A Live Oak Bank Customer Success Story – Central Washington Pediatric Dentistry

Amy and Neal Smith of Central Washington Pediatric Dentistry

Sometimes, life throws you curve balls. While you may have learned that it helps to adjust your swing accordingly, it’s easier to hit a home run when teammates have your back. Take Neal and Amy Smith, high school sweethearts, who grew up in the same hometown and completed college and dental school together. When they decided to open their own dental practice, an errant ball or two came out of left field – but thanks to their partnership with a unique lender, they still managed to win the game.

A Dream Begins

With dental school behind them and bright futures before them, the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health alums decided to pursue additional dental training. The couple completed residencies in their home state of Washington, before finishing a loan repayment program at a local Community Health Center. With their educational debts lowered, Drs. Amy and Neal were ready for the next step.

Desiring to open their own practice, the couple banked on conventional wisdom for a strategy – rent a building in their home town of Yakima, WA. After all, they had family there and they knew the area well. With sights set on a particular rental space, it seemed that their plan was well on its way. But the couple soon learned that leasing wasn’t going to be their best bet.

Faced with lease terms that didn’t allow tenants to make structural changes – which included plumbing modifications necessary for a dental office – Neal and Amy realized that their search for a suitable space would be a difficult one. That’s when a light bulb went off – instead of renting, the couple decided to build a practice from the ground up. Not only could they design the building to fit their unique, professional needs but the building itself could double as an investment.

Now came a new challenge – secure the financing needed to turn their dream into a reality. Amy and Neal asked colleagues for lender recommendations, which led them to Live Oak Bank. With full financing options, longer loan terms than conventional lenders, and appraisal flexibility, Live Oak fit the couple’s lending needs.

“When you start with no patients, you have no cash flow….having some flexible terms allowed us to get things going – as far as getting patients, generating some income – so we could sort of delay some of the big mortgage payments was certainly helpful,” Neal explained. He added that visits from lending team members from Live Oak’s NC headquarters were also beneficial.

“[They were] in constant contact to help walk us through the [loan] process,” Neal said. Real-time updates on where they were in the loan process also helped set a smooth course. “I felt like I didn’t have to worry about the finance part of it with the bank,” Neal said. “So that was huge for us because we had a lot of other things happening.”

Armed with customized options, obtained through a transparent loan process, the couple knew they could finally move forward. Amy and Neal experienced Live Oak’s level of customer commitment, which was second to none. 

In your corner

With construction underway – and a first baby on the way – Amy and Neal were thrilled. In the meantime, the couple saw patients in a sub-leased orthodontic office and at a second location in nearby Ellensburg, WA.

Then came a bump in the road. Pregnancy complications arose and Amy was confined to bed-rest. As Neal held down the Yakima and Ellensburg practices, they wondered how they’d juggle everything – and still keep their new building’s construction on-track. That’s where the benefits of Live Oak’s in-house construction team came in. Coordinating the construction plan with the contractor, architect and The Smiths, the construction team kept the project from missing a beat.

“They were super easy to work with, great communication, they got back to me quickly, so that made my life easier,” Amy said, reflecting on the difficult time. “And they would educate me on what things were. I felt very comfortable that they were really on our side and supported us through this process.”

Amy later gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Meanwhile, their new practice was born.

Room to grow

Today, Central Washington Pediatric Dentistry’s Yakima location has been open for a little more than two years. With five dental chairs in the office including a Mommy-and-Me infant exam room, Amy and Neal said that their building has plenty of extra space for room to grow. Two more chairs are on the horizon.

What’s more, their building has the potential to generate other income. Since it was designed with ample spare space, there’s enough room to rent an area of the building to a tenant.

While lessees and the like may be tentative for this husband and wife dental team, one thing is certain – Live Oak will continue to be there for them, for the life of their loan. With 24/7 customer support post-closing, cash-flow driven lending, and an industry-experienced lending team behind them, Neal and Amy have more time to focus on their practice and their family – and that’s something to smile about.

