Illinois’ oldest pawnshop, and perhaps the nation’s, has been acquired by a Beverly Hills, Calif., pawnbroker looking to broaden its clientele.
Loan Cos. bought T.N. Donnelly, which dates to 1881, renaming it Chicago Loan. Terms and revenue were not disclosed.
Donnelly started out on Dearborn, moved to the Jewelers Building at 5 N. Wabash in 1964 and then to 29 E. Madison in 2002. At the time of the sale in June, the business was owned and run by Joseph Brooks, great-great-grandson of T.N. Donnelly.
Loan Cos., which is 90 percent finished with a remodeling of the 12th-floor premises at 29 E. Madison St., says it’s able to offer expertise in dealing with expensive, unique collateral.
“When a client from Chicago previously wanted a discreet non-recourse six- or seven-figure loan against a collection of Pateks Philippe’s art work, a GIA certified diamond, or a Basquiat painting, it required travel to our sister locations in Beverly Hills or New York,” Chicago Loan CEO Jordan Tabach-Bank said in an email. He also is majority owner and CEO of Beverly Hills Loan and New York Loan in Manhattan.
Tabach-Bank said local zoning regulations discourage new pawnshops, which led him to opt for an acquisition.
The businesses make four-month loans of $100 to seven figures, up to 70 percent of collateral value, and charge 5 percent interest per month, he says. They also buy items, encouraging that if a customer needs cash for a long period.
Contrary to the image of pawnshops as lenders of last resort, the business appeals as well to investors and companies seeking instant cash, according to Tabach-Bank, 39, whose grandfather founded Beverly Loan in 1938.
“We are the loan committee,” he says. “The collateral speaks for itself. We don’t do credit checks.”
Besides customers hocking diamonds, jewelry and watches, the firm targets owners of fine art and other expensive assets.
Tabach-Bank says he’s sought out owners at industry meetings of pawnshops in business longer than Donnelly’s 136 years and hasn’t found one yet.