I’ll begin this post with a short story about how Fundamental Financial came to be. Our eureka moment, so to speak. It’s not the more important part of our story -- but it is relevant background because every company has a moment like this.
I was in my office late one night in the summer of 2008, in the early stages of what would ultimately become a global financial crisis. I was combing through spreadsheets filled with data related to a pool of distressed commercial and industrial loans that was being offered for sale by the FDIC. The loans were originally made by a then-defunct bank to several small and midsize operating companies (operating companies, meaning that the borrower had not pledged real estate assets) with generally less than $50 million in revenues. I was trying to decide if I wanted to try buying some or all of these loans as an investment. In addition to figuring out what I thought the loans were worth (which was well below par value in my view) I also had a small epiphany, saying to myself:
“These banks simply cannot make these types of loans to these types of companies at these types of rates.”