WILMINGTON, NC -- Live Oak Bank, a small business lender, is now providing financing products for family entertainment centers and the FEC industry in general. Live Oak said it "has chosen to fill the gap" in the FEC industry, so it has assembled a team of lending and domain experts to serve the channel. According to the bank, loans will be structured to meet the "unique factors" facing borrowers who operate arcades, bowling alleys, miniature golf, roller-skating rinks, go-karts and waterparks, among other attractions.
"Entering this new industry is an exciting endeavor for us," said Live Oak president Neil Underwood. "After extensive research, we understand the critical market factors, have developed sound underwriting models, and we feel well suited to serve this vertical effectively."
New to Live Oak Bank is Ben Jones, who will serve as an FEC domain expert. "In the past, no national lender has tried to understand the FEC business, and because of that, there is tremendous opportunity for a niche lender like Live Oak to embrace the FEC community and make a difference," he observed.
Prior to joining Live Oak Bank, Jones worked with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions to expand IAAPA's educational programming and business counseling services for FEC members. Additionally, he was president of RECreation & Entertainment Consultants Inc., known as REC, which provides development, management and training services to the entertainment trades. He was also a principal of Provest Inc., another development firm in the entertainment and hospitality sector. Jones has cofounded five companies and has been involved with 20 startups.
Headquartered in Wilmington, NC, Live Oak Bank was founded in 2008 to address the capital needs of niche businesspeople. They include veterinarians, dentists, pharmacists, medical professionals, funeral home owners, independent financial advisors and now FEC operators. Live Oak's founder and chief executive Chip Mahan was the subject of a cover story in American Banker Magazine (June 2013).