Stafford Development Company

Borrower Story: Stafford Development Company

Business expansion can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. But what happens when disruptions on Wall Street affect opportunity on Main Street?

Stafford Development Company (SDC) faced this scenario while constructing a new Hilton Garden Inn in Tifton, Georgia. Shortly after completing construction, chaos hit Wall Street and SDC’s financial institution was in a bind.

Although SDC enjoyed the backing of a respected Fortune-500 brand and had a strong track record of honoring obligations, the bank demanded a shift in the existing financing structure. This adjustment would have jeopardized the stability of the hotel, and potentially the strength of SDC’s entire business.

Reflecting on the situation, SCD’s CEO, DeNean Stafford, had this to say:

“We were backed into a corner by someone we thought was a partner… The credit crisis was causing our financial institutions to lose sight of the big picture and commitments they had made.

“Our plans and the outlook of the project hadn’t changed. But nonetheless, they reacted to macroeconomic issues unfavorably and we found ourselves in an impossible situation.”

It was during this time that SDC became aware of the USDA B&I Loan Program and decided to transition away from its established Wall Street lender and into a more stable lending relationship.

After walking through the detailed underwriting process and closing the new loan, SDC was able to refocus its attention on managing the growth and profitability of its investment.

"Mr. Johnson (former president of North Avenue Capital) introduced us to the option of partnering with the USDA to refinance our debt, remove the incumbent bank from the equation, and continue managing this great hotel towards what we believed was certain profitability."

DeNean Stafford

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