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Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Steve Alexander, Associate Editor
Bud Wayne, Marketing
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Christy Rivers -
Eric J. Bergevin
President & Chief Executive Officer
Integrated Financial Holdings, Inc.
Interview Conducted By:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – September 14, 2020
CEOCFO: Mr. Bergevin, West Town Bancorp, Inc. is now Integrated Financial Holdings, Inc. What is included under the rebranded Company?
Mr. Bergevin: Integrated Financial Holdings, or “IFH”, is the parent company of six wholly owned subsidiaries, West Town Bank & Trust, West Town Insurance Agency, Inc., Windsor Advantage, LLC, SBA Loan Documentation Services, LLC, Glenwood Structured Finance, LLC, and Patriarch, LLC. It also maintains an ownership interest in two additional financial services companies, VeriLeaf, Inc. and Dogwood State Bank, as well as a joint venture at the Bank-
This Rebranding Presentation provides a snapshot of the Holding Company’s new name, message, logo and color scheme.
CEOCFO: Why is now the right time for rebranding and presenting the new structure?
Mr. Bergevin: We went through some transformational changes in 2019. We were more “bank-
CEOCFO: Are there any other specific initiatives or events that have helped shape the Organization that has become IFH?
Mr. Bergevin: Part one of that answer is tied to the niche financial service offerings we have selectively identified at the Bank-
The second part to that answer involves our people. In recent years, we have brought on board several key leaders with extensive experience in all aspects of financial services and entrepreneurial endeavors. The Holding Company has really evolved from static to dynamic and purely bank-
CEOCFO: Would you tell us a little about what goes into government guaranteed lending and some of the solutions you needed to develop or get under your umbrella to handle the intricacies?
Mr. Bergevin: About a quarter of the banks in the Nation actually participate in government guaranteed lending and there is a reason for that. For starters, you need a certain level of expertise concerning the regulatory requirements to even originate or process an SBA or USDA loan. Not just how to underwrite an SBA or USDA loan, but also how to package, close, perfect the government’s loan guarantee, properly service the loan and potentially sell the loan on the secondary market.
In addition to having the right intellectual capital in place, you also need to either materially invest in the program through fixed overhead costs associated with building a back-
We were dedicated to the mission and the necessary volume levels to attain profitability while outsourcing certain overhead functions along the way until our volume levels justified an in-
CEOCFO: Why were you confident you could do it?
Mr. Bergevin: We have always been an entrepreneurial organization focused on building talent around our strategic initiatives. In 2011, we hired a community bank lender who also had some expertise in SBA and USDA lending. It was very enlightening to watch him process the first few loans and the resulting gain on sale once we sold the guaranteed portion of those loans to the secondary market. At that point, we went all in and committed our resources to the development of the Department. As we saw his pipeline grow, we partnered with Windsor Advantage, a relatively new company at the time which has since become the Nation’s largest servicer of government guaranteed loans, and that partnership gave us the ability to really scale up our programs together. The relationship allowed us to expand business development channels and other sales support resources without having to further build out our back-
CEOCFO: How has COVID helped or hindered the development of certain companies under IFH?
Mr. Bergevin: The first consideration has been credit exposure at the Bank, so we continue to proactively engage each small business customer to understand the impact from the pandemic and facilitate a recovery plan for each individual customer. It has been a heartbreaking time as some of our customers are shut down and not sure when they will reopen, if ever. Others are trying to reopen, and some have had success doing so, but regardless of their current status, we are in contact daily with every single one of those customers to coach them back to recovery. Many have requested and received a payment deferral for 90 days or so and others have requested and received an interest only period. Our main objective is just to continue to work with each and every small business in a sensible and empathetic way until we find the right solution for each one of them.
We also offered Paycheck Protection Program loans through the SBA, or “Triple P” loans as we call them. The Bank itself funded over $20 million Triple P loans to our current customers to provide the working capital needed to honor payroll and keep their doors open. Through our subsidiaries, Windsor Advantage and SBA Loan Docs, we also supported the Triple P efforts nationally. Windsor worked with 40 different banks across the Nation to process and fund roughly 16,000 Triple P applications for about $2.5 billion in loans. It was amazing because that accounted for more than 350,000 American jobs saved through the influx of working capital. SBA Loan Docs also helped advise, review and produce closing documents for about 600 loans funded by its numerous partner banks.
CEOCFO: Did you need to ramp-
Mr. Bergevin: There was certainly a bit of a ramp-
CEOCFO: How are you addressing the needs of the hemp industry, particularly with so many regulatory issues in flux?
Mr. Bergevin: In early 2019, we identified the hemp industry as a potential new business line from a deposit perspective. We spent the next year really figuring out all of the intricacies associated with it. The opportunity was really recognized with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill which identified hemp with a THC-
Through our research, we found a start-
CEOCFO: What has been the key to developing synergies across and the various companies and offering diverse services to your customers?
Mr. Bergevin: The Holding Company is, in essence, wrapped around a Bank charter which is extremely proficient at government guaranteed lending and gathering niche deposits. With this as the core, we developed a “hub-
That started with our partnership with Windsor Advantage which was also at its early stages of development. As we grew together, it became obvious that it made sense to acquire Windsor and continue our development and growth in the government guaranteed lending space, offering auxiliary products through Windsor and the Bank. In developing additional spokes along the way, we started new companies and partnered with organizations to have the capability to offer more options and solutions through an already captive audience, finding ways to offer insurance, closing documentation support and brokered services for loans that do not fit within the Bank’s traditional credit box.
On an annual basis, West Town Bank & Trust provides hundreds of government guaranteed loans nationally and Windsor processes close to $500 million in government guaranteed loans with a servicing portfolio of almost $2 billion. We are in a unique position which allows us to supplement and fulfill the needs of our financial institution and small business customers and everything we do revolves around trying to satisfy those needs.
CEOCFO: How do you, as CEO, stay on-
Mr. Bergevin: You build a great team. You simply build a great team and instill an entrepreneurial system and attitude where department heads and company directors take extreme ownership. You do not have to micromanage entrepreneurial leaders. You give them the tools, resources and support to accomplish their goals and they absolutely perform. It has taken us a while to build the culture that we have, and we work at finding new ways to improve our culture and organizational efficiencies all the time. I am very proud to share that we have a tremendous team, which ultimately propels the Organization forward at a heightened level.
Integrated Financial Holdings, Inc., Eric J. Bergevin, West Town Bank & Trust, Raleigh, North Carolina Banks, OTCPK: IFHI, Integrated Financial Holdings, Inc.: A Bank Holding Company Reimagined, CEO Interviews 2020, Financial Companies, Banks, Public Companies, Government guaranteed lending, government guaranteed lenders, government lending, national banks, national banking services, small loans, commercial account services, mortgage lending, Windsor Advantage, West Town Insurance Agency, Inc., SBA Loan Documentation Services, LLC, Glenwood Structured Finance, LLC, Patriarch, LLC, VeriLeaf, Inc. hemp banking, hemp banking services, Integrated Financial Holdings, Inc. Press Releases, News, Linkedin, Investor Relations
“We are in a unique position which allows us to supplement and fulfill the needs of our financial institution and small business customers and everything we do revolves around trying to satisfy those needs.”