To learn more about their dental practice or to reach out to Neal and Amy Smith, visit the website www.cwpediatricdentistry.com.

HenHouse Brewing to expand, move into Santa Rosa

Petaluma’s HenHouse Brewing Co. announced on Monday that is moving to south Santa Rosa and opening a facility that can handle up to 75,000 barrels annually, signaling continuing growth in Sonoma County’s craft beer industry.

The brewery, which has attracted a strong local following along the North Coast with its saison farmhouse ale, had been brewing about 2,000 barrels out of the facility at Petaluma Hills Brewing Co. for the past two years.

HenHouse will leave Petaluma and take over a portion of a food plant facility off Bellevue Avenue that had been originally intended for Amy’s Kitchen, with a goal to open a tasting room and initially produce 5,000 barrels next spring. The expansion should create 20 jobs within the next 18 months, the company said.

“This is so far beyond our wildest dreams,” said co-owner Colin McDonnell, who handles sales and logistics for HenHouse.

The company was started four years ago by Petaluma friends McDonnell, Shane Goepel and Scott Goynes to make beer with a special focus on quality, to the point that it still self-distributes its beer to ensure freshness when delivered — sometimes on the same day it is put into kegs.

The move will be funded by a more than $1 million Small Business Administration loan with Live Oak Bank in Wilmington, N.C., allowing the partners to retain equity in the business rather than solicit new investors, the company said.

HenHouse said it intends to keep much of its project spending local, ordering a new 30-barrel brewhouse from the Criveller Group in Healdsburg instead of sourcing cheaper tanks from China. It also uses ingredients from local vendors, such as biodynamic grain from a Healdsburg producer that goes into its saison, even though it costs three times that of traditional grain, Goynes said.

Some local brewers have expanded nationally, such as Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma and Bear Republic in Healdsburg, riding a growth wave that has brought craft beer volume to 11 percent of the beer marketplace.

HenHouse, which sells its beers in six Northern California counties, has no national expansion plans, preferring to focus on local distribution and developing along the West Coast, Goynes said.

“We want to be a quality beer producer that is regional,” he said. “We have no national aspirations.”

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.


Lending With Wineries in Mind

Wines & Vines, September 2015:

From start-up to acquisition, merger and succession planning, a winery’s bank should be an informed partner. Bankers with knowledge of issues specific to a winery’s needs—in addition to experience with wider financial issues, markets and patterns—are the ideal choice.

Jeff Clark, Domain Expert for the Wine and Craft Beverage segment at Live Oak Bank commented, “Live Oak’s loan structure, cash flow credit orientation, speed and service differentiate us from other lenders in the industry.” Jeff has been in the industry for more than 20 years and has seen the growth in the demand for lending.


Randall Behrens, Senior Loan Officer at Live Oak Bank, works with a lot of craft beverage producers and answers several common questions about business loans.

“There is money available for wineries and vineyards. And with interest rates still near all-time lows, access to capital is relatively inexpensive. Moving forward with an expansion would be ideal in a market like this,” he says.

“You don’t necessarily need a down payment or collateral to expand, start construction or renovate. If you have cash flow, good credit and a strong business plan—good components of valuation—you can get a loan for your business,” he explains. “Live Oak fills the gap in financing availability for those producers that have established cash flow but lack appropriate collateral to secure loans with conventional lenders.”

Live Oak advises small wineries to consider a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. The SBA acts like an insurance company, allowing the bank to extend its conventional credit reach. SBA loans tend to be borrower-friendly, flexible to equity and collateral require- ments, have longer terms and no balloons or covenants.

Live Oak Bank has made small business loans a focus of its work since 2008. Today it is one of the top originators of small business loans, with one of the strongest loan portfolios in the country.

Acquisitions and mergers

Tracy Sheppard, another Senior Loan Officer at Live Oak Bank, sees a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the current climate.

