Is the Tim Hortons takeover primarily a designed to fail, pump-and-dump, engineered financial product?

February 8, 2015

Canada has a well-earned, international reputation for franchise investors.

Tim Hortos one share

Image by John Fewings

Mom-and-pop Tim Hortons franchisee investments:

  1. $1.8-Billion of current CDN franchisee cash flow is removed from +1,000 Canadian family’s life savings, and
  2. replaced by a government guaranteed “liar loan” program (moral hazard) which will be the debt trap for the next-generation of CDN immigrant Tim Hortons franchisees?

see William K. Black and an criminogenic environment,

Weak Ontario franchise law + lapdog CDN insolvency law + predatory franchise lendingCanadian securities regulation weakest link into North American capital markets

Why is Lick’s Homeburgers & Ice Cream being killed off by its franchisor?

June 29, 2013

What franchisor sends this message to the retail market?

Licks valued customer

Is it in acting in bad faith by destroying all existing Lick’s franchisees’ equity?

  • Who would buy any of these outlets?


Media coverage:

The franchise bar, with perfect foreknowledge, will take what is left of their money in what will be (in the end) a hopelessly futile attempt at legal justice in Ontario. Talk to your premier and your small business loan provider not your a franchise lawyer.

Liar Loans deals: business brokers and specialized franchise bankers

September 27, 2012

The lie in the government guaranteed loan: inflated future sales and 6 times value on assets (leasehold and equipment).

Predatory franchise lending program

  1. An unsophisticated CDN buyer is steered by the broker to a specific Schedule 1 banker who can “make the deal happen”.
  2. Industry Canada application form/logo used as bait, as credibility.
  3. Loan paperwork is only ever seen by government auditors IF a claim is made.
  4. Liar loans are never claimed as a loss to Industry Canada (above 3% interest, admin fees, $ above real value more than make up for reckless underwriting).
  5. Deal is papered within 24 hours including compliant appraisal.
  6. Bank’s money in; franchisee’s money in.
  7. Money out of franchisee’s current account: a. to franchisor who pays broker and b. bank’s own treasury.
  8. Sales never show up. Value of franchise on a cash flow basis is negative. Franchisees subsidize and burn through rest of life savings.
  9. Franchisor manages the inevitable business collapse.
  10. Bank’s receiver sells assets at 15% of previous value within 18 months to franchisor.
  11. Consortium repeats steps (go to 1).

Opportunity Knocks and Liars’ Loans: required reading to understand modern franchising

September 1, 2012

John Lorinc wrote the book on franchising from a franchisee’s investor viewpoint.

I’m glad to see it is still available to buy online and is in many Canadian libraries.

The hidden banking side is revealed in Chapter 4, The 90% Solution: Franchise Economics, some of which I excerpted in a post.

What did the business press have to say about Lorinc’s work?:

  1. National PostOpportunity Knocks: The Truth about Canada’s Franchise Industry, is an impressively researched look at the myriad of franchises that mushroomed across the country in the past decade. An award-winning magazine journalist, Lorinc has produced an engaging account that charts both the spectacular successes of some franchisers and the utter failure of some franchisees. How franchises seduce those with the most to lose, Jennifer Lanthier, November 2, 1997
  2. Globe and Mail: At its worst, Lorinc says, franchising is a haven for the unscrupulous who prey on the unwary – typically recent immigrants willing to labour long hours in dreary businesses, unaware that those operations have little chance of prospering – using them as pawns in a shadowy real estate game. Rather than reflecting an insatiable consumer demand, he inquires acidly, is it possible that all those new doughnut shops may reflect a quiet understanding between landlords and franchisors that the best way to fill fallow commercial property is to sell franchises to credulous investors? Franchise book of interest to anyone who pays taxes, Ann Finlayson, November 1, 1997

Finlayson strikes a cautionary note, specifically about the hinted at misuse of the Canada Small Business Financing programCSBFP:

Does all this matter to you? Yes, it does. In 1993, in the wake of vigorous complaints by small-business owners that Canadian banks were reluctant to finance them, Ottawa raised the ceiling on loans guaranteed by the Small Business Loans Administration to $250,000 and its guarantee rate from 85 per cent to 90 per cent, sparking a bank lending rush to franchisees and shifting the risk of franchise investments onto taxpayers’ (your) shoulders.

