Meriwether Group Capital Launches as New Commercial Lender in Pacific Northwest

Meriwether Group Capital launched as a new company that will make commercial loans available to businesses that fall outside the criteria required by traditional lenders. Through its “Hero Fund,” Meriwether Group Capital will focus on small to mid-sized companies that meet the fund’s revenue qualifications and financial needs.

The new lender will operate in partnership with Meriwether Group, a 20-year-old firm in Portland, OR, that provides advisory services and has worked with companies like Voodoo Doughnuts, Dave’s Killer Bread, Stumptown Coffee and Alpenrose Dairy. Seattle-based First Fed Bank, a division of First Northwest Bancorp, is also partnering with the new firm.

With a focus on spurring entrepreneurship, Meriwether Group Capital will capitalize its “Hero Fund” through qualified individual and institutional investors. The company will serve a range of industries by expanding access to debt financing and will help entrepreneurs realize their potential while maintaining equity and control, rather than selling an ownership stake. The “Hero Fund” is expected to serve companies with $2 million to $75 million in revenue that are in need of $500,000 to $5 million to capitalize on business opportunities.

“Businesses have three ways to fund growth — cash flow, selling ownership or debt. The best businesses find the right blend of all three,” David Howitt, founder and CEO of Meriwether Group, said. “The opportunity to help businesses scale, hire more people and build community while at the same time providing well above market interest to our investors makes the Hero Fund an important offering.”
Jamie Shulman and Mike Ferguson, who both have more than 20 years of commercial banking experience, will lead Meriwether Group Capital as owners and operators.

Shulman is a banking veteran with more than 25 years of experience in lending, management, mentorship and strategic planning, most recently as Portland, OR, market president for Summit Bank. In addition to Summit, Shulman has held senior executive roles at Northwest Bank, BBVA and U.S. Bank.

“I have seen countless companies walk out the door with a need and a strong business case for borrowing alongside a clear path to satisfying the debt that are just outside that institution’s mandate for lending,” Shulman, who will serve as fund manager at Meriwether Group Capital, said. “We know that there is an underserved niche with demand for the lending we offer, along with a great deal of investor interest. At a time when entrepreneurship is more accessible than ever before, we want to be in a position to fill a need, help foster small businesses and be an economic driver for the Pacific Northwest and beyond.”

Ferguson has 20 years of commercial lending and management experience in banking and private lending, most recently as chief lending officer at Lewis & Clark Bank. In previous roles with Lewis & Clark Bank, Northwest Bank and elsewhere, Ferguson developed commercial deal flow, underwrote and structured commercial credit products and managed both credit and loan operations teams.

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