“There are things that make a great deal: a ‘meeting of the minds’ between buyer and seller, complementary strengths among the staffs, compatible cultures and a growing revenue stream, just to name a few,” he reports.

Sheppard says the top strengths in any acquisition deal are:

  • Positive sales and earnings trends in the business
  • A business plan from the buyer
  • Continuity (commitments from company managers, key personnel, suppliers and customers)
  • Sellers training buyers (good management transition)
  • Seller financing—the seller is financing 10%-15% or more of the deal, showing confidence in the business under the buyer’s leadership.

Conversely, Sheppard and the Live Oak team have produced a list they call “Five Things That Kill a Deal,” which shows where the weaknesses might be in a business transfer that would cause the bank, buyer or seller to walk away.

“The deals we handle most often in the wine industry have common success and failure points,” he says. “And our experiences made us think lists like the “Five Things” would be useful to share with customers, along with more detailed and personal business advice.”

Communication between a bank and the industry it serves can strengthen successes for both, and Live Oak Bank staff can be found at many wine industry events these days, whether it’s as expert speakers on educational panels and advisory boards, or being on hand for any questions a winery owner or business manager may have.

Live Oak also offers industry finance news, expert interviews, blog posts about wine and craft beverage lending, tips and more at liveoakbank.com/ category/wine-and-craft-beverage-news/.

Visit liveoakbank.com or call Live Oak Bank today at (877) 890-5867.

SBA Offers Discount with Veteran Advantage Program

The SBA offers up to 50% off loan guarantee fees with their Veteran Advantage Program through September 30, 2016. As a top SBA lender, Live Oak Bank is proud to extend this offer to veterans seeking financing in the Self-Storage industry. Those who qualify for the program include veterans, service-disabled veterans, active duty military service members participating in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), reservists and National Guard members, as well as current or widowed spouses of those above.

This upfront fee may be included in the total note amount and financed over the life of the loan. There is no other type of origination fee with this loan.

The documentation required to receive financing can be found here.

The SBA offers loan terms that are flexible and have no covenants or balloons, which allows the borrower to save money and to invest in his or her business.

What You Need To Know About the SBA’s Veteran Advantage Program

The SBA is offering up to 50% off loan guarantee fees with their Veteran Advantage Program through September 30, 2016. As a top SBA lender, Live Oak Bank is proud to extend this offer to veterans seeking financing in the Agriculture industry. Those who qualify for the program include veterans, service-disabled veterans, active duty military service members participating in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), reservists and National Guard members, as well as current or widowed spouses of those above.

SBA loan guarantee fees are calculated as a percentage of the guaranteed portion of the loan. The SBA currently offers 75% guarantees for eligible loans to small businesses; therefore, the guaranteed portion of a $1,000,000 loan would be $750,000.

In the same example, a $1,000,000 loan would typically be charged a 3.50% fee for processing; however, the SBA Veterans Advantage program offers a 50% fee reduction for qualified small businesses. This results in a 1.75% fee for processing.

This upfront fee may be included in the total note amount and financed over the life of the loan.

The documentation required to receive financing can be found here.

The SBA offers loan terms that are flexible and have no covenants or balloons, which allows the borrower to save money and to invest in his or her business.

If you are interested in receiving financing for new house construction, expansion of existing facilities, refinancing of current debt, and land purchases and meet the qualifications above, contact a member of our Agriculture team.

Practice Ownership Can be a Smart Move Despite Student Loan Debt

By: Suzanne Smither

Veterinary Team Brief asked Brian Faulk and Dr. Jessica Trichel of Live Oak Bank about achieving practice ownership despite student loan debt.

Practice ownership may seem like a long-term goal that new veterinarians can pursue only after paying off student loan debt. But several leading practice lenders told Veterinary Team Brief that they take the total financial picture into account and often approve applications despite significant loan debt. They also help newer veterinarians with decision-making and planning before the application process begins and offer ongoing education and support for successful practice management after financing is arranged.

