Medallion Financial (TAXI) - Description of business


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Company Description
OF THE COMPANY

GENERAL

Medallion Financial Corp. (the Company) is a specialty finance company that has a leading position in originating, acquiring, and servicing loans that finance taxicab medallions and various types of commercial businesses, and in originating consumer loans for the purchase of recreational vehicles, boats, and horse trailers. Our core philosophy has been “In niches there are riches.” We try to identify markets that are profitable and where we can be an industry leader. Since 1996, the year in which the Company became a public company, we have increased our taxicab medallion loan portfolio at a compound annual growth rate of 14%, and our commercial loan portfolio at a compound annual growth rate of 15%. Total assets under our management, which includes assets serviced for third party investors, were approximately $802,000,000 as of December 31, 2005, and have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 16% from $215,000,000 at the end of 1996.

The Company conducts its business through various wholly-owned subsidiaries including its primary taxicab medallion lending company, Medallion Funding Corp. (MFC). The Company also currently conducts business through Medallion Business Credit, LLC (MBC), an originator of loans to ses for the purpose of financing inventory and receivables; Medallion Capital, Inc. (MCI), which conducts a mezzanine financing business; Freshstart Venture Capital Corp. (FSVC), a S Investment Company (SBIC) which originates and services taxicab medallion and commercial loans; and Medallion Bank (MB), a bank regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions to originate taxicab medallion, commercial, and consumer loans; to raise deposits; and to conduct other banking activities. MFC, MCI, and FSVC operate as SBICs and are regulated and financed in part by the SBA. Until October 2005, the Company also conducted business through Business Lenders, LLC (BLL), licensed under the US S Administration (SBA) Section 7(a) program. On October 17, 2005, the Company completed the sale of the loan portfolio and related assets of BLL. In connection with this transaction, the Company sold assets in the amount of $22,799,000, less liabilities assumed by the buyer in the amount of $2,327,000. The assets were sold at book value, and therefore no gain or loss, excluding transaction costs, was recognized as a result of this transaction. For 2005, BLL generated net decrease in net assets resulting from operations of $1,003,000, compared to a net decrease of $419,000 for 2004, and BLL’s net investment loss after taxes was $696,000, compared to a loss of $201,000 in 2004.

As an adjunct to the Company’s taxicab medallion finance business, the Company previously operated a taxicab rooftop advertising business through two subsidiaries, the primary operator Medallion Taxi Media, Inc. (Media), and a small operating subsidiary in Japan (MMJ) (together MTM). During the 2004 third quarter, Media was merged with and into a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. (CCU), and MMJ was sold in a stock sale to its management. The Company no longer conducts a taxicab rooftop advertising business.

Alvin Murstein, the Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has over 45 years of experience in the ownership, management, and financing of taxicab medallions and other commercial businesses. Andrew Murstein, the Company’s President, is the third generation in his family to participate in the business.

We are a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (1940 Act). Our investment objectives are to provide a high level of distributable income, consistent with the preservation of capital, as well as long-term growth of net asset value. Since our initial public offering (IPO) in 1996, we have paid dividends in excess of $90,000,000 or $6.31 per share.

We have elected to be treated as a Business Development Company registered under the 1940 Act. Traditionally, the Company and each of its corporate subsidiaries other than Media and MB (the RIC subsidiaries) have elected to be treated for federal income tax purposes as a regulated investment company (RIC) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code). As RICs, the Company and each of the RIC subsidiaries are not subject to US federal income tax on any gains or investment company taxable income (which includes, among other things, dividends and interest income reduced by deductible expenses) that it distributes to its shareholders, if at least 90% of its investment company taxable income for that taxable year is distributed. It is the Company’s and the RIC subsidiaries’ policy to comply with the provisions of the Code. The Company did not qualify to be treated as a RIC for 2003. As a result, the Company was treated as a taxable entity in 2003, which had an immaterial effect on the Company’s financial position and results of operations for 2003. The Company qualified and filed its federal tax returns as a RIC for 2004 and anticipates doing so again in 2005.

As a result of the above, for 2003 income taxes were provided under the provisions of SFAS No. 109, “Accounting for Income Taxes,” as the Company was treated as a taxable entity for tax purposes. Accordingly, the Company recognized current and deferred tax consequences for all transactions recognized in the consolidated financial statements, calculated based upon the enacted tax laws, including tax rates in effect for current and future years. Valuation allowances were established for deferred tax assets when it was more likely than not that they would not be realized.

Media and MB are not RICs and are taxed as regular corporations. For 2003, Media’s losses were included in the tax calculation of the Company along with MFC. For 2004, Media filed a partial year tax return covering the period prior to the merger with CCU.

During the 2004 second quarter, BLL changed its tax status from that of a disregarded “pass-through” entity of the Company to that of a company taxable as a corporation. For the 2005 and 2004 periods, BLL had no tax liability as a result of this election.

MEDALLION LOAN PORTFOLIO

Taxicab medallion loans of approximately $449,673,000 comprised 62% of our $723,253,000 net investment portfolio as of December 31, 2005. Since 1979, we have originated, on a combined basis, approximately $532,407,000 in medallion loans in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Newark, Cambridge, and other cities within the United States. Our medallion loan portfolio consists of mostly fixed-rate loans, collateralized by first security interests in taxicab medallions and related assets. As of December 31, 2005, approximately 78% of the principal amount of our medallion loans were in New York City. We estimate that the average loan-to-value ratio of all of the medallion loans was approximately 60% at December 31, 2005.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) estimates that the total value of all of New York City taxicab medallions and related assets exceeds $5 billion. We estimate that the total value of all taxicab medallions and related assets in the US exceeds $6.4 billion. We believe that we will continue to develop growth opportunities by further penetrating the highly fragmented medallion financing marketplace. Additionally, in the future, the Company may enhance its portfolio growth rate through selective acquisitions of medallion financing businesses and their related portfolios. Since our initial public offering, we have acquired several additional medallion loan portfolios.

Portfolio Characteristics

Medallion loans generally require equal monthly payments covering accrued interest and amortization of principal over a ten to fifteen year schedule, subject to a balloon payment of all outstanding principal after four or five years. More recently, we have begun to originate loans with one-to-three year maturities where interest rates are adjusted and a new maturity period set. Borrowers may prepay medallion loans upon payment of a fee of approximately 90 days’ interest. We believe that the likelihood of prepayment is a function of changes in interest rates and medallion values. Borrowers are more likely to exercise prepayment rights in a decreasing interest rate environment when the interest rates payable on their loans are high relative to prevailing interest rates, and we believe that they are less likely to prepay in a rising interest rate environment. We generally retain the medallion loans we originate; however, from time to time, we participate or sell shares of some loans or portfolios to interested third party financial institutions. In these cases, we retain the borrower relationships and service the sold loans. The total amount of medallion loans under management was $458,457,000 at December 31, 2005, compared to $409,001,000 at December 31, 2004.

At December 31, 2005, substantially all medallion loans were collateralized by first security interests in taxicab medallions and related assets (vehicles, meters, and the like), and were originated at an approximate loan-to-value ratio range of 80-90%. In addition, we have recourse against the vast majority of direct and indirect owners of the medallions who personally guarantee the loans. Although personal guarantees increase the commitment of borrowers to repay their loans, there can be no assurance that the assets available under personal guarantees would, if required, be sufficient to satisfy the obligations subject to such guarantees.

We believe that our medallion loan portfolio is of high credit quality because medallions have generally increased in value and are relatively simple to repossess and resell in an active market. In the past, when a borrower has defaulted on a loan, we have repossessed the medallion collateralizing that loan. If the loan was not brought current, the medallion was sold in the active market at prices at or in excess of the amounts due. Although some of the medallion loans have from time to time been in arrears or in default, our loss experience on medallion loans has been negligible.

