Jay Bhakta, a senior loan originator at the ValueXpress Jackson, MS office, has lived in Jackson, MS for over 20 years. During that time he has become a well-known financier to the Asian-American community, having financed numerous hotels, gas stations and fast food/convenience stores in the past ten years. The market slowed during the economic crisis, but more important, Jay noticed that Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, his bread and butter states, were slow to recover.
So a couple of weeks ago, Jay called me. “Mike, I am going on the road, just like the old days,” he said.
I remembered the old days when Jay often hopped in a car or jumped on a plane to meet clients personally. Not that Jay had stopped doing that; it was just not working as well. So I asked Jay where he was going.
“I got a call from my Uncle Raj,” said Jay. “He says he’s hitting the cover off the ball in Corpus Christi, TX. I am stopping in Houston to see Ajay as well.”
“Huh,” I said to myself. I wondered what was going on.
“Mike, it’s oil and gas,” Jay explained. “With increased domestic drilling for oil and gas, transient lodging is needed all over the place, and Texas is a major beneficiary.”
Needless to say, Jay’s trip is yielding results. We have more than ten hotel deals with term sheets out to borrowers. One borrower just keeps adding more properties — currently four with a loan total over $25 million, including the highest performing Staybridge in the state of Texas.
Jay…please stay on the road!