Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Tabach-Bank.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a third-generation pawnbroker; my grandfather, Louis Zimmelman, founded the first of three high-end financial institutions, Beverly Loan Company, in Beverly Hills, California in 1938. Along with my partners, I own Beverly Loan Company in Beverly Hills, New York Loan Company in New York City, and most recently, Chicago Loan Company in downtown Chicago, which collectively constitute “The Loan Companies”.
The Loan Companies specialize in large, confidential, non-recourse loans against all types of luxury collateral, but we primarily work with jewelry, diamonds, watches, and fine art. Each location is on an upper floor in an office building to ensure complete discretion, and all loans officers are experts in their field with vast experience in pawn lending.
As CEO, I am responsible for every facet of the business. The buck stops here. While I run rather low volume shops, the average loan amount is significant and the collateral is often complicated. When a pink diamond or Jean-Michel Basquiat painting comes in, my immediate attention is required.
In addition to my role as the owner and chief executive officer, I am a member of the State Bar of California, and sit on the Board of Directors of the National Pawnbrokers Association, as well as two charities dedicated to underserved families and cancer research.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Running businesses 3,000 miles apart is certainly a challenge, but we are managing it very well. As an absentee owner to some extent, I have faced my fair share of growing pains, but by now we are a well-oiled machine with many frequent flier miles. Our proficiency in operating from a great distance has also allowed us to service our customers on a national level. If a Chicago Loan Company client is traveling on the west coast or east coast, we have local options available to provide them with a quick and easy loan. Alternatively, if a client needs a special diamond, chances are one of our locations will have just the right stone. And, of course, The Loan Companies is looking to expand our brand to other major markets and seize new opportunities for growth.
A bit of good fortune came with opening Chicago Loan Company. Previously, Midwesterners were flying to Beverly Hills or New York to take advantage of our luxury lending services. The purchase of Chicago Loan Company, formerly T.N. Donnelly, allowed us to not only expand our brand, but also permitted us to bring our exclusive business offerings and expertise to the wonderful people of Chicago. I feel extremely privileged to have acquired T.N. Donnelly, America’s oldest pawnshop, as they are another strong family-owned business with an excellent reputation and fascinating history.
Please tell us about Chicago Loan Company.
Many shops lend against diamonds, gold jewelry and fine watches, but not many hire GIA-trained graduate gemologists who have the expertise to authenticate and value even the most complicated collateral. Unlike other pawnshops, we also have the unique ability to purchase and provide loans against auction-worthy contemporary art, luxury handbags and one-of-a-kind entertainment and sports memorabilia.
Another exciting aspect to our business is that there is virtually no limit to the amount we can lend, as we have been fortunate enough to secure strong banking relationships. We are entrepreneurial, quick to act and exceedingly discreet. How many pawnbrokers can say they have made a six-figure loan against cases of Domaine de la Romanée Conti (arguably the world’s finest wine) or a seven-figure loan on a red diamond?
Despite our three locations in three different time zones, the offices are extremely collaborative. We have created a business with superior customer service and confidentiality – something not many businesses in the industry can boast. No matter the customer who walks in, no matter the collateral, we treat every loan, every sale and every purchase with the utmost professionalism, and we never name names!
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Like so many pawnshops, ours is a family business. My grandfather taught my mother the ropes and she taught me. I have very fond memories of working at Beverly Loan as a child and young adult. I started off as a gopher and worked my way up to sales and eventually to a loan officer position when I graduated from college. I really believe that I learned from the best in the industry and I was lucky to have an extremely solid foundation to build upon. I also believe that I have been successful in imparting my lifetime of knowledge to my loan officers. I am very proud of my team, and while I may be a bit biased, I would put them up against any other pawn staff in the country.
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