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JD’s Lending No-No’s: #1a and #1b

Juggles has his investment commandments, I’ve got my Lending No-No’s, and it’s all you need to manage the risk in your debt investments.

Lending No-No #1a: Consider the collateral. Never take stock as collateral for a loan if it’s offered by the CEO of a company who is at the center of a multi-billion dollar securities fraud.

Examples:

The ongoing Refco Securities Fraud Stock Scandal hinged on CEO Phillip Bennett’s (Refco) status as an unreported debtor of $430mm to the company. When this came to light on Monday, Bennett repaid the $430mm with cash money. Where did he get this cash money from? Per this NY Post article:
On Monday, Bennett paid back the $430 million plus interest by pledging 43 million Refco shares in return for a loan from The Bank for Arbeit and Wirtschaft AG in Austria.

The Bank for Arbeit and Wirtschaft committed a classic lending no-no and forgot to consider the collateral. It is likely they hedged their position but it was still a bad loan.

Lending No-No #1b: Consider the collateral. That trademark which is part of your security package? If you ever need it, it will have no liquid value.

Examples:

Frequently, companies with trademarks will include them as collateral in loans. So a company such as The Gap Stores would hire a third party to perform a valuation of their brand and come up with a figure say $XYZmm dollars. We all know that $XYZ dollars is a lot of money, but that brand’s value is really only a barometer for how well the company’s stores are doing. If you ever needed to sell that trademark to make a recovery on your high yield bonds or whatever paper you foolishly hold, you can expect to get $XYZmm – $XY0mm for it. That would leave you with just $Zmm left over (see our earlier research on $Z); you can’t win with math like that, which is why you always have to consider the collateral.
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