Alex and Julie Tischuk of Tipton were seeking a way to refinance and remodel their three Hardee's restaurants.
"We had to upgrade our facilities with remodels, and the bank we'd used in the past wasn't interested in refinancing and advancing any more on the loans we had, so we had pursued many avenues," Alex Tischuk recalled.
The Tischuks then turned to a website, BoeFly.com, that matches borrowers with lenders. A bank official telephoned within a few day.
"We ended up getting financing through a bank out in St. Cloud, Minn., Stearns Bank," Tischuk recalled.
They ultimately received a $1.6 million loan from the Minnesota bank, which enabled them to remodel their restaurants at 601 Cedar St. in Tipton, 118 W. Highway 30 in Toledo and 1307 Ninth St. SE in Dyersville at the end of 2012.
"We view our service not unlike a dating site in which users pay to build a profile, not charging more when they have a really successful date," said Mike Rozman, New York-based BoeFly's co-president.
BoeFly makes its money by charging user fees to participants and through annual membership payments made by corporate franchisors — anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 — Rozman said. The borrower also pays a one-time fee.
Hardee's is one of more than 125 franchisors that have used the platform to help assist franchisees in securing bank financing.
The senior vice president of Ohnward Bank & Trust in Marion said while he has not worked with anything like BoeFly on the commercial basis, he sees the merit in such a site.
"Just off the top of my head, I think that it might be a good idea," said Gary Peterson. "I can see an advantage from the customers' standpoint because they're able to contact several banks and find out what's the interest in basic terms and then they can narrow that search down and then can go visit with individual banks, rather than starting out and just traveling around the countryside talking to bankers."
Peterson said the technology also posed an advantage."Certainly with younger people, they're more at home talking and doing it on the computer than doing it face to face," he said.