“We became a Certified Development Company in 2016, which enabled us to administer the SBA’s 504 Program”, says Vandell Hampton, Jr., President & CEO of True Access Capital. “We got in the program because we felt it was underutilized in the State of Delaware, particularly with smaller projects.”
Historically, the SBA 504 Program has been driven by the banks. A small business goes to a bank for financing and the bank decides whether or not to utilize the 504 Program. More often than not, the bank will steer the small business to the SBA’s 7(a) program or to conventional financing because it is more profitable for the bank.
That space between what is best for the borrower and what is most profitable for the bank is where True Access Capital steps in to help. “The 504 Program is a great program”, says Hampton. “The fact that a small business owner can purchase a property to operate his or her business, with as little as ten percent down is amazing. We have identified several local banks that are willing to look at the smaller deals that we typically come across and this has been a win-win for everyone — the bank gets a new customer and our client creates a new banking relationship that it can grow with it”.
Among True Access Capital’s first 504 loans was for long-time, Wilmington attorney and community leader, Leroy Tice. A Delaware native, Leroy is a prominent presence in Wilmington and throughout the State through his legal practice and philanthropic engagement with the community. He has sat on Delaware State University’s board of trustees for a decade and serves on the Board of Directors for the HOPE Commission. After early career experience as an attorney representing insurance companies, Leroy moved to represent the other side. “I felt like the law was a place where I could help folks who were burdened,” he said of the move to represent plaintiffs.
That desire to help those who are struggling has informed Leroy’s work even outside of the law. “I look at myself as a resource for the underserved, even beyond personal injury,” he said. “I try to be a resource whereby I can either assist or direct folks, particularly folks in underserved communities, with some form of legal assistance.”
Part of Leroy’s social focus is the revitalization of the City of Wilmington. He lives and works in downtown Wilmington, where he had long rented office space for his legal practice. In 2018, he purchased a building through a 504 loan facilitated by True Access Capital. His practice, the Law Offices of Leroy Tice, Esq., operates on the second floor; Leroy leases the downstairs space to another local business.
As Leroy and his associates have settled into their new office space, he is already looking at what’s next for the firm. “We’re always looking at smart growth — continuing to do good, while doing well,” he says. “I’m a native Delawarean, and I want to continue making a contribution to the state and to the revitalization of the City of Wilmington.”
A Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan provides long-term, fixed-rate financing for small businesses to acquire fixed assets, like owner-occupied commercial real estate and machinery and equipment. The business owner contributes a 10% down payment, SBA funds 40% of the project, through a Certified Development Company like True Access Capital, and a commercial lender funds the remaining 50% balance.