January 21, 2015
Best Practices: Affiliation Determinations and Franchise Agreements
by Jennifer Borra
Second, if an affiliate’s franchise agreement is not approved on the SBA Franchise Registry, then the lender must conduct an affiliation analysis of the agreement. If the lender has PLP status or other delegated authority, it may submit affiliate franchise agreements for SBA’s affiliation review to theDelegatedFranchiseReviews@sba.gov mailbox. Alternatively, PLP lenders may also conduct such affiliation analyses on their own.
Third, as with franchise affiliation reviews for the applicant, if SBA or Lender determines that affiliation exists between a franchisor and affiliate, Lenders must “fix” the agreement in question to modify the offending provisions and make the agreement eligible under SBA affiliation rules. In practical terms, this requirement is a daunting task for Lenders and small business applicants. The affiliates are not beneficiaries of the SBA loan; however, they are required to modify their contracts to comply with SBA’s requirements. Oftentimes, applicants are able to work with their affiliates’ franchisor/licensor to modify the terms of the agreements solely for the duration of the SBA loan term. However, if the parties are unable to modify affiliate agreements, lenders must take the size of the franchisor/licensor into account when determining whether the applicant, together with affiliates, meet SBA’s size requirements.
Affiliation determinations are complex, subjective and represent a growing area of uncertainty for SBA lenders. When analyzing affiliates, lenders must take care to ensure they also evaluate all franchise/license/dealer agreements of the affiliate in determining whether control exists and whether size standards are in jeopardy.
For more information regarding affiliation analysis of franchise agreements, please contact Jennifer at 267-470-1206 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.