Market Position

We have originated and serviced medallion loans since 1979, and have established a leading position in the industry. Management has a long history of owning, managing, and financing taxicab fleets, taxicab medallions, and corporate car services, dating back to 1956. Medallion loans collateralized by New York City taxicab medallions and related assets comprised 78% of the value of the medallion loan portfolio at December 31, 2005. The balance of medallion loans is collateralized by taxicab medallions in Chicago, Boston, Newark, Cambridge, and other cities within the United States. We believe that there are significant growth opportunities in these and other metropolitan markets nationwide.

The following table displays information on medallion loans outstanding in each of our major markets at December 31, 2005.

     # of Loans   

% of

Medallion

Loan

Portfolio (1)

   

Average

Interest

Rate (2)

   

Principal

Balance

 

Medallion loans

         

New York

   1,303    78 %   6.23 %   $ 351,013,972  

Chicago

   342    12     6.99       52,241,611  

Boston

   171    6     7.47       27,879,446  

Newark

   68    2     8.49       6,541,369  

Cambridge

   32    1     7.21       5,663,785  

Other

   45    1     7.53       6,464,175  
                     

Total medallion loans

   1,961    100 %   6.46       449,804,358  
                   

Deferred loan acquisition costs

            1,216,687  

Unrealized depreciation on loans

            (1,348,535 )
               

Net medallion loans

          $ 449,672,510  
               
(1) Based on principal balance outstanding. (2) Based on the contractual adjustable or fixed rates of the portfolios at December 31, 2005.

The New York City Market . A New York City taxicab medallion is the only permitted license to operate a taxicab and accept street hails in New York City. As reported by the TLC, individual (owner-driver) medallions sold for approximately $350,000 and corporate medallions sold for approximately $391,000 at December 31, 2005. The number of taxicab medallions is limited by law, and as a result of the limited supply of medallions, an active market for medallions has developed. The law limiting the number of medallions also stipulates that the ownership for the 12,779 medallions outstanding at December 31, 2005 shall remain divided into 5,112 individual medallions and 7,667 fleet or corporate medallions. Corporate medallions are more valuable because they can be aggregated by businesses, leased to drivers, and operated for more than one shift. In 2003 the state legislature and city council authorized the TLC to sell up to 900 additional medallion licenses, 592 of these were sold via auctions in 2004. It is anticipated that the remaining 308 will be auctioned off in 2006. The City announced a 25% fare hike to support the increased level of medallions, which took effect in the 2004 second quarter. The results of the auctions held were highly successful with a large number of bids received, and record-setting medallion values established. The floor on the remaining auction bids is expected to be the current market values at the date of the auction, which as of January 2006 are in excess of $390,000 for a corporate medallion. Although there can be no assurances, in past auctions, the establishment of a bid floor has tended to support the existing valuation level of the medallions.

A prospective medallion owner must qualify under the medallion ownership standards set and enforced by the TLC. These standards prohibit individuals with criminal records from owning medallions, require that the funds used to purchase medallions be derived from legitimate sources, and mandate that taxicab vehicles and meters meet TLC specifications. In addition, before the TLC will approve a medallion transfer, the TLC requires a letter from the seller’s insurer stating that there are no outstanding claims for personal injuries in excess of insurance coverage. After the transfer is approved, the owner’s taxicab is subject to quarterly TLC inspections.

Most New York City medallion transfers are handled through approximately 30 medallion brokers licensed by the TLC. In addition to brokering medallions, these brokers also arrange for TLC documentation insurance, vehicles, meters, and financing. The Company has excellent relations with many of the most active brokers and regularly receives referrals from them. However, the Company receives most of its referrals from a small number of brokers. Brokers generated 23% of the loans originated for the year-ended December 31, 2005.

The Chicago Market . We estimate that Chicago medallions currently sell for approximately $50,000. Pursuant to a municipal ordinance, the number of outstanding medallions is currently capped at 6,800, which includes an additional 150 and 200 medallions that were auctioned and placed into service in July 1999 and December 2000, respectively. We estimate that the total value of all Chicago medallions and related assets is over $475,000,000.

The Boston Market. We estimate that Boston medallions currently sell for approximately $325,000. The number of Boston medallions had been limited by law since 1934 to 1,525 medallions. In March 1990 an immediate increase to 1,825 was ordered with additional increases over a two and one-half year period to a total of 2,025. We estimate that the total value of all Boston medallions and related assets is over $699,000,000.

The Newark Market. We estimate that Newark medallions currently sell for approximately $210,000. The number of Newark medallions currently has been limited to 600 since 1950 by local law. We estimate that the total value of all Newark medallions and related assets is over $138,000,000.

The Cambridge Market. We estimate that Cambridge medallions currently sell for approximately $312,000. The number of Cambridge medallions has been limited to 248 since 1945 by a Cambridge city ordinance. We estimate that the total value of all Cambridge medallions and related assets is over $82,000,000.

COMMERCIAL LOAN PORTFOLIO

Commercial loans of $145,797,000 comprised 20% of the $723,253,000 net investment portfolio as of December 31, 2005. From the inception of the commercial loan business in 1987 through December 31, 2005, we have originated more than 10,000 commercial loans for an aggregate principal amount of approximately $718,440,000. The commercial loan portfolio consists of floating-rate, adjustable, and fixed-rate loans. We had increased our commercial loan activity in recent years to 20% of net investments, primarily because of the attractive higher yielding, floating rate nature of most of this business. The outstanding balances of commercial loans grew at a compound annual rate of 15% since 1996, although balances declined during 2002 and 2003, as the Company sought to increase liquidity by selling and not renewing certain loans, grew 55% during 2004, reflecting a return to the Company’s historical growth patterns, and grew 7% in 2005 which was dampened by the sale of $19,414,000 of BLL loans. The increase since 1996 has been primarily driven by internal growth through the origination of additional commercial loans. We plan to continue expanding our commercial loan activities by developing a more diverse borrower base, a wider geographic area of coverage, and by expanding targeted industries.

Commercial loans are generally secured by equipment, accounts receivable, real estate, and other assets, and have interest rates averaging 325 basis points over the prevailing prime rate. As with medallion loans, the vast majority of the principals of borrowers personally guarantee commercial loans. The aggregate realized loss of principal on commercial loans has averaged less than 2% per annum for the last five years.

Asset Based Loans

The Company originates, manages, and services asset-based loans to ses who require working capital credit facilities ranging from $500,000 to $3,600,000 through its MBC subsidiary. These loans represent approximately 47% of the commercial loan portfolio. The credit facilities are secured principally by the borrower’s accounts receivable, but may also be secured by inventory, machinery, equipment and/or real estate, and are personally guaranteed by the principals. Currently, our clients are mostly located in the New York metropolitan area and include manufacturers, distributors, and service organizations. We had successfully established 46 credit lines at December 31, 2005.

Secured Mezzanine Loans

Through our MCI subsidiary we originate both senior and subordinated loans to businesses in a variety of industries, including radio and television stations, airport food service operations, and various manufacturing concerns. These loans are primarily secured by a second position on all assets of the businesses, range from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000, and represent approximately 35% of the commercial loan portfolio. Frequently, we receive warrants to purchase an equity interest in the borrowers of secured mezzanine loans.

SBA Section 7(a) loans

The Company originated loans under the Section 7(a) program of the SBA through its BLL subsidiary. The Company sold all of the Section 7(a) loans in its portfolio in connection with the sale of the assets of BLL to a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch in October 2005.

Other Secured Commercial Loans

The Company originates other commercial loans that are not concentrated in any particular industry. These loans represent approximately 18% of our commercial loan portfolio. Historically this portfolio had been made up of fixed-rate loans, but substantially all business originated over the last four years has been at adjustable interest rates, generally repricing on their anniversary date. Borrowers include food service, real estate, dry cleaner, and laundromat businesses.

The following table displays information on the types of loans outstanding in our commercial loan portfolio at December 31, 2005.

