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In The News


Dallas Bank Buying El Paso area firm in $100M deal

Tony Furman and Cliff Eisenberg are ready to celebrate.

They are about to sell their 25-year-old El Paso-area, invoice purchasing company, Interstate Capital Corp., for an estimated $100 million-plus to Triumph Bancorp, a Dallas banking company operating the TBK Bank chain in five states.

“Twenty-five years ago, we had no strategy except to make a business out of it, and do some good for the community and give back to the community,” Furman said during an interview in Interstate Capital’s headquarters in Santa Teresa, where they started the company in 1993. He is the company’s president.

About 50 of its 150 employees work at the company’s small office at 1255 Country Club Road in Santa Teresa, on the edge of El Paso’s Upper Valley, and the rest work in a Central El Paso office building at 2211 E. Missouri St.

Interstate is not well-known to the general public in the El Paso area because it’s not in a glamorous business. It’s a factoring company, which means it buys businesses’ invoices and advances them cash on those invoices for a fee. It’s the way businesses, especially undercapitalized ones, increase cash flow by not having to wait to get paid from customers.

Last year, the company purchased more than $1 billion worth of invoices from more than 1,000 businesses, most of those in the trucking industry. It has annual revenues of $25 million. It’s bought invoices from more than 10,000 businesses in the last 25 years.

The company’s trucking industry focus is one thing that attracted Triumph Bancorp, a publicly traded Dallas banking company with $3.5 billion in assets, to Interstate Capital.

It plans to have Interstate keep its name, but operate as a part of Triumph Business Capital, a factoring company that’s about three times larger than Interstate, and also is mostly focused on the trucking industry.

This deal “creates one of, if not, the strongest transportation factoring platform in the United States,” Aaron Graft, Triumph Bancorp chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Triumph operates the TBK Bank chain in Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, and Dallas. It also agreed last week to acquire Bank of New Mexico and First National Bank of Durango, and Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs — both in Colorado. Those pending deals were announced April 9 along with the Interstate Capital purchase agreement.

Triumph plans to retain the El Paso and Santa Teresa locations and employees, said Gena Mann, a spokeswoman for Triumph Business Capital.

“We wanted the company to be continued. So, we were looking for a way to make sure there was security for the employees and the clients,” said Cliff Eisenberg, Interstate Capital CEO. “We didn’t want to give up what we built.”

Furman, 58, and Eisenberg, 66, both grew up in El Paso and graduated from Coronado High School. But Furman left El Paso to be a banker in Austin and Dallas.

The two met at a New Year’s Eve party in 1992, and that led to Eisenberg, who was operating his family’s American Finance and Investment lending business, to persuade Furman to open Interstate Capital in this area. They became partners, and the company took off several years later as its clients evolved from mostly local businesses to ones throughout North America, thanks to the growth of the Internet as a business tool, they reported.

Eisenberg, Furman, and Louis Cohen, Interstate vice president for 24 years, will continue to operate Interstate for one to two years after the deal is completed, Eisenberg said. The deal is expected to be completed in the next two months, Triumph officials reported.

The exact price of the sale won’t be known until a final valuation of Interstate’s assets is completed, but it’s in the nine-figure range, Eisenberg said.

Besides the value of the assets, Interstate’s owners, which include Eisenberg, Furman, and a handful of other shareholders, will also get a $35.5 million premium in cash above the company’s value, and up to $22 million in an additional, future payout, tied to how the trucking industry performs over the next three years, according to Triumph information.

Interstate was on the market for three years, Eisenberg said. One proposed deal fell apart about two years ago. And Triumph pulled out of a previous, proposed deal before coming back to make the now-pending acquisition, Furman said.

Furman and Eisenberg said they plan to go into semi-retirement after they complete their one- to two-year commitment with Triumph.

Eisenberg said he’ll continue to keep his hand in American Finance and Investment, where he began working 45 years ago, and is now run by his son. But he also plans to relax, he said.

Furman said he has some other business interests, but he too is looking forward to some down time, he said.

“I’ve never been unemployed since 1976 — since I was 16,” Furman said.

More information: www.interstatecapital.com; triumphbancorp.com/news

Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; vkolenc@elpasotimes.com; @vickolenc on Twitter.

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