Brian Faulk – Choosing the Right Practice

Choosing the Right Practice Live Oak Bank provides financing for practice acquisitions but not for start-ups. Brian Faulk, senior loan officer, encourages veterinarians to consider buying into a practice early in their career. “Owning a practice is how they will leverage that DVM degree. … It’s about building equity,” he said. “Student loan debt is not that big a problem if you’re matched with the right practice,” one that fits “the veterinarian’s skill set, personal finances, and lifestyle.” Although “$230,000 in student loan debt would not disqualify” a veterinary borrower, personal bankruptcy would, Faulk said. “Many young veterinarians file for bankruptcy when they’re only $75,000 to $100,000 in debt,” he said, cautioning that this is a big mistake. an option in this case, “It is our opinion that the veterinarian should try to purchase a first practice in his or her name only.” First-time owners incur a lot of stress with their first venture, and partnerships can only add to that stress with divergent management options, he said. “A boat only needs one captain.”

Bridging the Gap Between Veterinary Medicine and Business

Obtaining a start-up or acquisition loan is only the first step toward success as a veterinary practice owner. In the following 3 programs, banks work with veterinarians to foster long-term success.

Jessica Trichel, DVM – Live Oak U

Running a practice requires business savvy and clinical skills, but “veterinary students typically have minimal exposure to business education,” said Jessica Trichel, DVM, educational outreach veterinarian at Live Oak Bank. “Our goal is to help teach the business part to interested students.”

Trichel shares her expertise via Live Oak U, which hosts a free 2-week program for students each summer at the bank’s headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina. Working closely with the Veterinary Business ManagementAssociation (VBMA), she also guest lectures at veterinary schools.

To run a successful practice, Trichel said, a veterinarian needs to understand how a website, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), a practice brand, and a personal brand impact his or her business. Practice owners also need to think in terms of “consistently delivering value the client can trust,” training team members to make a positive impression on clients, and developing a business and community marketing strategy, she said, because it can have a significant impact on the top and bottom lines of the practice.

Trichel said Live Oak U’s summer program helps veterinary students at any stage of their education understand the planning and effort practice ownership requires, and to answer the question, “Am I cut out for this?” Instruction includes a morning with Live Oak’s business consultant Carol Hart, DVM, who has practice management experience and a law degree.

Live Oak U admits about 20 students each summer, Trichel said. The next 2 application deadlines are October 1, 2015, and February 1, 2016.

Download the full article here

Posted with permission from Veterinary Team Brief 

Jim Breaux Joins Live Oak Bank’s Funeral Home Lending Division

Live Oak Bank is pleased to welcome Jim Breaux as a Senior Loan Officer on the Funeral Home Lending Team. Breaux joins Live Oak with over 18 years of experience in the financial services industry. Most recently, Breaux served as Senior Vice President for Regions Wealth Management and Director of Administrative Services within the Funeral and Cemetery Trust Services Division.


“We are excited to have Jim join the team,” commented Neil Underwood, President of Live Oak Bank. “His experience in the Funeral industry will be instrumental in continuing to grow relationships and helping Live Oak offer custom lending solutions to funeral home owners nationwide.”


“I am excited to utilize my extensive financial experience and industry knowledge to help funeral home owners achieve success through Live Oak’s lending solutions,” Breaux stated. “To be a part of a team that truly understands what the industry’s needs are is a rare opportunity.”


Live Oak was founded to provide small business loans to professionals across the country looking to start or expand their businesses. Aside from acquisitions and refinancing, Live Oak’s lenders specialize in real estate loans and ground-up construction projects. The bank initially began lending to veterinarians, and has since expanded into other specialty areas as well. Having a keen industry focus and trade specialists on board, enables the Bank to offer an exceptional level of service to the client.  To learn more about Live Oak, please visit liveoakbank.com.