     # of Loans   

% of

Commercial

Net

Portfolio (1)

   

Average

Interest

Rate (2)

   

Principal

Balance

 

Commercial Loans

         

Asset-based

   78    47 %   9.64 %   $ 72,084,697  

Secured mezzanine

   35    35     14.06       53,207,394  

Other secured commercial

   154    18     7.06       28,058,435  
                     

Total commercial loans

   267    100 %   10.70       153,350,526  
                   

Deferred loan acquisition costs

            67,283  

Unrealized depreciation on loans

            (7,621,157 )
               

Net commercial loans

          $ 145,796,652  
               
(1) Based on principal balance outstanding (2) Based on the contractual rates of the portfolios at December 31, 2005.

Portfolio Characteristics

Commercial loans finance either the purchase of the equipment and related assets necessary to open a new business or the purchase or improvement of an existing business. We have originated commercial loans in principal amounts ranging from $50,000 to approximately $5,000,000. These loans are generally retained and typically have maturities ranging from one to ten years and require equal monthly payments covering accrued interest and amortization of principal over a four to five year term. Substantially all loans generally may be prepaid with a fee ranging from 30 to 120 days’ interest. The term of, and interest rate charged on, certain of our outstanding loans are subject to SBA regulations. Under SBA regulations, the maximum rate of interest permitted on loans originated by the Company is 19%. Unlike medallion loans, for which competition precludes us from charging the maximum rate of interest permitted under SBA regulations, we are able to charge the maximum rate on certain commercial loans. We believe that the increased yield on commercial loans compensates for their higher risk relative to medallion loans and further illustrates the benefits of diversification.

Commercial loans are generally originated at an average loan-to-value ratio of 70 to 75%. Substantially all of the commercial loans are collateralized by security interests in the assets being financed by the borrower. In addition, we have recourse against the vast majority of the principals of borrowers who personally guarantee the loans. Although personal guarantees increase the commitment of borrowers to repay their loans, there can be no assurance that the assets available under personal guarantees would, if required, be sufficient to satisfy the obligations secured by such guarantees. In certain cases, equipment vendors may provide full and partial recourse guarantees on loans.

CONSUMER LOAN PORTFOLIO

Consumer loans of $85,678,000 comprised 12% of our $723,253,000 net investment portfolio as of December 31, 2005. About half of the existing portfolio was purchased on April 1, 2004 from an unrelated financial institution and the transaction closed May 6, 2004. The Company started originating new adjustable rate consumer loans during the 2004 third quarter. Recreational vehicles, boats, and horse trailers located in all 50 states collateralize the loans. The portfolio is serviced by a third party subsidiary of a major commercial bank.

Portfolio Characteristics

Consumer loans generally require equal monthly payments covering accrued interest and amortization of principal over a negotiated term, generally around ten years. Interest rates offered are both floating and fixed, and certain of the floating rate notes have built in caps or floors. Borrowers may prepay consumer loans without any prepayment penalty. In general, MB has established relationships with dealers in the industry, who source most of the customers to MB.

At December 31, 2005, substantially all consumer loans were collateralized by first security interests in the recreational vehicles, boats, and trailers, and were originated at an approximate loan-to-value ratio of 95%.

We believe that our consumer loan portfolio is of acceptable credit quality given the high interest rates earned on the loans, which compensate for the higher degree of credit risk in the portfolio.

INVESTMENT ACTIVITY

The following table sets forth the components of investment activity in the investment portfolio for the periods indicated.

     Year ended December 31,  
     2005     2004     2003  

Net investments at beginning of period

   $ 643,541,008     $ 379,158,525     $ 356,246,444  

Investments originated

     337,885,639       303,369,002       248,225,892  

Repayments of investments

     (225,381,052 )     (144,835,651 )     (232,171,193 )

Cash received for sold BLL SBA Section 7(a) loans

     (19,414,095 )     —         —    

Transfers from (to) other assets/liabilities

     (7,011,897 )     (439,841 )     2,362,534  

Net increase in unrealized appreciation (depreciation) (1) (2)

     (6,558,733 )     (4,539,807 )     (6,672,904 )

Amortization of origination costs

     (1,935,600 )     (1,704,194 )     (1,376,641 )

Net realized gains (losses) on investments (3)

     1,243,041       (256,347 )     11,688,310  

Realized gains on sales of loans

     884,608       474,074       856,083  

Purchase of consumer loan portfolio

     —         80,631,534       —    

CCU stock received in exchange for investment in Media

     —         31,683,703       —    
                        

Net increase (decrease) in investments

     79,711,911       264,382,483       22,912,081  
                        

Net investments at end of period

   $ 723,252,919     $ 643,541,008     $ 379,158,525  
                        
(1) Net of unrealized depreciation related to MTM of $0, $2,826,600, and $3,932,828 for the years ended December 31, 2005, 2004, and 2003. (2) Excludes net unrealized depreciation of $1,123,136, $512,281, and $317,361 for the years ended December 31, 2005, 2004, and 2003, respectively, related to foreclosed properties, which are carried in other assets on the consolidated balance sheet. (3) Excludes net realized losses of $162,037, $38,639, and $161,682 for the years ended December 31, 2005, 2004, and 2003, related to foreclosed properties, which are carried in other assets on the consolidated balance sheet.

Investment Strategy

Our core philosophy has been “In niches there are riches.” We try to identify markets that are profitable and where we can be an industry leader. Core lending areas include taxicab medallion lending, automobile lending (taxicabs and limousines only), asset-based financing, and Consumer RV and marine lending. Additionally, we lend to ses that meet our overall credit criteria of strong collateral values and personal ability to repay the debt. Until October 2005, the Company also conducted business through Business Lenders, LLC (BLL), licensed under the US S Administration (SBA) Section 7(a) program. The Company sold all of the assets of BLL to a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch & Co. in October 2005 for book value for the assets, and received payment for all intercompany funding provided, in total, $20,472,000. In all lending divisions, we focus on making secured loans to achieve favorable yield to risk profiles and below average losses. In addition to increasing market share in existing lending markets and identifying new niches, we seek to acquire specialty finance companies that make secured loans to ses which have experienced historically low loan losses similar to our own. Since the Company’s initial public offering in May 1996, eight specialty finance companies, four loan portfolios, and three taxicab rooftop advertising companies have been acquired. Our most recent acquisition was the purchase of a consumer loan portfolio by MB in April 2004 for $86,309,000.

Marketing, Origination, and Loan Approval Process

We employ 16 loan originators to originate medallion and commercial loans. Each loan application is individually reviewed through analysis of a number of factors, including loan-to-value ratios, a review of the borrower’s credit history, public records, personal interviews, trade references, personal inspection of the premises, and approval from the TLC, SBA, or other regulatory body, if applicable. Each applicant is required to provide personal or corporate tax returns, premises leases, and/or property deeds. Senior management establishes loan origination criteria. Loans that conform to such criteria may be processed by a loan officer with the proper credit authority, and non-conforming loans must be approved by the Chief Executive Officer and/or the Chief Credit Officer. Both medallion and commercial loans are sourced from brokers with extensive networks of applicants, and commercial loans are also referred by contacts with banks, attorneys, and accounting firms. Consumer loans are primarily sourced through relationships which have been established with RV and boat dealers throughout our market area.

TAXICAB ROOFTOP ADVERTISING

In addition to its finance business, the Company also conducted a taxicab rooftop advertising business primarily through Media, which began operations in November 1994, and ceased operations during the 2004 third quarter upon the merger of Media with and into a subsidiary of CCU, and the sale of MMJ to its management. See Note 3 to the financial statements for additional information. Media’s revenue was affected by the number of taxicab rooftop advertising displays showing advertisements, and the rate charged customers for those displays, which totaled 6,800 in the US at the date of sale. Although Media was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, its results of operations were not consolidated with the Company’s operations because SEC regulations prohibit the consolidation of non-investment companies with investment companies.

SOURCES OF FUNDS

Overview

We have historically funded our lending operations primarily through credit facilities with bank syndicates and, to a lesser degree, through fixed-rate, senior secured notes and long-term subordinated debentures issued to or guaranteed by the SBA. Since the inception of MB, substantially all of MB’s funding has been provided by FDIC insured brokered certificates of deposit. The determination of funding sources is established by our management, based upon an analysis of the respective financial and other costs and burdens associated with funding sources. Our funding strategy and interest rate risk management strategy is to have the proper structuring of debt to minimize both rate and maturity risk, while maximizing returns with the lowest cost of funding over an intermediate period of time.

