Banking has been an impediment for the cannabis industry because the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (BSA) and related regulations―which seek to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes―place onerous requirements on banks when a transaction is suspected to involve illegal activity. 12 C.F.R. Section 21.11. Notwithstanding billions of state-legal cannabis dollars exchanging hands, the commercial banking industry, which is largely federally regulated, is virtually nonexistent in the cannabis space. In 2014, the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) provided guidance intended to enhance the banking of cannabis-related monies by establishing a category of suspicious activity reporting for “marijuana related businesses.” But, according to FinCEN, as of June 30, 2019, just 553 commercial banks and 162 credit unions had filed an SAR for a “marijuana-related business.”
In two recent posts I discussed (i) the structure of unitranche facilities and their growing acceptance in the market and (ii) the uncertainty inherent in these facilities because they have not been tested by a troubled economic environment. Below I address certain of the substantive differences between common terms contained in agreements among lenders (or AALs) found in unitranche transactions and more traditional intercreditor agreements between first lien and second lien lenders. Note that because the unitranche market continues to develop, the standardization found in intercreditor agreements does not yet exist for AALs and many terms remain negotiable. Continue reading “Unitranche Facilities – Continued Growth in an Uncertain Market: Part III”
In an earlier post, I generally discussed the structure of unitranche facilities and their growth in popularity among borrowers since the credit crisis. Of course, this explosive growth has occurred in a relatively benign economic environment. As a result, the inherent limitations of the structure have not been tested by a downturn or, in turn, by bankruptcy courts. Lenders exploring the market must do so with some caution and a fulsome understanding of the rights of, and limitations on, “first out” lenders in a distressed scenario.
By their nature, unitranche debt does not easily allow senior lenders to silence junior lenders in times of distress based on collateral valuation alone because all the borrower’s obligations are secured by a single lien. Instead, protections must be carefully drafted into the AAL. These protections will include, for e.g., waivers of the ability of “last out” lenders to vote in favor of a contradictory plan of reorganization, restrictions on their rights to object to asset sales, and limitations on the rights of such lenders to provide post-petition financing. Similar provisions contained in first lien/second lien intercreditor agreements have been deemed enforceable “subordination provisions” in the context of a bankruptcy. The same should generally hold true for AALs. If an intercreditor dispute arises in the context of a borrower’s bankruptcy, lenders should be mindful that a bankruptcy court might decline to accept jurisdiction (particularly if the borrower is not a party to the AAL), leaving an unrelated state or federal court to address the matter. Continue reading “Unitranche Facilities – Continued Growth in an Uncertain Market: Part II”
A variety of factors have fed the rapid growth in the market for unitranche loans during the last few years. These structures — a hybrid of a traditional single lien and a first lien/second lien facility – began in the lower middle-market and are now commonly found in loan transactions exceeding $100 million.
In this first in a series of posts addressing this quickly developing market, I discuss below the basic structure of unitranche facilities. In later posts I will address certain of the intercreditor issues that necessarily arise when negotiating unitranche loans and the complexities that may be presented by the unitranche structure in a market downturn. Continue reading “Unitranche Facilities – Continued Growth in an Uncertain Market: Part I”
Duane Morris LLP, CleanFund and California MBA will present “What’s Shaking? A Conversation About Real Estate Finance, Mortgage Banking and Earthquakes!” on Thursday, September 22, 2016, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Duane Morris San Francisco office. This California MBA MCLE networking reception offers a ground-moving educational event featuring a discussion on financing solutions for mandatory seismic compliance. The panel will also discuss the latest developments in real estate financing in the Bay Area and recent case law and regulatory issues impacting the mortgage banking industry in California. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with banking executives, real estate developers, property owners, lenders and in-house counsel from all over Northern California. One hour of General MCLE credit is pending.
The panelists for this program are Chris Robbins, Managing Director, CleanFund; Bob Bednarz, Loan Advisor, Guarantee Mortgage; and Terrance J. Evans, Partner, Duane Morris. Jolie-Anne S. Ansley, also a Partner at Duane Morris, will serve as program moderator.
If you are interested in attending this program, please visit the event registration page.