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One last important announcement . . .
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As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog and press release,
I’d like you to read the following release, issued just
a few minutes ago.

Happy April Fool’s Day from the MCC Family,




Mercantile Capital Corporation Retracts Earlier SBA 504 Announcement

“Just an April Fool’s Day Prank to Release Some Tension,” says CEO

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — Mercantile Capital Corporation (formerly known
as Mercantile Commercial Capital, LLC) has retracted an earlier story about
its new public-private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration
(SBA) and the U.S. Treasury. 

“Often times it’s better to laugh, than cry,” said Chris Hurn, Chief
Executive Officer of Mercantile Capital Corporation.  “There’s been so
much tension, anxiety and uncertainty over the past several months in the
financial services industry, that we played an innocent practical joke. 
This is the very first time we’ve ever fabricated something, and we would
never do so on any other date.”

There are several things Mercantile wishes to recant:
–  There have been no closed-door sessions with the Obama Administration
and Mercantile officials, nor has Mercantile paid the Treasury an “undisclosed
sum” of money for a portfolio purchase of SBA 504 loans or for naming rights
to the program.

–  To the best of Mercantile’s knowledge, Bear Stearns never originated
or held a portfolio of SBA 504 loans.

–  Lehman Brothers, while originating tens of millions of SBA 504 loans,
did not sell these assets to Mercantile, nor were Mercantile officials aware
of any of Lehman’s SBA 504 loans being considered “toxic.”

–  Mercantile is not in the business of assuming and/or servicing loan
portfolios – they only originate SBA 504 loans nationally, one small business
owner at a time.

–  The U.S. Government, the Treasury Department, nor the SBA have granted
any exclusivity or other “preferential status” to Mercantile in regard to being
the only private-sector lender making SBA 504 first mortgages, much to Mercantile
officials chagrin.

–  Mercantile does not have license to rename the SBA 504 loan program,
despite its re-positioning of the program as “The SmartChoice commercial loan”
over the past year.

–  Acting SBA Administrator Hairston and soon-to-be confirmed SBA
Administrator Mills have not been in contact with Mr. Hurn regarding a name
change for the SBA 504 loan program . . . but perhaps they should.

–  Messrs. Hurn and Longstaff did not travel to the G-20 Summit this
morning – in fact, Mr. Hurn traveled to Cleveland, a far cry from London.

–  While Messrs. Hurn and Longstaff would be happy to educate governmental
officials (both domestically and internationally) about small business growth
and small business wealth creation through smart commercial property ownership,
neither men have been contacted by the Administration to do so.

–  Dr. Lopo Flairs is a fictional Treasury spokesperson with a name that
is an anagram, spelling out “April Fool’s.”

“We hope this joke did not cause anyone too much heartburn.  Anyone who knows
us, knows that we take our work very seriously and believe we really are the
best at providing SBA 504 loans to America’s small business community . . . but
occasionally we like to be a little irreverent.  Life is much too short to
always be serious,” said Hurn.  

“If the Administration wants to seriously consider any of the provisions in
this morning’s press release to thaw-out the small business lending environment,
we would be happy to do our part,” said Geof Longstaff, Chairman of Mercantile.

Mercantile officials are reportedly working on giving all of the hundreds of
people who went out of their way to call in and/or email in to congratulate
them on their “fake” news some gift of appreciation for being such good sports.

SBA 504 loans offer small business owners up to 90 percent financing at
substantially reduced rates to develop, acquire, and remodel commercial
facilities.  Really, it’s true!
Mercantile Capital Corporation, formerly Mercantile Commercial Capital, LLC,
really does rank as the one of the most active providers of SBA 504 financing
in the nation and really has become quite well-known and decorated in their
industry with such honors as being a member of the Inc. 500 list of America’s
fastest-growing companies, being named “Banker of the Year,” and just last year,
being named “Best Small Company in Central Florida.”  Who else could have
pulled an April Fool’s stunt like this anyway?!?

* * *

For more information contact
Chris Hurn, CEO, Mercantile Capital Corporation, 407-786-5040
Geof Longstaff, Chairman, Mercantile Capital Corporation, 407-786-5040
Shannon D. Marks, President/COO, Mercantile Capital Corporation, 407-786-5040

Visit or for more information.


  1. Chuck Siple says:

    Great April Fools prank!!

