Firestone Financial, a leading financial services company to the amusement industry, has been directed by its parent company, Berkshire Bank, to suspend all future lending to our industry effective immediately. Firestone celebrated its 55th anniversary this May; Berkshire bought the previously privately held company in 2015.
CEO Nitin Mhatre said “the decision to stop originating Firestone loans was strategic rather than a reflection of the portfolio’s performance,” reported Diane McLaughlin in Banker & Tradesman.
McLaughlin also wrote: “Berkshire had total loans at the end of the second quarter of $7.8 billion, up from $7.2 billion at the end of the first quarter. The Firestone portfolio balance was $165 million, and Mhatre said no Firestone loans were in deferral and non-performing loans represented less than 1 percent of that portfolio. Mhatre said in response to an analyst’s question that he expects the loan portfolio will take 10 to 12 quarters to be depleted.”
A Firestone rep advised that current programs will continue until their stated end dates. Word on the street is that a number of people have been let go effective August 31, but bankers will remain to oversee the conclusion of the existing lending. RePlay will provide more details as we learn them.