Nineteen months after PPP’s fade, a Maine bank enjoys a windfall

Northeast Bank in Portland, Maine, benefitted more than the majority of lending institutions from the Paycheck Protection Program. And over the previous 3 months, the $1.74 billion-asset bank has actually put much of the capital it created in 2020 and 2021 to great usage. 

Northeast purchases and comes from nationwide industrial realty loans, the majority of them bigger than $3 million. Earlier this month, Northeast revealed that it had actually acquired loans — mostly industrial realty credits — amounting to $1.16 billion because Sept. 30. 

The 4th quarter represents Northeast’s most efficient three-month stretch “by a wide margin,” Rick Wayne, the bank’s president and CEO, stated. Northeast’s loan portfolio amounted to $1.45 billion at the end of the 3rd quarter, producing net interest earnings amounting to $23.6 million for those 3 months.

“The current interest rate and liquidity environment has presented this opportunity to us, and the strength of our balance sheet and operations — including our strong capital position — has allowed us to be successful in seizing the opportunities that have arisen recently,” Wayne stated. 

“We’ve significantly increased our loan portfolio and number of customers,” Wayne included. 

Small-Dollar Gains

Northeast likewise seems taking advantage of its small-dollar financing chances. 

In collaboration with Chicago-based Newity, Northeast has actually come from almost 150 Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in the previous couple of months. Luke LaHaie, Newity’s co-CEO, anticipates that the partners might close more than 1,000 7(a) loans in 2023.

Northeast and Newity concentrate on loans of $250,000 or less. A nonbank loan provider developed in 2020 to acquire and service Paycheck Protection Program loans, Newity revealed a pivot to small-dollar SBA financing in January. While putting its 7(a)-providing operation in movement took longer than anticipated, Newity “has made a ton of progress” over the previous 3 months, LaHaie stated.

“It definitely took us longer to get the process going than we thought,” LaHaie stated. “Everything is more complicated when you actually get into the nitty-gritty. … A lot of the [delay] was learning how to best approach the $250,000-and-below segment, both from borrowers and our own internal processes. Now we feel really good about the whole setup.”

With its functional issues mainly settled, LaHaie stated Newity is close to reaching its near-term objective of coming from 50 7(a) loans a month. “One hundred a month is probably achievable later in 2023,” LaHaie included. 

Northeast Bank CEO Rick Wayne

From Wayne’s viewpoint, the more loans Newity can stem and package for his bank, the much better. Newity comes from loans on the front end and services them on the back end. Northeast offers the last credit approval, in addition to financing. 

“Newity is doing high-quality work enabling us to efficiently book 7(a) loans” Wayne stated.   

Northeast makes noninterest earnings by offering the ensured part of the 7(a) loans it books on the secondary market. The recurring non-guaranteed parts create extra interest earnings. 

The method “can be quite profitable with high volumes of loan production,” Wayne stated.  

Northeast, in addition to Newity, is the most recent SBA loan provider to make a substantial play for small-dollar loans. BayFirst Financial, a $930-million property loan provider in Tampa, Florida, revealed BOLT, a nationwide program offering 7(a) loans as much as $150,000, in June. Through Sept. 30, BayFirst reported making 443 BOLT loans for $67 million. 

For the previous 2 years, Huntington Bancshares, which has $179.4 billion of properties and is based in Columbus, Ohio, has used Lift Local, a program that makes 7(a) loans of $1,000 to $150,000 offered to females, veterans and minority debtors. As of Sept. 30, Huntington, the country’s biggest 7(a) loan provider by variety of loans, reported making more than 700 Lift Local loans for about $50 million.  

PPP’s Legacy

Much of Northeast’s fourth-quarter success can be credited to its involvement in the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Northeast came from more than $2 billion of PPP loans by itself. It likewise related to Newity — then working as The Loan Source — to acquire loans from lending institutions who had actually hurried to offer credit lifelines to small companies facing the COVID pandemic. Those lending institutions showed much less passionate about weathering the maintenance obstacles from an exceptionally complex federal government relief program, so they aspired to leave as soon as they stopped coming from loans.  

Under the collaboration, Northeast leveraged its bank charter to access the Federal Reserve’s Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility and help with the purchase $11.24 billion of PPP loans. Newity managed maintenance. The plan created $103.9 million for Northeast from the sale of PPP loans and reporter charges through Sept. 30. Northeast reported $252 countless investors equity, in addition to a 15.6% Tier 1 take advantage of capital ratio on Sept. 30.  

It was that robust capital position that made it possible for Northeast to make the most of the chance to acquire more loans. 

“We had a lot of capital because of the money we made in the PPP,” Wayne stated. “We were able to use that capital to purchase a high volume of loans.”

Wayne’s concentrate on nationwide industrial realty has actually served him well throughout his 35-year banking profession, consisting of the last 12 years at Northeast. Wayne led a group of financiers that acquired a managing stake in the 150-year-old Northeast in December 2010. Before that, Wayne invested 16 years as president and co-CEO of Boston-based Capital Crossing Bank, which he and partner Nicholas Lazares constructed into a $1.2 billion-asset organization prior to offering to Lehman Brothers for $210 million in 2007. 

Capital Crossing’s organization design was constructed around purchasing nationwide industrial realty loans at a reduced rate, which boosts the yield for the buyer. Wayne, who brought a variety of Capital Crossing executives with him, duplicated his old bank’s organization design at Northeast. After a couple of years, Northeast included a brand-new twist when it started straight coming from industrial realty loans. 

Rigorous underwriting, consisting of a persistence on low loan-to-value ratios, have actually kept losses at de minimis levels. The bank has yet to charge off any principal on the loans it came from through its nationwide financing department, while losses on acquired loans have actually been restricted. Northeast’s ranges from July 1 through June 30. It reported modest loan healings for the 12 months ending June 30, in addition to for the 3 months ending September 30. For the 12 months ending June 30, 2021, charge-offs in the loan portfolio amounted to 4 basis points. 

“We were built for this moment,” Wayne stated. “Skill involving buying loans, we have. Experience, we have. Experience servicing the loans we purchase, we have.”

The one fly in the lotion for Northeast is moneying the properties it’s placing on its books. In addition to capital, Northeast is depending on core deposits, brokered deposits, Federal Home Loan Bank advances and deposits sourced through listing services. All of that is ending up being significantly expensive. 

“It’s not like it was before [the Federal Reserve] began raising rates and our incremental deposit cost was 10 basis points,” Wayne stated. 


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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