When Professional Athletes Need Quick Loans
Professional athletes are people just like us. They pay taxes (or at least _some _do), eat and sleep. They also need quick LOANS at times.
LEON C. MCKENZIE, founding president of SURE SPORTS LENDING (SSL) has developed a lending platform for athletes. He has a finance degree from the West Chester University of Pennsylvania, found his value proposition in lending, but specifically catering to PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES. This might look a bit strange at first, as we would usually expect professional athletes to be given loans rather quickly (or even not to be needing them at all). However, shortly after moving to South Florida, Leon experienced first-hand the drama of a professional athlete in need of a loan, only to receive cold looks from bankers.
Soon he realized his goal in life was to combine his two biggest passions (to wit: money and sports) to solve a very specific problem, both in the financial system and the sports industry. His experience working with a bank gave him the necessary skills to step into his new adventure.
In his own words, bankers see athletes like “strippers”.He contin”They are great to look at, but no one wants to do business with them.”
He narrates how banks have always had the capability, but not the APPETITE, to loan money to athletes, but thanks to the business model he designed, banks are now eager to do business with his company. The model consisted in underwriting loans to athletes based on their contract, with a completion timeframe of just over 72 hours depending on the request and the urgency of the loan, and the process would then go through private investors. If time was not the player’s main concern, the loan process would take a week to complete through a bank.
His priority wasn’t to make huge gains quickly. He based his value proposal on providing low costs for a loan. The goal was to be the fastest and cheapest loan provider for athletes. Nowadays they provide loans to NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL players, but usually they work with agents, financial advisors or business managers, rather than the players directly.
SSL also currently provides pre-draft loans to NBA and NFL athletes in need of money to cover training and moving expenses prior to signing with a team. After the player signs a professional contract, SSL proceeds to issue a contract loan that takes into consideration the contract’s particular conditions and clauses (since player signings are usually very personalized).
Leon’s motivations include money (as he himself admitted), though there is also a PHILANTHROPIC aspect to his business. He says he helps over four rookies per year over a two-year period, and he finds very rewarding that he is able to help them catapult their careers from scratch, SOMETHING THAT VIRTUALLY NO FINANCIAL INSTITUTION DOES, and he says that the community banks that he works with are “killing the big banks”. Nonetheless, there are always risk management measures, so the loans, while taking into consideration the potential success of the players, are not speculative but rather based on “what’s known” at the moment.
McKenzie also recounts how, while working with international players, they have forged relationships with their agents to grant solvency to the players as they move to the US, a process that most traditional banks neglect to understand.
The company also created a Mortgage called MCKENZIE MORTGAGE, allowing players unique chances to receive favorable mortgages on their home, and making it easy for them to pay as they receive their paychecks when the season starts.
For McKenzie, the sky’s the limit. He has been able to witness the exponential growth of his company, as well as the mortgages. They are also currently establishing strong relationships with various renowned soccer leagues such as the ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE as the business is constantly expanding its reach outside the confines of the United States.
All of this is an illustration of how a good and rather ORIGINAL value proposal can provide excellent return of investments in a relatively short period (for SSL, IT’S BEEN 12 YEARS!). All that is needed is a CLEAR GOAL and a growing LONG-TERM COMMITMENT to your project to make it happen, as LEON MCKENZIE himself can testify!