    Had me hooked. With all the weirdness in todays business/political environment, it had some degree of believability. I think what got me rethinking it was the naming rights.

    Actually, I was starting to worry about you two and the G20 anarchists.

    I will get even with Geof.

  2. Randy Birchmier says:

    I guess we are all pretty desperate for “any” good news.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How funny;

    Had me fooled…lol

  4. Robert Filipiak says:

    The good humor is appreciated!

  5. Tim Simko says:

    That was good….

  6. Joe Tyler says:

    Good joke! We all need a good laugh once in a while 🙂

    I hope the protesters in London don’t beat the crap out of you for it!!

    Keep up the good work!

  7. STEVEN JARGO says:

    HA HA

  8. John Benz says:

    This is even better. Sucked me right in. See, I have been so impressed with you guys this was actually credible.

  9. Jim Dake says:

    That’s pretty cool. I actually read the first email real quick and thought you had hit a homerun.

  10. Linda Reilly says:

    I could tell even without the label that it was a prank.

    FYI – several CDCs contacted NADCO and even though we told them it was a prank, they were offended. It generated a lot of work for me, but hope you made a least a few people chuckle.

    Take care. See you in San Diego.

  11. Angela Shaw says:

    Thanks for giving me a good laugh – I needed it!

  12. Joseph Waites says:

    Ha ha Chris…..

  13. Pat Hogan says:


    I thought that sounded pretty unbelievable but what the hell do I know?

  14. William Burnside says:



  15. Bob Baker says:

    Nicely done!

  16. Richard Hissam says:

    You’re a hoot!

  17. Curt Roese says:

    Got me! Nothing sounded that outrageous except the “renaming the program” LOL. See, I am a Chris Hurn believer!

  18. Brian Walsh says:

    One more time…CONGRATULATIONS! ( on the practical joke)

  19. Bobby Broukhim says:

    That was good!

  20. Ron says:

    I believe the first message.

    This retracted message is the real April Fool’s joke.


  21. Thomas Harblin says:

    Holy disclaimer! You got me on that one!

  22. Kevin Kowalke says:

    That was hilarious! Nice work buddy.

  23. Chandra Shah says:

    Enjoyed your joke! Keep it up.

  24. Chris Hurn says:

    Thanks, Linda. It was only meant in fun.

  25. Charles Edwards says:

    I didn’t know how you did it, but I was convinced that if anyone could, it would be you.

    Good stick!

  26. Philip M. Falco says:

    Good one 🙂 I was ready to move to Florida..

  27. John Konevich says:

    Congrats on pulling off one of the best practical jokes I ever heard. You had me going to the point that I was scratching my head trying to figure out how Mercantile pullled off such a partnership. I was ready to pick up the phone and call some of my lender contacts and wish them my condolences!

    As you state in the retraction, it’s important that people take a breather from all the stress in the marketplace and laugh out loud (LOL) once in awhile. Maybe this will wake up the current adminstration and let them know we need to do more to help out small business in this time of economic turmoil.

    Whoever wrote your script should moonlight for a Hollywood studio. As you may or may not know Marc Turtletaub who ran the most successful SBA non-bank lender in the country (Money Store-SBA’s leading 7a (what’s with this name) lender for 16 consecutive years) produced Little Miss Sunshine in 2007 which won multiple awards including Alan Arkin for Best Supporting Actor. He was instrumental in elevating the SBA into one of the most successful private/public partnerships that this country has ever seen. Maybe we should ask Marc to step back into the program and turn the ship around.

    While I haven’t closed any loans with your firm, I am looking forward to the day that we can close one together.

    Thanks for making my April’s Fool Day a memorable one.

  28. Ivan says:

    Good one … We need some of that in our business life, you had me signing up right away.

  29. Ken Switzer says:

    I am disappointed you didn’t really pull this off. Perhaps some of your “fans” can talk this up?

  30. Jeff Vratanina says:

    I heard this was a April Fools joke… paybacks are hell! You got me…but I should have known better, but I thought maybe Geoff was a big Obama supporter or something! (_E=mc2_) I thought you were going to have (_$_), now I feel like a (_?_) !!

  31. Lisa Hollingshead says:

    Obviously you have more time on your hands then deals. That is not the case in California and that is no April Fool’s Joke.

    Enjoy your day!

  32. Don Sniegowski says:

    Janet received this from you and thinks that you want to have some fun. She sent it to me.