Learn the Benefits of Seller Carry

The Benefits of Seller Carry

When deciding to sell your pharmacy, there are various ways to maximize the return on the sale, make it marketable to potential buyers, and expedite the time it takes to transition ownership. As the seller you may also be asking yourself where a potential buyer will attain the necessary capital to acquire your pharmacy. With Live Oak Bank being able to finance 75% or more and the buyer having some cash to put towards the sale; this leaves the seller an opportunity to carry a small portion (5% – 20%) of the overall sale price.

Among the many independent buyers seeking to acquire pharmacies, some may have less capital than is required. For example, an associate pharmacist has the knowledge and relationships to continue operating the pharmacy to meet the expectations of the community and customers. He or she could be the ideal candidate for purchasing the pharmacy you’ve worked hard to establish. While having some cash on hand, they may need additional funds to complete the purchase. Carrying a seller note may afford your buyer the ability to structure the pharmacy acquisition in such a way both parties achieve their objectives of a successful transition.

Take this example:

* Depending on the price of goodwill, a buyer may be asked to bring in 25% of the total sale price, while the bank may finance the remaining 75%.

* The buyer will be asked to provide a minimum equity injection of $10,000 to $50,000, sometimes more depending on deal structure and cash flow. This would potentially leave a gap in the necessary equity requirement. In this case, the seller could hold the note for the variance in equity to meet the 25% requirement.

* Typically, the buyer and seller will agree to terms for the length of the seller note, and negotiate an agreed upon interest rate. This structure allows the seller to obtain the asking price while earning additional benefits from the interest of the seller note.

Transitioning ownership can be a win-win for both buyers and sellers. Plan ahead, consult with your attorney and tax advisors and then enjoy the success of the transaction.

Live Oak Bank Exclusively Endorsed by MFDA

Live Oak Bank and Michigan Funeral Directors Association Announce Endorsement

Live Oak Bank is proud to announce an exclusive endorsement as the preferred funeral home lender by the Michigan Funeral Directors Association (MFDA).

Live Oak Bank’s unique approach to lending that includes a dedicated funeral-only lending team provides a service valuable to funeral directors in Michigan. The loan products can accommodate financial needs that are often not easily met by “local” banks. As a true cash flow lender, the Bank is able to loan on existing business “goodwill,” as opposed to asset based lending (i.e., against the value of real estate).

By combining financing expertise with industry knowledge, Live Oak Bank understands the funeral business and customizes funeral home loans to meet the borrower’s needs. The Bank can provide financing with no balloons and no covenants for refinancing, succession planning, acquisitions, expansions, and new construction.

Live Oak was founded to provide small business loans to professionals across the country looking to start or expand their businesses. Aside from acquisitions and refinancing, Live Oak’s lenders specialize in real estate loans and ground-up construction projects. The bank initially began lending to veterinarians, and has since expanded not only into other healthcare-related industries, but into specialty areas as well. Having a keen industry focus and trade specialists on board enables the Bank to offer an exceptional level of service to the client. To learn more about Live Oak, please visit liveoakbank.com.


Tim Bridgers, Loan Officer 910-685-7446

Media Contact

Laura Tippett 910-798-1217

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Understanding What Happens in Loan Closing

Loan Closing

Once a commitment is made by the institution providing financing, the loan closing specialist, or closer, will prepare a closing checklist of all required documentation needed on your loan prior to closing. He or she will contact you to schedule a kick-off call to explain the checklist in detail. All parties involved in the loan, including the borrower, the borrower’s legal consultants and the lender, will be included on the call. Your closer will then review and approve all documents received off the checklist and move the loan into the last phase of closing. At this point, final loan documentation, including the Note, Deed of Trust, Security Agreement, is prepared and reviewed by your closing team prior to you signing to ensure all necessary information is included.


Throughout the financing process for your funeral home, you will work with a group of specialists who bring your loan to fruition. Understanding the phases of the loan and the roles of the lending team members will help you gather the appropriate information and navigate more easily through the loan process.


Questions about financing? Read more or contact our team here.