C&I Loans

In addition to Assets America® being a top provider of commercial real estate loans (CRE loans), we also offer Commercial and Industrial Loans (C&I loans) starting at $5 million. C&I loans are made to businesses rather than individuals and provide funds for capital expenditures, working capital and other legitimate business financing requirements. C&I loans are usually backed by non-real-estate collateral and are typically short-term.

The Differences Between CRE Loans and C&I Loans

CRE loans and C&I loans have in common the fact that they are made to businesses. But there are several differences between the two.

Commercial Real Estate Loans (CRE Loans)

CRE loans are for real estate, typically to build/acquire income-generating properties such as hotels, apartment buildings (multifamily), office buildings and retail stores (shopping centers). The volatility of real estate makes CRE loans somewhat more difficult to obtain than C&I loans. Both commercial real estate loans and C&I loans can overlap, as when equity from refinancing an existing asset loan (a C&I loan) funds a rental-property investment (a commercial real estate loan transaction).

Commercial real estate loans have these characteristics:

  • They are used exclusively for the acquisition, refinance and construction of commercial real estate.
  • Commercial Real Estate loans typically have lower LTV values than do home mortgages.
  • Commercial Real Estate loans are often adjustable rate or include balloon payments.
  • CRE Loans can be used to extract equity from an existing property for additional real estate investments.
  • Commercial real estate short-term loans are typically replaced by mini-perm and takeout loans (permanent commercial loans).

C&I Loans (C&I Lending)

C&I loans are used by numerous business sectors, including, but not limited to: retailers, manufacturers, industrial companies, professional firms, health-care providers, and hospitality companies (hotels, motels, etc.). C&I loans have these characteristics:

  • Loans are for capital expenses and operations, such as hiring workers, filling seasonal revenue gaps or purchasing equipment.
  • C&I loans may be used for construction activity (but are not collateralized by real estate), although commercial real estate loans are more appropriate for this purpose.
  • C&I loans are typically not secured by real estate collateral but may be secured by other assets such as equipment, accounts receivable or future credit card receipts.

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  • Unsecured C&I loans may require a blanket lien that exposes the assets of the business owner to legal claims upon default.
  • C&I lenders, lacking the backing of real estate collateral, must closely monitor borrower cash flows and operations, looking at financial ratios like receivables aging and inventory turnover.
  • C&I loans may be lump sums or revolving lines of credit.
  • C&I short-term loans are frequently granted without the expectation of eventual replacement by a takeout loan, such as in commercial real estate loans.

C&I Loans Infographic


C&I Loans:  Bank vs Nonbank Lenders

The Federal Reserve began in 2016 to report that C&I nonbank lenders were taking C&I loan market share away from traditional banks. The basic reason is that C&I nonbanks are often easier to obtain. C&I nonbank lenders include commercial lenders such as large private money funds, pension funds, insurance companies and other institutions.

Nonbank C&I lenders can fund C&I loans that many typical banks are unable to fund due to the federal bank regulations. Nonbank C&I lenders are not burdened with the very often cumbersome rules and regs to which FDIC insured banks are typically subjected. Non-price advantages enjoyed by nonbank lenders include credit-line limits, loan covenants, maximum maturity and collateral requirements.

Another dynamic is risk tolerance. Banks have reserve requirements that limit their ability to assume risk, a factor that is less stringent to nonbank C&I lenders. Asset America® can often provide easier access to funding due to our numerous funding sources, lender relationships, and expert financial package submissions.

Types of C&I Loans

There are at least six types of C&I loans:

  • Secured and Unsecured Term Loans
  • Asset-Based

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  • Leasing & Equipment Finance
  • Small Business Administration
  • Merchant Advances
  • Factoring

These C&I loan types vary in several dimensions, including term, pricing, structure and monitoring. Assets America® is proud to participate in the C&I market.

Secured and Unsecured C&I Term Loans

Short term C&I loans are typically one to two years. The interest rate charged might be tied to an index such as LIBOR (London Interbank Offering Rate) or the prime rate, especially if the lender is a bank. A nonbank C&I lender may use a different fee structure or different index altogether.

