LAMNA is one of the new breed of private lenders that are quickly filling the gap vacated by the banks when they recently tightened their lending conditions off the back of the global credit crunch.
LAMNA was founded in April this year birthed by the idea when co-founder and CEO Charles Meyerowitz exited his existing business having first hand experienced the need for temporary cash solutions every so often in a growing, successful but capital hungry business. “I had all these assets which I had accumulated over time but could not temporarily monetize them into cash or convince the banks to recognize them as security for my short term cash needs. Some of these assets were cars or trucks the business had paid off, some of them were personal assets.
I knew I could not be alone in this and so the idea of LAMNA (meaning money in Latin) was born.
“It appears there is a need - most of our clients are entrepreneurs who have great businesses and ideas that need a temporary cash solution to see them through. Their traditional financiers are too slow off the mark or don’t see the value in their assets and that’s where we step in – we are able to attribute value quickly and can advance funds within hours”, says Meyerowitz.
Commenting further, "Most of our clients are just people that have an irregular income. They might have an opportunity and they need liquidity but their money is tied up in assets. Some have experienced a delay in payment from their major customers that has temporarily thrown their cash flow. They are people who see the benefit of leveraging their “lazy” assets by making them work for them rather than selling them or missing out on the opportunity."
Kirsten (not her real name) opened a restaurant using her jewelry as collateral. Now her jewelry is back around her neck and her restaurant is flourishing. “It is amazing how when one buys, the price is double of when one sells. LAMNA negated the need for me to sell my jewelry only to buy it back later at a great loss! The best part – no-one even knew. I made a private appointment, did not have to bare my soul and was treated with absolute privacy and dignity,” says Kirsten.
LAMNA’s clients range from entrepreneurs and small business-owners, to retailers and property developers. Some are just ordinary people like you and me expecting an imminent payment from for example the receiver or bonus payouts, and need a temporary solution without wanting or having to go to the banks and private bankers.
The core of LAMNA’s loans range from R60 000 to R70 000, though the company will consider loans up to any value, depending on the value of the underlying asset. Interest rates are within the National Credit Act.
LAMNA offers a discreet and bespoke service with most of the initial assessment concluded online. “The internet is our shop-font and most of the work is done electronically. That means our clients can transact at times that suit them and in the comfort and privacy of their home or office,” says Meyerowitz. Once approved, the asset is personally valued by an industry specific valuator and then held securely until the loan is fully recovered, where after it is returned to the owner. Meyerowitz comments further, “Our clients are quickly able to assess whether they will be successful and so don’t have to waste valuable weeks for an outcome – putting their business at risk. Nine times out of ten, if we agree in principle, our client is successful in securing the funds. It all depends on the honesty of the description of the asset up front.”
As the trend continues to evolve, many of LAMNA’s customers are starting to approach the company through intermediaries such as financial advisors and private banks. Meyerowitz concludes, “Our clients really appreciate the simplicity of the whole process and we are seeing a growing trend in our customers coming back again and again.”