The table below summarizes our cash levels and borrowings as of December 31, 2005, and amounts outstanding under credit facilities and their respective end of period weighted average interest rates at December 31, 2005. See notes 4 and 5 to the consolidated financial statements for additional information about each credit facility.

     Total  

Cash

   $ 43,036,000  

Bank loans (1)

     19,000,000  

Amounts available

     13,500,000  

Amounts outstanding

     8,550,000  

Average interest rate

     6.76 %

Maturity

     2/06-6/07  

Lines of credit (2)

   $ 325,000,000  

Amounts undisbursed

     20,547,000  

Amounts outstanding

     304,453,000  

Average interest rate

     4.53 %

Maturity

     9/06  

Margin loan

   $ 10,663,000  

Average interest rate

     5.00 %

Maturity

     N/A  

SBA debentures (3)

   $ 77,250,000  

Amounts undisbursed

     0  

Amounts outstanding

     77,250,000  

Average interest rate

     6.02 %

Maturity

     9/11-9/15  

Brokered CD’s

   $ 219,107,000  

Average Interest Rate

     3.47 %

Maturity

     1/06-9/09  
        

Total cash and remaining amounts undisbursed under credit facilities

   $ 77,083,000  
        

Total debt outstanding

   $ 620,022,000  
        
(1) In January 2005, MFC entered into a $4,000,000 revolving note agreement with Atlantic Bank that matures in August 2006, and is secured by medallion loans in process of being sold to the Trust. (2) In January 2006, this line of credit was extended for an additional two years to September 2008, with the committed amount adjusting to $475,000,000. (3) In March 2006, the SBA approved a $13,500,000 commitment for MCI to issue additional debentures to the SBA during a ten year period upon payment of a 1% fee and the infusion of $4,500,000 of additional capital.

We fund our fixed-rate loans with variable-rate credit lines and bank debt, and with fixed-rate senior secured notes and SBA debentures. The mismatch between maturities and interest-rate sensitivities of these balance sheet items results in interest rate risk. We seek to manage our exposure to increases in market rates of interest to an acceptable level by:

  •   Originating adjustable rate loans;

  •   Incurring fixed-rate debt; and

  •   Purchasing interest rate caps to hedge a portion of variable-rate debt against increases in interest rates.

Nevertheless, we accept varying degrees of interest rate risk depending on market conditions. For additional discussion of our funding sources and asset liability management strategy, see Asset/Liability Management on page 39.

OUR OPERATION AS A RIC

We previously elected to be taxed as a RIC under Sections 851 through 855 of the Internal Revenue Code for each taxable year, assuming we satisfied the qualification requirements for RIC treatment in each year. As further described herein, and in the notes to the consolidated financial statements, during taxable year 2002 we did not qualify as a RIC and were therefore subject to tax as an ordinary corporation under Subchapter C of the Code. Importantly, because we had a net operating loss for 2002, our non-qualification of RIC status did not materially affect dividend distributions to our stockholders, and produced a potentially beneficial taxable loss to carry forward. The Company qualified as a RIC in 2003, but chose to be taxed as a C Corporation in 2003 in order to better utilize the net operating loss carryforwards generated in 2002 and prior years.

The sections of the Code relating to qualification and operation as a RIC are highly technical and complex. The following discussion summarizes material aspects of the sections of the Code that govern the federal income tax treatment of a RIC and the treatment of stockholders. This summary is qualified in its entirety by the applicable Code provisions, rules and regulations developed under the Code and the rules, and administrative and judicial interpretations of these provisions, rules and regulations.

In general, if certain detailed conditions of the Code are met (including the election of RIC taxation in each such year), Business Development Companies, like us in previous taxable years, are generally not taxed at the corporate level on the “investment company taxable income” and net capital gains that are distributed to stockholders, where they are taxed at ordinary income and capital gains rates, respectively. The income of a non-RIC corporation is generally subject to corporate tax. In addition, stockholders who receive income from non-RIC corporations are also taxed on the income they receive at the lower capital gains rate. Thus, the income of a non-RIC corporation is subject to “double taxation” (i.e., taxation at both the corporate and stockholder levels). RIC treatment reduces this “double taxation.” A RIC is, however, generally subject to federal income tax, at regular corporate rates, on undistributed investment company taxable income and net capital gains.

To avoid a 4% nondeductible federal excise tax on undistributed income and capital gains, we must distribute (or be deemed to have distributed) by December 31st of each year at least 98% of the sum of (1) our ordinary income for such year; (2) our capital gain net income (which is the excess of our capital gain over our capital loss and is generally computed on the basis of the one-year period ending on October 31st of such year); and (3) any amounts that were not distributed in the previous calendar year and on which no income tax has been paid.

As in 2002, if we do not qualify as a RIC in any year, we will be subject to income taxes as if we were a domestic corporation, and our stockholders will be taxed on any amounts distributed to them in the same manner as stockholders of an ordinary corporation. Depending on the relevant circumstances, if this were to occur, we could be subject to potentially significant tax liabilities and the amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders could be reduced. In 2002, however, because we had a net operating loss we did not suffer any significant tax liabilities as a result of our loss of RIC status. Likewise, in 2003, we were not taxed as a RIC on our federal tax return, and were able to offset substantially all of our federal and state tax liabilities by the use of net operating loss carryforwards generated in prior years.

The Code’s definition of the term “RIC” includes a domestic corporation that has elected to be treated as a Business Development Company under the 1940 Act and meets certain requirements. These requirements are:

  (a) The Company derives at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from dividends, interest, interest payments with respect to securities loans, and gains from the sale or other disposition of stocks or securities or foreign currencies; and

  (b) The Company diversifies its holdings so that, at the close of each quarter of its taxable year,

  (i) At least 50% of the value of its total assets is represented by (A) cash, and cash items (including receivables), US Government securities and securities of other RICs, and (B) other securities limited in respect of any one issuer to an amount not greater in value than 5% of the value of the total assets of the Company and to not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer; and

  (ii) Not more than 25% of the value of total assets is invested in the securities (other than US Government securities or securities of other RICs) of any one issuer or two or more issuers controlled by the company and engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses.

These income and asset diversification requirements could restrict the expansion of our banking business conducted by MB.

In addition, to qualify as a RIC under the Code, in each taxable year a company also must distribute to its stockholders at least 90% of (a) its investment company taxable income and (b) the excess of its tax-exempt interest income over certain disallowed deductions.

If we satisfy these requirements, we would not be subject to federal income tax on the investment company taxable income and net capital gain distributed to our stockholders. However, any investment company taxable income and/or net capital gains retained by us would be subject to federal income tax at regular corporate income tax rates. However, we may designate retained net capital gains as a “deemed distribution” and pay a tax on this for the benefit of our stockholders.

As a RIC, if we acquire debt obligations that were originally issued at a discount, or bear interest rates that do not

call for payments at fixed rates (or certain “qualified variable rates”) at regular intervals over the life of the obligation, we will be required to include, as interest income, in each year, a portion of the “original issue discount” that accrues over the life of the obligation regardless of whether we receive the income, and we will be obligated to make distributions accordingly. If this were to occur, we may borrow funds or sell assets to meet the distribution requirements. However, the 1940 Act prohibits us from making distributions to stockholders while senior securities are outstanding unless we meet certain asset coverage requirements. If we are unable to make the required distributions, we may be subject to the nondeductible 4% excise tax or we may fail to qualify as a RIC. In addition, the SBA restricts the amount of distributions to the amount of undistributed net realized earnings less the allowance for unrealized loan losses (which in our case includes unrealized depreciation).

If we qualify as a RIC, distributions made to our taxable domestic stockholders out of current or accumulated earnings and profits (and not designated as capital gain dividends) will be considered ordinary income to them. Distributions that are designated as capital gain dividends will be taxed as long-term capital gains, (to the extent they do not exceed our actual net capital gain for the taxable year) without regard to the period for which the stockholder has held the stock. Corporate stockholders, however, are subject to tax on capital gain dividends at the same rate as ordinary income.

