ATLANTA, Ga. and GREENWICH, Conn. – Industry financing veteran Jon Wright is president and CEO of the newly formed Access Point Financial, a specialty finance company focused on the hospitality industry. Wright spoke with Hotel Management about the new company’s plans to originate more than $1 billion in recourse loans over the next three years, primarily to qualified franchisees of major hotel brands for renovation financing.
Wright and his team are partnering with Trident V, L.P., a private equity fund managed by Stone Point Capital, on the endeavor.
“There’s tremendous pent-up demand [for renovations] right now,” Wright said. “Franchise companies have been as lenient as possible for the last couple years. If they were to terminate a license agreement due to standards, typically they had new or fresh distribution waiting in the pipeline to replace unsavory assets.”
That’s not necessarily the case anymore, he said, thanks to limited new replacement offerings and a backlog of renovation projects that couldn’t get financing.
Enter Access Point Financial, which Wright said is designed from its principals’ years of experience to help qualified franchisees get the necessary funding to meet brand standards and property improvement plan requirements.
Wright is the former president and managing director of Specialty Finance Group. He previously founded the Asset Backed Lending Group for GMAC Commercial Mortgage and managed the hospitality franchise industry’s first captive finance division for InterContinental Hotel Group.
Wright said the company will announce its first major brand partnership shortly, but that the goal is to work with all major brands.
“The brands have recognized our team to be a good distribution channel to help underwrite loans, to help deploy the capital, and to help provide service and capital markets execution,” he said. “We are able to provide financing across all brands as long as strong net worth and market penetration are proven with our borrowers.”
Access Point’s loans are all recourse loans, and Wright said given his team’s experience, they can recognize the ideal candidate: “We like diversified owners,” he said. “It typically means they’re a bit more sophisticated and have deeper pockets.”
“We rely heavily on recourse throughout the years,” he said. “Typically the loans are structured so at some point [the borrower] could take our mortgages into the CMBS market and refinance and get a non-recourse loan.”
In addition to the need for capital to finance renovations, Wright noted there also is sizeable demand for hotel debt refinancing as billions of CMBS and other loans are forecast to come due by the end of 2012.
“We have long-standing relationships with a substantial number of these hotel owners and investors,” he said in a statement. “We know their track records and their ability to execute.”
Contact information for Access Point Financial, Inc. is:
1 Ravina Drive
Atlanta, GA 30346
Telephone: (404) 382-9599
About Stone Point Capital
Stone Point Capital LLC is a global private equity firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut, that has a 25-year record of making successful investments in the financial services industry. Stone Point Capital serves as the manager of the Trident Funds, which have raised more than $9 billion in committed capital to make investments in lending, banking, asset management and other financial services companies. For further information about Stone Point Capital, see www.stonepoint.com.