Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why a multi-millionaire such as Vince Young needed a high-interest loan

Vince Young's bankruptcy filing is all over the news now. Allegations of things such as $300,000 birthday parties are floating about. In addition, Young has sued his former agent (a family friend), his former financial adviser, and a lending company that loaned Young over a million dollars.

I'm not going to concentrate on Young's spending habits; there's enough about that out there. I'm going to concentrate on the fact that Young, or his advisors, or whoever, ended up getting a loan with interest rates as high as 36%.

That story was pretty much told in April 2011, when the NFL players were on strike. At the time, Rand Getlin wrote:

Much was made of the NFLPA's preparation for the current lockout, which focused on raising players' financial awareness and surviving a months-long battle with no paychecks in sight. The union even went as far as asking players to save a minimum of three game checks from the 2010 season, in hopes of staving off any financial peril this off-season. But one prominent financial adviser, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, told that it's becoming clear many players didn’t follow the union's advice.

One of the lenders was Darien Dash of Pro Player Funding. Although it wasn't revealed at the time, Vince Young was one of the players who had a loan with Pro Player Funding.

One of those sports-specific lenders is Darien Dash, the Managing Director/Sports of Pro Player Funding. His business is one of a handful of boutique lenders which focus primarily on the business of professional athletics, filling a unique niche in an already-exclusive market.

While Dash would not discuss specifics in order to preserve client confidentiality, he said his company has facilitated lending to "several guys" in the NFL. And although Dash declined to discuss whether he has seen an increase in requests for lending in the run up to the lockout, he emphasized the need for players to secure enough money to survive the work stoppage.

"This is a very pivotal and important negotiation for the players," Dash said. "And to the extent that anybody is providing them with a lifeline or a resource to help them to have the financial wherewithal -- to be able to renegotiate what they feel is a fair labor contract -- I think it’s important.

"I know of five, 10, 15 guys in [the sports-lending] space that are all trying to provide resources to players as they [go through the lockout]. I think it's an important dynamic to understand that this is the war chest, or the leverage that players need to be able to get the best deal."

While Dash expressed concern that players might be entering into these agreements without competent legal counsel -- and indicated his company would never close a deal where the borrower wasn’t represented -- he emphasized that players who secure lending are adults and are ultimately responsible for their actions.

"Nobody's out here forcing these guys to do this -- in terms of putting the gun to their head and making them do it," Dash said.

But why would a player have to go to someone such as Dash? Why is there a "sports lending" market anyway? Why can't an NFL player just go down to the local bank and get a loan?

Because, as Getlin revealed, they don't qualify for regular loans.

[S]ome players simply don't qualify for loans from traditional lenders, which typically generate interest in the range of 3.25 to 10 percent. Complicating things further, the unsecured loans many players seek are reserved for top-tier clients and "are mostly a thing of the past," according to one bank executive. And in the absence of lending from traditional institutions, sports-specific lenders have begun to fill the void in the market.

Remember the old saying that you can only get a loan if you already have a bunch of money? Well, in some cases, even having all the money doesn't qualify you for the loan. While we commonly think of professional football players as incredibly wealthy people, the fact remains that NFL players have relatively short careers - even with the most optimistic estimates, a successful player has an average career length of 9 years. And when looking at an individual career, an injury or a deterioration of skills could end a career at any moment.

An auto mechanic with ten years' experience may daydream about the immense wealth of an NFL player, but chances are that the auto mechanic can walk into the local bank and get a loan, while the NFL player will be denied a loan from the same bank.

As a result, people much less prominent than Vince Young really have it hard:

Former 11-year veteran with the Broncos, Bills, Colts, Raiders was living in a FEMA trailer with no running water. Suffers from head injuries and post-concussion syndrome—short-term memory, inability to concentrate/focus, severe depression.
blog comments powered by Disqus