To the extent that we made (or continue to make in 2005 and beyond) distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, these distributions were (and would be) treated first as a tax-free return of capital to the stockholder, reducing the tax basis of a stockholder’s common stock by the amount of such distribution (but not below zero). Distributions in excess of the stockholder’s tax basis are taxable as capital gains (if the common stock is held as a capital asset). In addition, any dividends declared by us in October, November, or December of any year and payable to a stockholder of record on a specific date in any such month shall be treated as both paid by us and received by the stockholder on December 31st of such year, provided that the dividend is actually paid by us during January of the following calendar year. Stockholders may not include in their individual income tax returns any net operating losses or capital losses by us.

If we choose to retain and pay tax on any net capital gain rather than distribute such gain to our stockholders, we will designate such deemed distribution in a written notice to stockholders within 60 days after the close of the taxable year. Each stockholder would then be treated, for federal income tax income tax purposes, as if we had distributed to such stockholder, on the last day of its taxable year, the stockholder’s pro rata share of the net long-term capital gain retained by us and the stockholder had paid its pro rata share of the taxes paid by and reinvested the remainder in us.

In general, any losses upon a sale or exchange of common stock by a stockholder who has held the stock for six months or less (after applying certain holding period rules) will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that distributions from us are required to be treated by the stockholder as long-term capital gains.

As noted above, we were not taxed as a RIC in 2002 or 2003, and were taxed as a RIC in 2004. If we fail to meet the RIC requirements for more than two consecutive years and then seek to requalify as a RIC, we would be required to recognize gain to the extent of any unrealized appreciation on our assets unless we make a special election to pay corporate-level tax on any such unrealized appreciation recognized during the succeeding 10-year period. Absent such special election, any gain we recognized would be deemed distributed to our stockholders as a taxable distribution.

OUR OPERATION AS A BDC

As a Business Development Company, or BDC, we are subject to regulation under the 1940 Act, and we are periodically examined by the SEC for compliance with the 1940 Act. The 1940 Act contains prohibitions and restrictions relating to transactions between investment companies and their affiliates, principal underwriters and affiliates of those affiliates or underwriters. In addition, the 1940 Act provides that we may not change the nature of our business in a way which would cause us to lose our status as a BDC or withdraw our election as a BDC, unless we are authorized by a vote of a “majority of the Company’s outstanding voting securities,” as defined under the 1940 Act.

We are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of stock (collectively, “senior securities,” as defined under the 1940 Act) senior to the shares of common stock if the asset coverage of the indebtedness and all senior securities is at least 200% immediately after the issuance. Subordinated SBA debentures guaranteed by or issued to the SBA by our RIC subsidiaries are not subject to this asset coverage test. In addition, while senior securities are outstanding, provisions must be made to prohibit the declaration of any dividend or other distribution to stockholders (except stock dividends) or the repurchase of securities or shares unless we meet the applicable asset coverage ratios at the time of the declaration of the dividend or distribution or repurchase after deducting such dividend, distribution or repurchase price.

Under the 1940 Act, a BDC may not acquire any asset other than assets of the type listed in Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act (Qualifying Assets) unless, at the time the acquisition is made, certain Qualifying Assets represent at least 70% of the value of the Company’s total assets. The principal categories of Qualifying Assets relevant to our business are the following:

  (1) Securities purchased in transactions not involving a public offering from the issuer of such securities, which issuer is an eligible portfolio company. An “eligible portfolio company” is defined in the 1940 Act as any issuer which:

  (a) Is organized under the laws of, and has its principal place of business in, the United States;

  (b) Is not an investment company other than a SBIC wholly-owned by the BDC; and

  (c) Satisfies one or more of the following requirements:

  (i) The issuer does not have a class of securities with respect to which a member of a national securities exchange, broker or dealer may extend margin credit, or

  (ii) The issuer is controlled by a BDC, such BDC exercises a controlling influence over the issuer’s management or policies as a result of such control, and the BDC has an affiliated person serving as a director of issuer;

  (iii) The issuer has total assets of not more than $4 million and capital and surplus (shareholder’s equity less retained earnings) of not less than $2 million, or such other amounts as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may establish by rule, regulation, or order; or

  (iv) Issuer meets such other criteria as the SEC may establish from time to time by rule;

  (2) Securities for which there is no public market and which are purchased in transactions not involving a public offering from the issuer of such securities where the issuer is an eligible portfolio company which is controlled by the BDC;

  (3) Securities received in exchange for or distributed on or with respect to securities described in (1) or (2) above, or pursuant to the exercise of options, warrants or rights relating to such securities; and

  (4) Cash.

In addition, a BDC’s cash items, government securities, or high quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment, must have been organized (and have its principal place of business) in the US for the purpose of making investments in the types of securities described in (1) or (2) above.

To count securities as Qualifying Assets for the purpose of the 70% test, a BDC must either control the issuer of the securities or must make available to the issuer of the securities significant managerial assistance; except that, where a BDC purchases such securities in conjunction with one or more other persons acting together, one of the other persons in the group may make available the required managerial assistance.

REGULATION BY THE SBA

MFC, MCI, and FSVC each operate as an SBIC. The S Investment Act of 1958 (SBIA) authorizes the organization of SBICs as vehicles for providing equity capital, long term financing, and management assistance to s concerns. The SBIA and the SBA regulations define a “s concern” as a business that is independently owned and operated, which does not dominate its field of operation and which (i) has a net worth, together with any affiliates, of $18.0 million or less and average annual net income after US federal income taxes for the preceding two years of $6.0 million or less (average annual net income is computed without the benefit of any carryover loss), or (ii) satisfies alternative criteria under SBA regulations that focus on the industry in which the business is engaged and the number of persons employed by the business or its gross revenues. In addition, at the end of each year, at least 20% of the total amount of loans made after April 25, 1994 must be made in “smaller businesses” which have a net worth of $6.0 million or less and average net income after federal income taxes for the preceding two years of $2.0 million or less. SBA Regulations also prohibit an SBIC from providing funds to a s concern for certain purposes, such as relending and reinvestment.

MFC is authorized to make loans to borrowers other than disadvantaged businesses (that is, businesses that are at least 50% owned, and controlled and managed, on a day to day basis, by a person or persons whose participation in the free enterprise system is hampered because of social or economic disadvantage) if, at the time of the loan, MFC has in its portfolio, outstanding loans to disadvantaged businesses with an aggregate cost basis equal to or exceeding the value of the unamortized repurchase discount under the preferred stock repurchase agreement between MFC and the SBA, which is currently zero.

Under current SBA Regulations, the maximum rate of interest that MFC may charge may not exceed the higher of (i) 19% or (ii) the sum of (a) the higher of (i) that company’s weighted average cost of qualified borrowings, as determined under SBA Regulations, or (ii) the current SBA debenture rate, plus (b) 11%, rounded to the next lower eighth of one percent. At December 31, 2005, our outstanding medallion loans had a weighted average rate of interest of 6.46% and our outstanding commercial loans had a weighted average rate of interest of 10.70%. Current SBA Regulations also require that each loan originated by an SBIC have a term of between one and 20 years; loans to disadvantaged businesses also may be for a minimum term of one year.

The SBA restricts the ability of SBICs to repurchase their capital stock, to retire their SBA debentures, and to lend money to their officers, directors, and employees or invest in affiliates thereof. The SBA also prohibits, without prior SBA approval, a “change of control” or transfers which would result in any person (or group of persons acting in concert) owning 10% or more of any class of capital stock of an SBIC. A “change of control” is any event which would result in the transfer of the power, direct or indirect, to direct the management and policies of an SBIC, whether through ownership, contractual arrangements or otherwise.

Under SBA Regulations, without prior SBA approval, loans by licensees with outstanding SBA leverage to any single s concern may not exceed 20% of an SBICs regulatory capital, as defined, however, under the terms of the respective conversion agreements with the SBA, MFC is authorized to make loans to disadvantaged borrowers in amounts not exceeding 30% of its respective regulatory capital.