The Risk: Only a fraction of the Liars’ Loans are ever claimed by the banks, thereby grossly understating Industry Canada’s default statistics (Franchised v. Non-Franchised loan performance). The franchisee thinks he signed a government-backed loan but it never gets registered as such. As their bankruptcy, loss of life savings, marital and family breakdown escalate over the life of their 12 to 18 month franchise career, the franchisee NEVER looks to Box 9 of the CSBFP loan application form (Projected Sales ) as the source of their trouble; where the lie is put into the “Liars’ Loan”. The proceeds of these engineered-to-fail loans is split upfront by the franchise banker with the bank, banker, franchisor and sales agent. If questioned, the bank shreds the paperwork and waits for the lawsuit.

And, seriously, how many of these Immigrants as prey losers could or would ever sue a Schedule 1 chartered bank?

The Return: Smashing quarterly earnings goals, record profits, high turnover in the small business division of each of the banks, and making franchise lending the most lucrative form of commercial lending in Canada. Private gain/public loss enabled by a criminogenic environment, moral hazard, regulatory capture…

Lorinc carefully mentions the “windfall profits” in this arrangement of churning:

What’s more, some banks and franchisors have put the SBLA program [predecessor government guaranteed loan program] to questionable use during foreclosure actions against franchisees, says one former owner who has been through the process. When a bank calls a loan against a non-performing franchisee, the 90% guarantee effectively relieves the bank’s receiver from trying to get the best possible value while disposing of the owner’s assets. With most of the loan covered by the Canadian taxpayer, the assets – fixtures, kitchen equipment, inventory, etc. – can be sold quickly at a deep discount, possibly below market value. This allows the franchisor too step in and buy back the property at better-than-firesale prices, thus generating windfall profit when the store is later re-sold to another franchisee.

An important work that, depressingly, is as relevant in 2012 as it was in 1995.


Disclosure: My lol pecuniary interest here and here. Cross posted on

TD Bank and franchisor sued over lending practices involving U.S. guaranteed small business loans

August 10, 2012

From Shane D. Gosdis at the, on December 8, 2011 (Franchisees Sue Matco Tools and TD Bank Alleging Loan Fraud Scheme):

The plaintiffs allege that Matco Tools and TD Bank “in a loan fraud scheme to encourage unsophisticated borrowers to enter into risky business loans to buy Matco Tools franchises.”  According to the plaintiffs, the “scheme enabled Matco to sell more franchises and TD Bank to make risky loans without concern” because the “bank knew if the loans failed, the loans would ultimately be repaid by the United States taxpayers through the SBA guaranteed loan program.”

Copy of Verified Complaint and Jury Demand (download, 24 page pdf)

Moving attorney estimates a class action suit involving “between 150-to-200 plaintiffs” stretching back until at least 2004.

Other coverage:

Cross-posted on

Could franchise bankers also act as gangsters?

July 10, 2012

Are Canadian franchise bankers capable of engaging in “cartel-style anticompetitive corruption” in their $100-billion sales per year marketplace?

Every current or former Canadian franchisee who has had a Canada Small Business Financing loan may want to ask themselves some questions. My posts at (specifically: Banker “everybody is doing it” corruption admitted in the LIBOR scandal) might help frame your thoughts.

Without the Canada Small Business Financing program, many fewer deadbeat franchises would have been sold in the last 20 years.

Industry Canada asked me to jot down my concerns a few years ago.

Franchising Opportunism, a 20 page non-technical paper,  was the result.

My project work in franchising

April 28, 2011

There was no map or rule book in testing the limits of the industry.

By nature, these were all unreasonable actions from the conventional viewpoint.

To me, they were just taking one step ahead of the other.

Not bad.

[At Play]


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