Unsecured short-term C&I loans are granted based on the creditworthiness of the business borrower. Cash flows and the business’ cash conversion cycle are assessed to verify that the borrower will be able to make its periodic payments.

Secured C&I loans are collateralized by non-real-estate assets of the business. The lender might require a blanket lien that uses personal collateral belonging to the business owners or directors, should a default occur. For a blanket lien to be effective, C&I lenders must closely monitor the owners/directors and stand ready to quickly seize and liquidate collateral, if the need arises.

Asset-Based C&I Loans

These are short-term loans collateralized by assets such as inventory and accounts receivable. Lenders must monitor the quality of the collateral. For example, as inventory ages it may become obsolete, damaged or stolen. Receivables that slip beyond 90 days past due might have to be written off. Lenders set a fixed percentage of the underlying assets that can be used as collateral to accommodate valuation risk.

C&I Leasing/Equipment Finance

Leasing with a bargain purchase option are an alternative way for a business to buy equipment, vehicles and other assets when the lease term has expired. The lease residual value is often low or zero. In general, interest rates are higher than those for C&I term loans, but monthly payments are lower. The equipment under lease is the collateral and can be repossessed if a default occurs.

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Small Business Administration C&I Loan Guarantees

The SBA offers loan guarantees for businesses that would otherwise have trouble qualifying for a loan. SBA loan programs cover both commercial real estate loans and C&I loans. Although the SBA programs widen access to financing, they can be more complex and time-consuming.

Video:  SBA Loans Explained


C&I Merchant Cash Advances

These are upfront payments predicated upon future credit card receivables which are used to repay the advance. The C&I loan lender deducts the loan payments from the credit card payments and forwards the remainder to the borrower.

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C&I Factoring

Factors provide funding based upon unpaid customer invoices or accounts receivable. The factors might purchase the invoices from the business or might advance a loan to cover a portion of the invoices.


C&I Loan Glossary

AcreA parcel of land measuring 43,560 square feet (can be any shape); for reference, a football field is 1.32 acres of land
Square AcreA parcel of land measuring 208.71 feet on each side (a square)
Adequate Truck TurnaroundA term used to denote the amount of space necessary for semi-trucks to smoothly load and unload in succession
Blanket LoanA kind of loan that covers multiple pieces of real estate mortgaged to a single individual or entity
Butler-Type BuildingA kind of pre-engineered and pre-fabricated building often used on commercial and industrial sites
DSCR (Debt Service Coverage Ratio)Also called the "debt coverage ratio" (DCR), it is the ratio of cash available for debt servicing to interest, principal, and lease payments
Defeasance ProcessA means by which borrowers can get out of a mortgage by substituting a portfolio of U.S. Treasury-backed securities for collateral
Exit StrategyThe method by which a venture capitalist or business owner intends to get out of an debt or loan
Light IndustrialRefers to a type of industrial property wherein the day-to-day processes involve minimal heavy-duty usage; common uses include warehousing and storage, utility plants, and distribution centers
Line of Credit (LOC)Also called revolving credit, an LOC is an amount of money extended from the lender to the borrower
Max LTVDenotes the maximum loan-to-value ratio that a lender is willing to agree to lend
Total General ExpensesThe combination of expenses, including rent, repairs & improvements, property taxes, real estate and other professional fees, payroll, etc.
Total Capital ItemsThe combination of all capital expenses for a single property, whether for construction, demolition, or any other kind of development
Trailing BasisReferring to a recently completed time period. For example, trailing 18-month earnings refers to a company's earnings over the 18 months ending on the last day of the most recent month


Online Resources

Assets America® Offers C&I Loans

We invite you to contact us today to explore a competitively priced C&I loan. Whether you need working capital, new equipment, or some other requirement, we will be happy to work with you. Call us today at (206) 622-3000, or simply fill out the below mini-application! We look forward to hearing from you… let’s get started!