SBICs must invest idle funds that are not being used to make loans in investments permitted under SBA Regulations. These permitted investments include direct obligations of, or obligations guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the government of the US with a term of 15 months or less and deposits maturing in one year or less issued by an institution insured by the FDIC. These permitted investments must be maintained in (i) direct obligations of, or obligations guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the US, which mature within 15 months from the date of the investment; (ii) repurchase agreements with federally insured institutions with a maturity of seven days or less if the securities underlying the repurchase agreements are direct obligations of, or obligations guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the US, and such securities must be maintained in a custodial account in a federally insured institution; (iii) certificates of deposit with a maturity of one year or less, issued by a federally insured institution; (iv) a deposit account in a federally insured institution, subject to a withdrawal restriction of one year or less; (v) a checking account in a federally insured institution; or (vi) a reasonable petty cash fund.

SBICs may purchase voting securities of s concerns in accordance with SBA Regulations. Although prior regulations prohibited an SBIC from controlling a s concern except in limited circumstances, regulations adopted by SBA on October 22, 2002 (pursuant to Public Law 106-554) now allow an SBIC to exercise control over a s for a period of seven years from the date on which the SBIC initially acquires its control position. This control period may be extended for an additional period of time with SBA’s prior written approval.

MEDALLION BANK’S OPERATION AS AN INDUSTRIAL BANK

In May 2002, the Company formed MB, which received approval from the FDIC for federal deposit insurance in October 2003. MB, a Utah-chartered industrial bank, is a depository institution subject to regulatory oversight and examination by both the FDIC and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions. Under its banking charter, MB is empowered to make consumer and commercial loans, and may accept all FDIC-insured deposits other than demand deposits (checking accounts). The creation of MB allows the Company to apply stable and low-cost bank deposit funding for key lending business activities throughout the Company, which initially included taxicab medallion and asset-based lending, and now also includes consumer loans.

MB is subject to certain federal laws that restrict and control its ability to extend credit and provide or receive services between affiliates. See Note 18 to the consolidated financial statements. In addition, the FDIC has regulatory authority to prohibit MB from engaging in any unsafe or unsound practice in conducting its business. The effects of, and changes in, the level of regulatory scrutiny, regulatory requirements and initiatives, including certain mandatory and possibly discretionary actions by federal and State of Utah regulators, restrictions and limitations imposed by banking laws, examinations, audits, and possible agreements between MB and it regulators may affect the operations of MB.

MB is further subject to capital adequacy guidelines issued by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (the FFIEC). These guidelines make regulatory capital requirements more sensitive to differences in risk profiles among banking organizations and consider off-balance sheet exposures in determining capital adequacy. Under the rules and regulations of the FFIEC, at least half of a bank’s total capital is required to be Tier I capital, comprised of common equity, retained earnings and a limited amount of non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock. The remaining capital, Tier II capital, may consist of other preferred stock, certain hybrid debt/equity instruments, a limited amount of term-subordinated debt, or a limited amount of the reserve for possible credit losses. The FFIEC has also adopted minimum leverage ratios for banks, which are calculated by dividing Tier I capital by total average assets. Recognizing that the risk-based capital standards address only credit risk, and not interest rate, liquidity, operational, or other risks, many banks are expected to maintain capital in excess of the minimum standards.

In addition, pursuant to provisions of the FDIC Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) and related regulations with respect to prompt corrective action, FDIC-insured institutions such as MB may only accept brokered deposits without FDIC permission if they meet specified capital standards, and are subject to restrictions with respect to the interest they may pay on deposits unless they are well-capitalized. To be well-capitalized under the prompt corrective action provisions, a bank must have a ratio of combined Tier I and Tier II capital to risk-weighted assets of not less than 10%, Tier I capital to risk-weighted assets of not less than 6%, and a Tier I capital to average assets of not less than 5%.

The FDIC, the Company, and MB have agreed that the capital levels of MB will at all times meet or exceed the levels required for MB to be considered well capitalized under the FDIC rules and regulations, that MB’s Tier 1 capital to total assets ratio will be maintained at not less than 15%, and that MB will maintain an adequate allowance for loan and lease losses. See Note 18 to the consolidated financial statements.

Transfers of Funds

Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act and applicable regulations also impose restrictions on MB. These restrictions limit the transfer of funds by a depository institution to certain of its affiliates, including the Company, in the form of loans, extensions of credit, investments, or purchases of assets. Sections 23A and 23B also require generally that the depository institution’s transactions with its affiliates be on terms no less favorable to MB than comparable transactions with unrelated third parties. See Note 18 to the consolidated financial statements.

Legislative and Regulatory Developments

The banking and finance businesses in general are the subject of extensive regulation at the state and federal levels, and numerous legislative and regulatory proposals are advanced each year which, if adopted, could affect our profitability or the manner in which we conduct our activities. It is impossible to determine the extent of the impact of any new laws, regulations or initiatives, or whether any of the federal or state proposals will become law.

The USA Patriot Act and the International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act of 2001 (the USA Patriot Act) was enacted on October 26, 2001, and is intended to detect and prosecute terrorism and international money laundering. The USA Patriot Act establishes new standards for verifying customer identification incidental to the opening of new accounts. MB has undertaken appropriate measures to comply with the USA Patriot Act and associated regulations. Other provisions of the USA Patriot Act provide for special information sharing procedures governing communications with the government and other financial institutions with respect to suspected terrorists and money laundering activity, and enhancements to suspicious activity reporting, including electronic filing of suspicious activity reports over a secure filing network.

COMPETITION

Banks, credit unions, and finance companies, some of which are SBICs, compete with the Company in originating medallion, commercial, and consumer loans. In addition, finance subsidiaries of equipment manufacturers also compete with the Company in originating commercial loans. Many of these competitors have greater resources than the Company and certain competitors are subject to less restrictive regulations than the Company. As a result, there can be no assurance that the Company will be able to identify and complete the financing transactions that will permit it to compete successfully.

EMPLOYEES

As of December 31, 2005, the Company employed 99 persons. The Company believes that relations with all of its employees are good.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

Our corporate website is located at www.medallion.com . We make copies of our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and any amendment to those reports filed with or furnished to the SEC available to investors on or through our website free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with or furnish them to the SEC. Our SEC filings can be found in the For Investors section of our website, the address of which is http://www.medallion.com/investors.htm . Our Code of Ethical Conduct and Insider Trading Policy can be located in the Corporate Governance section of our website at http://www.medallion.com/investors_governance.htm . These documents, as well as our SEC filings are available in print to any stockholder who requests a copy from our Secretary.

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

Interest rate fluctuations may adversely affect the interest rate spread we receive on our taxicab medallion and commercial loans.

Because we borrow money to finance the origination of loans, our income is dependent upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the rate at which we loan funds. While the loans in our portfolio in most cases bear interest at fixed-rates or adjustable-rates (which adjust at various intervals), we finance a substantial portion of such loans by incurring indebtedness with adjustable or floating interest rates (which adjust immediately to changes in rates). As a result, our debt may adjust to a change in interest rates more quickly than the loans in our portfolio. In periods of sharply rising interest rates, our costs of funds would increase, which would reduce our portfolio income before net realized and unrealized gains. Accordingly, like most financial services companies, we face the risk of interest rate fluctuations. Although we intend to continue to manage our interest rate risk through asset and liability management, including the use of interest rate caps, to achieve a positive asset/liability gap at year end, general rises in interest rates may reduce our interest rate spread in the short term. In addition, we rely on our counterparties to perform their obligations under such interest rate caps.

A decrease in prevailing interest rates may lead to more loan prepayments, which could adversely affect our business.

Our borrowers generally have the right to prepay their loans upon payment of a fee ranging from 30 to 120 days interest. A borrower is likely to exercise prepayment rights at a time when the interest rate payable on the borrower’s loan is high relative to prevailing interest rates. In a lower interest rate environment, we will have difficulty re-lending prepaid funds at comparable rates, which may reduce the net interest margin we receive.

