In the 1920s, Los Angeles was a prosperous city. The population was growing thanks to the burgeoning Hollywood film industry, but with little else to service local residents, opportunity was ripe. It’s no wonder Charlie and Howard Cook chose this area to make their mark on the world. Astute entrepreneurs, they relocated to capitalize on the booming city’s growth. The brothers opened a Ford dealership and later a manufacturing company that made concrete mixers, which the company eventually financed directly for their customers. When most banks stopped financing construction equipment, the brothers needed to find a solution. Frustrated, but undeterred, Charlie decided to open his own bank, which became Community Bank.
On July 24, 2017, family-owned Community Bank kicked off their partnership with Lendistry, a technology-enabled small business lender and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), with a $3MM commitment to the Lendistry CRA Loan Fund I. The Lendistry CRA Loan Fund will invest in commercial small business (C&I) and commercial real estate (CRE) loans, providing opportunities for small business owners in Southern California. Almost a century after the Cook brothers first arrived in California, their legacy continues to embody The Land of Opportunity ethos.
“We don’t see banks, large or small, as competitors, we view them as partners,” Everett K. Sands, CEO of Lendistry said. “Partnering with Community Bank is an innovative way for both companies to better serve our communities.”
Lendistry provides term and SBA loans to California businesses in a range of industries including restaurants, manufacturing, healthcare, home improvement, and professional services to name a few. Mr. Sands explains many business owners seek capital to expand an existing space, open a new location, purchase equipment, or cover day-to-day operating expenses, and adds that providing funding to California businesses helps retain and create new jobs.
Community Bank’s partnership with Lendistry honors their founders’ ingenuity by entering the relatively new financial technology sector. As a technology-enabled lender, Lendistry can more readily adapt to the way small businesses are acquiring funding. “Small businesses want the approval process to be quick and easy. Lendistry’s proprietary software streamlines the approval process, even for products like SBA,” Mr. Sands explains.
Mr. Sands hopes lenders working together and implementing advances in technology to better serve their clients will revitalize the Land of Opportunity, perhaps even providing capital to the next Cook brothers.