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Remembering ‘Hard Money John’ and Persevering through COVID-19
This year has been a whirlwind for many – between a global pandemic and an often-teetering economy, 2020 has put even the most hardened private lending professionals to the test. The team at Socotra Capital, a premier private lender based in California, certainly knows this.
While navigating the coronavirus pandemic, the firm also had to deal with the sudden passing of its founding partner, John Ingoglia. Socotra’s team sat down with Originate Report to discuss John’s legacy and the importance of perseverance throughout the health crisis.
John founded Socotra Capital in 2008 with his partner Adham Sbeih and grew the firm into the leading provider it is today. John’s cousin and Socotra Chief Strategy Officer, Tony Ingoglia, said that the company ‘wouldn’t be in the space if it wasn’t for John’.
“He instilled life lessons in each of us that are still with us today and are now our own individual way of honoring John’s legacy at Socotra Capital,” he said. “I feel like he developed an amazing team along with his partner Adham, and there were so many amazing life lessons he imprinted upon us.”
This sentiment is echoed by Senior Vice President Chris Baumann, who added that John’s presence and mentorship were ‘formative’ for him.
“John was big on systems and structure and knew how to get the best from people. He really grew the company from the ground up,” Baumann said. “John put the building blocks in place that allowed all of us to run.”
Socotra Vice President Matthew Yu said he will be forever grateful for John taking him under his wing right after college, adding that John’s wit and energy were infectious.
“He had a very specific way of understanding people and knowing what motivates them,” Yu said. “I think he was a great, great leader. Through the course of his time with us, he instilled in each of us knowledge about the business, how to operate and manage so that we would be able to succeed. We realize that we can’t fill his shoes, but together we can take what he’s trained us with and get the wheels moving towards the right direction.”
Socotra Capital’s team agreed that John’s ability to handle difficult situations with a forward-thinking attitude has carried over into the firm’s adaptation to the coronavirus pandemic. The firm’s collections, for example, have remained at 95 percent, which Vice President Kerati Apilakvanichakit said is remarkable given the economic hardships some have faced this year.
“I think that metric stands out because we are a hard money or private money lender, and with the uncertainty in the market banks have been naturally tightening up and getting stricter on their underwriting parameters,” he said. “I do think that in the next 6 to 18 months this will give private money lenders opportunities to fill gaps in the market on what would be bankable notes or bankable properties, properties that say nine months ago would have otherwise gone the route of traditional financiers.”
The impetus of the name Socotra, Tony explained, stems from the firm’s ability to be an island of refuge for borrowers. He added that John always said the best loans are those made in the ‘depths of uncertainty.’ At the end of the day, however, Tony said that the team remains steadfast in their commitment to borrowers and the Socotra family.
“Yes, COVID is a challenge but I don’t think it’s swayed our philosophy and our approach to the space, which is to give our borrowers options,” Tony said. “We want to be that place of refuge, we want to be the boat that brings the islanders to the coast. Even during difficult times, I could always see that excitement in John, that twinkle in his eye.”
Engrained within the DNA of Socotra, Chris said, is the ability to adapt to anything that is thrown their way.
“These are the times when we can make the game, this is the opportunity,” he said. “This is the time when the other athletes take a break, but this is when we train and sharpen our saw. We’re a relatively young company with goals and we are in this for the long-haul – we know where we are right now and where we’re trying to be.”
With over $200 million assets under management, Socotra Capital provides loans ranging in size from $100,000 to $12,000,000. For more information on the group, visit socotracapital.com today.