At NES Financial, we pride ourselves on our secure administration of funds and documentation throughout the entire EB-5 project life cycle, without gaps, from the marketing and capital raise all the way through return of investment. Within this process, the handling and administration of the EB-5 loan arrangement is certainly one of the most important pieces, as it touches both matters of compliance and the personal finances of many of the involved parties. This week, we had the opportunity to chat with NES Financial customer Tiffany Winkles, CPA, about her experience using the NES Financial Loan Administration Solution.
Tiffany is the CFO and Investor Relations Coordinator at EB5 United, an experienced EB-5 sponsor and recognized NES Financial Platinum Medallion service provider.
Q: Tiffany thanks so much for speaking with us. Could you tell us a bit about what EB5 United does, and what you work on in your role there?
A: EB5 United works with developers to raise capital for EB-5 projects. We work within our own network, as well as others, to recruit investors to these projects, and we work with the developers to satisfy the EB-5 qualifications to help investors obtain their permanent green cards.
I’m the CFO and Investor Relations Coordinator for EB5 United. So I do all of the accounting related to the project: all of the books, and the payments to the networks, gathering all the necessary information. I also work with investors and their immigration attorneys as a sort of liaison to the project. I’m here to help them out and make the process easier for everyone, between the networks and the attorneys and the investors.
Q: In that capacity, how do you touch the EB-5 loan process?
A: I manage all of the funds that come in, as well as their disbursement. First, the investors’ funds come into escrow (we use NES Financial as the escrow provider). Then, when we’re ready to transfer the funds to the developer, I prepare all the requests to pull the funds out of escrow and move them over to the developer for the loan on the project.
This is where the Loan Administration Solution is a big help. NES Financial generates all of the amortization schedules related to the loans to the developers — they prepare monthly statements that show what the developer needs to pay EB5 United related to the loan balance, the interest rate that we collect. They generate all of the calculations and send it to me for proofing, then we send it out to the developer and related entities. NES Financial also tracks the funds as they come back in.
Q: What are some of the particular challenges of handling EB-5 loans, as distinct from other types of loan??
A: In addition to keeping track of everyone’s financial stake in the arrangement, there are all of the compliance considerations: with EB-5 loans, you have to make sure you have the documentation in place so that the investor qualifies under the program’s rules.
For example, when we do the loan tranches, we prefer that they be in $500,000 increments. And it’s important that each investor’s funds remain at risk through the life of the project, which requires careful documentation. If you fail to tick just one box along the way, it jeopardizes the investors’ green card cases.
Q: What has your experience been like using the Loan Administration Solution?
A: It’s a huge time saver for me. Before NES Financial offered Loan Administration, I spent a significant amount of time every month going through all of my amortization schedules — generating them for the various people and groups involved, all of whom are being paid different amounts of interest. That took up a lot of my time.
Now, I trust NES Financial to handle the calculations, and all I have to do is proof them — review things to make sure all the pieces are there. It takes me ten minutes per project, where it used to take hours.
What’s more, NES Financial has been great about working with me to add features I’ve requested. I’ve been working personally with Stephen McClain, NES Financial’s Director of Product Management, to generate additional amortization schedules (such as for a back-end percentage to the networks) that weren’t originally supported by the Loan Admin Solution. His openness to working with us, to tailoring the product to our needs, has been really nice.
Q: Thanks for saying that! We’ll send Stephen a gift basket. What about the other side of the business — how does the Loan Administration Solution make a difference to your investors?
A: It’s a big help in that regard as well. NES Financial is able to generate individual statements for the investors showing the movement of their money, the status of the loan repayment, and calculations for their individual interest amounts. We then post all this information to their accounts on the NES Financial Investor Portal. In between the quarterly newsletters that we publish, it’s great to be able to give investors a monthly snapshot of what’s going on.
About EB5 United
EB5 United is an experienced EB-5 sponsor with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Denver, Portland, India, Brazil, China, and Southeast Asia. Their principals have successfully placed over $370 million and counting in EB-5 capital since 2010, all with a 100% I-526 and I-829 approval track record.
For more information about how our Loan Administration Solution could benefit your project, please contact your NES Financial representative. We look forward to speaking with you!