used a portion of the loan to buy out an investor while the other portion will be used to finish construction of the house. The requested loan amount was $250,000.00 and we were able to get this closed in just 14 days.


Client Closes on Office Suite in North Carolina

Commercial Capital BIDCO's client closed on the purchase of a 1,600 sq. ft. office suite in Huntersville, North Carolina on April 11, 2022. The property will be owner-occupied with the borrower moving all operations of their company from a leased space. The requested loan amount for this deal was $256,750.00 with an LTV of 65%.


Refinancing on South Carolina Restaurant Closes

A Summerville, South Carolina client closed on the refinance of their 6,132 sq. ft. restaurant on April 22, 2022. We were excited to help our client on this deal. The refinanced funds will be used to complete the construction of their restaurant and make any other improvements moving forward. The requested loan amount for this deal was $975,000.00 with an LTV of 55.7%.


Refinancing Deal for Tennessee Manufacturing Plant

We were able to help our client close on the refinance of a cloth materials manufacturing property and the accompanying land on June 1, 2022 in Church Hill, Tennessee. The client was excellent to work with and we were able to close quickly on this 283,197 sq ft property along with the 167.55 acres. The LTV with this deal was 63% and requested loan amount was $3,022,500.00.

A portion of the loan was used to pay off existing loans, and the remaining portion was used as working capital.