We have traditionally qualified to be a RIC, and in order to be taxed as a RIC we must distribute our income. Therefore, we may have a continuing need for capital if we continue to be taxed as a RIC in the future.

We have a continuing need for capital to finance our lending activities. Our current sources of capital and liquidity are the following:

  •   line of credit for medallion lending;

  •   raising deposits at MB;

  •   loan amortization and prepayments;

  •   sales of participation interests in loans; and

  •   borrowings from other financial intermediaries.

In order to be taxed as a RIC, we are required to distribute at least 90% of our investment company taxable income; consequently, we have primarily relied upon external sources of funds to finance growth. At December 31, 2005, we had $15,000,000 under a Fed Funds Line with a commercial bank, $12,343,000 available under revolving credit agreements with commercial banks, and $1,950,000 of additional deposits that can be raised by MB at existing capital levels. Additionally, In March 2006, the SBA approved a $13,500,000 commitment for MCI to issue additional debentures to the SBA during a ten year period upon payment of a 1% fee and the infusion of $4,500,000 of additional capital.

We may have difficulty raising capital to finance our planned level of lending operations.

Although the Company has demonstrated an ability to meet significant debt amortization requirements in the past, received approval to operate MB and begin raising federally-insured deposits, and has several existing sources of liquidity, there can be no assurance that additional funding sources to meet amortization requirements or future growth targets will be successfully obtained. See the additional discussion related to the credit facilities and note agreements in the Liquidity and Capital Resources section on page 40.

Due to the Company’s late filing of the 2004 Form 10-K, the Company could have restrictions imposed on it by rules of NASDAQ and the SEC. Such restrictions could include, and are not limited to, such items as not being able to file short form registration statements if the Company were to issue additional common stock to the public. The Company has no current plans for additional equity offerings.

Lending to ses involves a high degree of risk and is highly speculative.

Lending to ses involves a high degree of business and financial risk, which can result in substantial losses and should be considered speculative. Our borrower base consists primarily of s owners that have limited resources and that are generally unable to achieve financing from traditional sources. There is generally no publicly available information about these s owners, and we must rely on the diligence of our employees and agents to obtain information in connection with our credit decisions. In addition, these ses often do not have audited financial statements. Some smaller businesses have narrower product lines and market shares than their competition. Therefore, they may be more vulnerable to customer preferences, market conditions or economic downturns, which may adversely affect the return on, or the recovery of, our investment in these businesses.

Our borrowers may default on their loans.

We primarily invest in and lend to companies that may have limited financial resources. Numerous factors may affect a borrower’s ability to repay its loan, including:

  •   the failure to meet its business plan;

  •   a downturn in its industry or negative economic conditions;

  •   the death, disability or resignation of one or more of the key members of management; or

  •   the inability to obtain additional financing from traditional sources.

Deterioration of a borrower’s financial condition and prospects may be accompanied by deterioration of the collateral for the loan. Expansion of our portfolio and increases in the proportion of our portfolio consisting of commercial loans could have an adverse impact on the credit quality of the portfolio.

We borrow money, which may increase the risk of investing in our common stock.

We use financial leverage through banks and our long-term subordinated SBA debentures. Leverage poses certain risks for our stockholders, including the following:

  •   it may result in higher volatility of both our net asset value and the market price of our common stock;

  •   since interest is paid to our creditors before any income is distributed to our stockholders, fluctuations in the interest payable to our creditors may decrease the dividends and distributions to our stockholders; and

  •   in the event of a liquidation of the Company, our creditors would have claims on our assets superior to the claims of our stockholders.

If we are unable to continue to diversify geographically, our business may be adversely affected if the New York City taxicab industry experiences a sustained economic downturn.

Although we have diversified from the New York City area, a significant portion of our loan revenue is derived from New York City medallion loans collateralized by New York City taxicab medallions. An economic downturn in the New York City taxicab industry could lead to an increase in defaults on our medallion loans. There can be no assurance that we will be able to sufficiently diversify our operations geographically.

An economic downturn could result in certain of our commercial and consumer loan customers experiencing declines in business activities, which could lead to difficulties in their servicing of their loans with us, and increasing the level of delinquencies, defaults, and loan losses in our commercial and consumer loan portfolios. Although the Company believes the estimates and assumptions used in determining the recorded amounts of net assets and liabilities at December 31, 2005 are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from the estimated amounts recorded in the Company’s financial statements.

The loss of certain key members of our senior management could adversely affect us.

Our success is largely dependent upon the efforts of senior management. The death, incapacity, or loss of the services of certain of these individuals could have an adverse effect on our operations and financial results. There can be no assurance that other qualified officers could be hired.

Acquisitions may lead to difficulties that could adversely affect our operations.

By their nature, corporate acquisitions entail certain risks, including those relating to undisclosed liabilities, the entry into new markets, operational, and personnel matters. We may have difficulty integrating acquired operations or managing problems due to sudden increases in the size of our loan portfolio. In such instances, we might be required to modify our operating systems and procedures, hire additional staff, obtain and integrate new equipment, and complete other tasks appropriate for the assimilation of new business activities. There can be no assurance that we would be successful, if and when necessary, in minimizing these inherent risks or in establishing systems and procedures which will enable us to effectively achieve our desired results in respect of any future acquisitions.

Competition from entities with greater resources and less regulatory restrictions may decrease our profitability.

We compete with banks, credit unions, and other finance companies, some of which are SBICs, in the origination of taxicab medallion, commercial, and consumer loans. Many of these competitors have greater resources than the Company, and certain competitors are subject to less restrictive regulations than the Company. As a result, there can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to identify and complete financing transactions that will permit us to continue to compete successfully.

The valuation of our loan portfolio is subjective and we may not be able to recover our estimated value in the event of a foreclosure or sale of a substantial portion of portfolio loans.

Under the 1940 Act, our loan portfolio must be recorded at fair value or “marked-to-market.” Unlike other lending institutions, we are not permitted to establish reserves for loan losses. Instead, the valuation of our investment portfolio is adjusted quarterly to reflect our estimate of the current realizable value of our loan portfolio. Since no ready market exists for this portfolio, fair value is subject to the good faith determination of our management and the approval of our Board of Directors. Because of the subjectivity of these estimates, there can be no assurance that in the event of a foreclosure or the sale of portfolio loans we would be able to recover the amounts reflected on our balance sheet. If liquidity constraints required the sale of a substantial portion of the portfolio, such an action may require the sale of certain assets at amounts less than their carrying amounts.

In determining the value of our portfolio, management and the Board of Directors may take into consideration various factors such as the financial condition of the borrower and the adequacy of the collateral. For example, in a period of sustained increases in market interest rates, management and the Board of Directors could decrease its valuation of the portfolio if the portfolio consists primarily of fixed-rate loans. Our valuation procedures are designed to generate values that approximate the value that would have been established by market forces and are therefore subject to uncertainties and variations from reported results.

Considering these factors, we have determined that the fair value of our portfolio is below its cost basis. At December 31, 2005, our net unrealized depreciation on investments was approximately $12,535,793 or 1.70% of our investment portfolio. Based upon current market conditions and current loan-to-value ratios, management believes, and our Board of Directors concurs, that the net unrealized depreciation on investments is adequate to reflect the fair value of the portfolio.

Changes in taxicab industry regulations that result in the issuance of additional medallions could lead to a decrease in the value of our medallion loan collateral.

Every city in which we originate medallion loans, and most other major cities in the US, limits the supply of taxicab medallions. This regulation results in supply restrictions that support the value of medallions. Actions that loosen these restrictions and result in the issuance of additional medallions into a market could decrease the value of medallions in that market. If this were to occur, the value of the collateral securing our then outstanding medallion loans in that market could be adversely affected. New York City determined to increase the number of medallions by 900, auctioned over a three year period beginning in 2004, preceded by a 25% fare hike. The first of these auctions for 300 medallions concluded in April 2004, and the second for 300 medallions concluded in October 2004, and both generated high levels of bid activity and record medallion prices. Although there can be no assurances, we would expect the final auction in 2006 to obtain similar results. We are unable to forecast with any degree of certainty whether any other potential increases in the supply of medallions will occur.

