Lakeland, FL (PRWEB) August 28, 2013
Adaptation is oftentimes the saving grace of a company. Bankers South Lending and Financing, LLC is an example of a company that successfully evolved to effectively respond to a changing economic climate.
Originally a real estate firm, Bankers South was spearheaded by Brian Philpot. Philpot explored his interest in financing at Florida State University where he earned a finance degree in 1994. Post-college, he earned his law degree from the University of Florida and set out to join his father’s civil litigation practice. The legal field, however, wasn’t resonating. Inspired to take on something new, Philpot returned to a very early interest – real estate.
Philpot’s exposure to real estate originated as a child. Philpot often joined his father, an investor in agricultural and timber properties, during land seeking pursuits. As an undergrad, Philpot continued fulfilling his childhood interest, earning his real estate license. While in law school, he even bought and sold his first timber property. Thus, Philpot was well equipped with the necessary skill and drive to front a real estate company.
In 2001, Philpot crossed paths with Rob Harper. Like Philpot, Harper began investing in real estate shortly following college.
Equally impressed with one another and equally passionate about real estate, the two combined forces to form a real estate investment firm: the Land South Group. Starting out in 2002, 6,200 acres of timberland were bought in South Carolina. Business continued to boom and the firm eventually accumulated 350,000 acres across the Southeast.
In 2004, however, great shifts in the industry were evident. Pastureland that originally traded at $1,000 to $1,200 an acre, for instance, had skyrocketed to $15,000 an acre and beyond. “We decided that the pricing just didn’t make sense, and we needed to sell out all of those properties that we didn’t want long term and that had any debt associated with them,” says Philpot. It was a good move.
The market crash that struck soon thereafter was more severe than anticipated. The banking system was devastatingly impacted and fundamentally changed. In response, banks placed heavy restrictions on agricultural lending, leaving farmers and small developers in a bind and desperate for agricultural financing solutions.
Fortunately, Philpot and Harper, with experience providing short-term loans to buyers in the real estate realm, had the ability to generate solutions. Initially, Philpot and Harper sought out to head a high-yield lending operation “that could help people out and bridge them” until the economy rebounded. They soon realized, however, that the lending business, Bankers South, was a more permanent, full-blown operation.
Today, farmers comprise approximately 80% of Bankers South’s customers, typically coming to Bankers South when banks refuse to renew farm loans. Agricultural loans from Bankers South have provided many farmers time to steady their incomes enough to qualify for a conventional loan. Ag loans have also served as a bridge for many farmers until they are able to sell their land. What’s more, Bankers South provides five-year loans to investors acquiring bank-owned land that they plan to develop over three to four years.
Philpot and Harper foresee long lasting success for Bankers South due to the significant demand for high-yield loans with a “lower risk.” However, that is not expected to always ring true. For this reason, Bankers South has moved into conventional lending on land deals — a shift that situates them in close competition with banks and farm credit banks. This shift also provides customers with products once the markets inevitably normalize.
Make no doubt about it; Bankers South has evolved into “a permanent business,” says Philpot. “It’s what we spend our full time on now. We’re all in.”
ABOUT BANKERS SOUTH
Bankers South Lending & Finance, LLC (“Bankers South”), a Land South Group Company, is a money lender and mortgage investor based in Central Florida. Bankers South provides a variety of loan products, including conventional agricultural real estate loans through the AgAmerica Lending Program. Click here for more information: http://www.BankersSouth.com