Eric Johnson is one of the Founders and Chairmen of North Avenue Capital. Prior to the Veritex-NAC acquisition, Eric served as President, where he and his team provided debt-based capital sourcing and knowledge to businesses and individuals seeking to acquire commercial real estate, hard assets, or other businesses. He specializes in business development, financial analysis, debt financing, and investment opportunities in the Southeastern U.S. He received his undergraduate degree from The Citadel and holds an MBA from the University of Georgia.
Prior to launching NAC, Eric was a commercial banking officer for Guardian Bank, a community bank located in Valdosta, Georgia. From 2010 through 2014, he originated more than $60 million in new loans, allowing the bank to grow from $160 million in assets to more than $240 million in assets under management. He co-founded the strategic partnership with the Valdosta State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office, allowing Guardian to support 48 different business owners through sponsored training, while also allowing the bank to provide $25 million in new capital to local businesses in the surrounding area since 2011. The partnership has become a statewide initiative with other SBDC offices across the state, using the partnership as a platform to duplicate throughout the state and the country. In 2013, the partnership allowed the VSU SBDC office to become the No. 1 office in the state with $23 million in new loan volume with $16 million or 69% of the loans originated on behalf of Guardian Bank.
Eric specialized in the sourcing of USDA Business & Industry and Small Business Administration loans across the Southeast. He facilitated the first SBA 7(a) and USDA Rural Development B&I loans to be closed and sold in the secondary market on behalf of Guardian Bank. In 2013, Eric was awarded the Small Business Administration’s Financial Services Champion of the Year. The award is presented annually by the U.S. Small Business Administration to one individual in each state who assists small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services. He also participated as a member of the bank’s Marketing and Information Technology committees.
Prior to working at Guardian, Eric was a Real Estate Portfolio Manager for ING Investment Management in Atlanta, Georgia. He was responsible for the origination and servicing of institutional commercial real estate loans across the U.S. among a department charged with placing more than $1 billion in new loans each year. Eric was one of two individuals selected to help lead the underwriting and due diligence process of a $14 billion portfolio of CMBS loans.
Eric received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from The Citadel and later graduated from the University of Georgia with an MBA in Real Estate and Finance. He is a graduate of the Georgia Banking School at the University of Georgia and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.
Active in the community, Eric is a graduate of Leadership Lowndes and The Georgia Academy for Economic Development. He also serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Education and Human Services at Valdosta State University, a board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta, Chairman of the Greater Valdosta United Way, and is a member of the Valdosta North Rotary Club. He also is a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2016. On January 1, 2015, Eric was appointed as a Lowndes County Schools Board Member representing District 2. He was one of seven board members elected to represent Lowndes County Schools and help develop the vision and goals of the school system, while overseeing a $90 million dollar budget. Eric also was selected to serve on the Georgia House of Representatives Study Committee on the Role of Federal Government in Education. In 2014, he was selected as a 40 under 40 honoree for Young Professional of the Year by the Valdosta/Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce and was later chosen as a 40 under 40 honoree by Georgia Trend magazine.