In New York City, Chicago, Boston, and in other markets where we originate medallion loans, taxicab fares are generally set by government agencies. Expenses associated with operating taxicabs are largely unregulated. As a result, the ability of taxicab operators to recoup increases in expenses is limited in the short term. Escalating expenses can render taxicab operations less profitable, and could cause borrowers to default on loans from the Company, and could potentially adversely affect the value of the Company’s collateral. As mentioned above, New York City approved a 25% fare increase as a part of the auction program which was effective May 1, 2004.

A significant portion of our loan revenue is derived from loans collateralized by New York City taxicab medallions. According to New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission data, over the past 20 years New York City taxicab medallions have appreciated in value an average of 10% each year. However, for sustained periods during that time, taxicab medallions have declined in value. During 2005, the value of New York City taxicab medallions increased by approximately 5% for individual medallions and 4% for corporate medallions.

Our failure to re-establish our RIC status in 2004 and beyond could lead to a substantial reduction in the amount of income distributed to our shareholders.

In 2003, changes were enacted to the federal tax laws which, among other things, significantly reduced the tax rate on dividends paid to shareholders from a corporation’s previously taxed income. Assuming we qualify as a RIC for 2005 or subsequent taxable years, we are unable to predict the effect of such changes upon our common stock.

If we do not file as a RIC for more than two consecutive years, and then seek to requalify and elect RIC status, we would be required to recognize gain to the extent of any unrealized appreciation on our assets unless we make a special election to pay corporate-level tax on any such unrealized appreciation recognized during the succeeding 10-year period. Absent such special election, any gain we recognize would be deemed distributed to our stockholders as a taxable distribution.

To qualify and be taxed as a RIC, we must meet certain income, diversification, and distribution requirements. However, because we use leverage, we are subject to certain asset coverage ratio requirements set forth in the 1940 Act. These asset coverage requirements could, under certain circumstances, prohibit us from making distributions that are necessary to maintain our RIC status or require that we reduce our leverage.

In addition, the asset coverage and distribution requirements impose significant cash flow management restrictions on us and limit our ability to retain earnings to cover periods of loss, provide for future growth and pay for extraordinary items. Qualification as a RIC is made on an annual basis and, although we and some of our subsidiaries qualified as regulated investment companies in the past, no assurance can be given that each will qualify for such treatment in 2005 and beyond. Failure to qualify as a RIC would subject us to tax on our income and could have material adverse effects on our financial condition and results of operations.

Our SBIC subsidiaries may be unable to meet the investment company requirements, which could result in the imposition of an entity-level tax.

The SBIA regulates some of our subsidiaries. The SBIA restricts distributions by a SBIC. Our SBIC subsidiaries that are also RICs could be prohibited by SBA regulations from making the distributions necessary to qualify as a RIC. Each year, in order to comply with the SBA regulations and the RIC distribution requirements, we must request and receive a waiver of the SBA’s restrictions. While the current policy of the SBA’s Office of SBIC Operations is to grant such waivers if the SBIC makes certain offsetting adjustments to its paid-in capital and surplus accounts, there can be no assurance that this will continue to be the SBA’s policy or that our subsidiaries will have adequate capital to make the required adjustments. If our subsidiaries are unable to obtain a waiver, compliance with the SBA regulations may result in loss of RIC status and a consequent imposition of an entity-level tax.

The Internal Revenue Code’s diversification requirements may limit our ability to expand our business.

These requirements provide that to qualify as a RIC, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be invested in the securities (other than US Government securities or securities of other RICs) of any one issuer. While our investments in RIC subsidiaries are not subject to this diversification test so long as these subsidiaries qualify as RICs, our investments in CCU and MB would be subject to this test, and could impact requalification as a RIC.

The merger of Media into CCU in exchange for stock created a diversification issue as well, as it represents 12% of the Company’s RIC assets. The level of the investment will need to be monitored to ensure it remains within the diversification guidelines.

Additionally the Company’s investment in MB, while representing 22% of the Company’s total RIC assets at December 31, 2005, currently falls within the guidelines of the 25% test described above. However, as an anticipated future growth vehicle of the Company, the investment in MB will need to be monitored for continued compliance with the test.

Our past use of Arthur Andersen LLP as our independent auditors may pose risks to us and also limit your ability to seek potential recoveries from them related to their work.

Effective July 29, 2002, the Company dismissed its independent auditors, Arthur Andersen LLP (Andersen), in view of recent developments involving Andersen, at that time.

As a public company, we are required to file periodic financial statements with the SEC that have been audited or reviewed by an independent accountant. As our former independent auditors, Andersen provided a report on our consolidated financial statements as of and for each of the five fiscal years in the period ended December 31, 2001. SEC rules require us to obtain Andersen’s consent to the inclusion of its audit report in our public filings. However, Andersen was indicted and found guilty of federal obstruction of justice charges, and has informed the Company that it is no longer able to provide such consent as a result of the departure from Andersen of the former partner and manager responsible for the audit report. Under these circumstances, Rule 437A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, permits the Company to incorporate the audit report and the audited financial statements without obtaining the consent of Andersen.

The SEC has recently provided regulatory relief designed to allow public companies to dispense with the requirement that they file a consent of Andersen in certain circumstances. Notwithstanding this relief, the inability of Andersen to provide either its consent or customary assurance services to us now and in the future could negatively affect our ability to, among other things, access the public capital markets. Any delay or inability to access the public markets as a result of this situation could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We depend on cash flow from our subsidiaries to make dividend payments and other distributions to our shareholders.

We are primarily a holding company, and we derive most of our operating income and cash flow from our subsidiaries. As a result, we rely heavily upon distributions from our subsidiaries to generate the funds necessary to make dividend payments and other distributions to our shareholders. Funds are provided to us by our subsidiaries through dividends and payments on intercompany indebtedness, but there can be no assurance that our subsidiaries will be in a position to continue to make these dividend or debt payments. Furthermore, as a condition of its approval by its regulators, MB is precluded from making any dividend payments for its first three years of operations.

We operate in a highly regulated environment.

We are regulated by the SEC, the SBA, the FDIC, and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions. In addition, changes in the laws or regulations that govern BDCs, RICs, SBICs, or banks may significantly affect our business. Laws and regulations may be changed from time to time, and the interpretations of the relevant laws and regulations also are subject to change. Any change in the laws or regulations that govern our business could have a material impact on our operations.

Our use of brokered deposit sources for MB’s deposit-gathering activities may not be available when needed.

MB relies on the established brokered deposit market to originate deposits to fund its operations. While MB has developed contractual relationships with a diversified group of investment brokers, and the brokered deposit market is well-developed and utilized by many banking institutions, conditions could change that might affect the availability of deposits. If the capital levels at MB fall below the “well-capitalized” level, or if MB experiences a period of sustained operating losses, the cost of attracting deposits from the brokered deposit market could increase significantly, and the ability of MB to raise deposits from this source could be impaired. MB’s ability to manage its growth to stay within the “well-capitalized” level, and the capital level currently required by the FDIC during MB’s first three years of operation, which is also considerably higher than the level required to be classified as “well-capitalized”, is critical to MB’s retaining open access to this funding source.

Consumer lending is a new product line for us that carries a higher risk of loss and could be adversely affected by an economic downturn.

The acquisition of the consumer loan portfolio, and the subsequent commencement of lending operations in this line of business, represents an entry into a new lending market for the Company. Although the purchased portfolio was seasoned, and MB management has considerable experience in originating and managing consumer loans, there can be no assurances that these loans will perform at their historical levels as expected under MB’s management.

By its nature, lending to consumers that have blemishes on their credit reports carries with it a higher risk of loss. Although the net interest margins should be higher to compensate the Company for this increased risk, an economic downturn could result in higher loss rates and lower returns than expected, and could affect the profitability of the consumer loan portfolio.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMMENTS

None.


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