SCOTTSDALE Ariz. The largest lender in the industry, GE Capital Solutions, Franchise Finance, said Tuesday it has completed a nearly $5.83 million loan to Boston Blackie’s, an eight-unit casual-dining chain based in Chicago.
The deal closed in October, GE said. While a small transaction, it is one of the first publicly announced GE-led deals in months. The financing will be used to fund regional growth and development for Boston Blackie’s.
“This deal demonstrates our commitment to providing the kind of financing that supports the restaurant industry’s continued success,” GE said in a statement.
When asked by Nation’s Restaurant News whether this signifies a loosening of the credit market, GE Capital Solution managing director Greg Vieceli, said: “GE Capital Solutions, Franchise Finance never stopped lending and remains very active. We’ve already funded more than $120 million in the first quarter of 2009.
“We are committed to remaining active through this economic downturn,” he continued. “We continue to review deals across the restaurant industry but are being more selective, looking for financially stable clients.”
GE Capital Solutions, like other lenders, slowed its activity last fall when the credit freeze began amid the economic downturn. It had always said it would continue its lending relationships, but that it had to take a more selective view of the industry. GE Capital’s parent company, General Electric Co., also has said it would cut back on the lending arm’s output as it works to shore up its own balance sheet.