    Like you, Blue MauMau is having an April Franchise Fool’s Day, where our members are spoofing on just about everything.

    Do you want to participate in today’s soiree and post it under your name?

  33. George Pires says:

    Nice job.

    You had me.

  34. Dick says:

    Very well done- I suspected the same- especially since Lopo Flairs came out Lopo Flares and only was pointing to your PR site- reminds me of one I did in the ’80’s playing off the common confusion of “the rugs” with “drugs” if you dentalize your th’s – had the police keeping d’rugs in the cruiser to get through mud season, and little old ladies trying to beat d’rugs, especially orientals!
    all d best

  35. Doug McDermod says:

    Hope you attorneys are on standby…………..

  36. William says:

    That was a good one. You got me.

  37. Chris Hurn says:

    Lisa – – Actually quite the opposite is true — we have more dealflow than we’ve ever had… But a little levity was called for. Perhaps it’s time you try us, as we clearly are still lending and most others aren’t.

  38. Glenn Baker says:

    And in the spirit of April Fools’ day, I forwarded your Press Release to Treasury. The President and the Secretary would have been elated at your agreeing to join them.

  39. Janet Sparks says:

    Okay. I’m a little slow today. I passed this on to Don. I hope he runs it on BMM with the rest of the spoofs.

    Happy April Fools Day!!

  40. Bill Ardy says:

    Chris…yuk, yuk, yuk. A good one!

  41. Chad Lambert says:

    ….Good Work!!! You were the only one to get me today!! Happy April Fool’s Day… We owe you one!

  42. Kip Bennett says:

    I was going to recommend naming it the Lake Powell Loan…. o well.

    Good One!

  43. Donna Loader says:

    Wow, you have a wicked sense of humor (in a good way). – That was a fabulous idea, got me good. I, by the think it is a great idea and should be seriously considered by our federal government.

    Good one,
    Donna Loader

  44. Frank says:

    it was rather a let down ,but you are good

  45. Suzanne Shafer says:

    You still rock! What guts! I LOVE IT! Ok, now that your schedule isn’t as consumed as I thought it might be, let’s try getting that phone call on the books so you can help me not look like the fool I have been……come on, you know you want to help… although I can’t express in words how disappointed I am that the same idiots will be running the government programs…

    We aren’t as lame as Cleveland, but we would sure love to get you hooked in with a couple of groups in Indy!

  46. Rosina says:

    Hehehe, but I do not retract my congratulations!

  47. Chrystal Rauschkolb says:

    Nice April Fools joke today!

  48. Scott Wright says:

    I like your style.

    Happy April Fools Day!

  49. Howard Levine says:

    Good one! We all need a laugh during the slow march toward socialization of our lending institutions; automobile industry; and healthcare industry.

  50. Dean Biggs says:

    That was on hell of an April Fool. I thought after I’d replied yesterday that it might be but then when you posted the press release on the website I got duped back in again! After all Shearer really did become Newcastle Manager!

  51. Joel says:

    But I was under the impression that you guys are not a serious company.Some of my sources have told me that you guys received undisclosed bailout money and have taken lavish vacations with the girls from Sports Illustrated and Hooters.Is there where my tax payer money is going? If so please count me in ,because if you can’t beat joining them ain’t so bad.

  52. Arte Tedesco says:

    This was the best! You had me completely! I was even lamenting the fact that you guys weren’t bringing me to London to document the honor with a video. The only reason you were able to fool me was because you guys are, in fact, pretty impressive. So, I wasn’t really too surprised at the “news”. When I got the second press release, I had the best belly laugh I’ve had in a while. Thanks.

  53. David Gripman says:

    Chris: that was really a good joke!

  54. John Hart says:

    That was funny. I had several of my lenders calling in a panic saying what is the government doing, playing favorites with on lender. All in fun.

  55. Gary Miller says:

    You got me! Before I received your last disclaimer, I was preparing to send you a congratulatory e-mail (no doubt joining the several hundred that you had already received) regarding your announcement about the SBA. Well done! However, the fact that you all were able to actually do this and have your clients and customers think it was legitimate simply demonstrates how successful you’ve been in the marketplace and how significant your presence really is and, for that, you really do deserve congratulations. Keep up the good work. In an otherwise gloomy economy, your story is a bit of optimism and encouragement for everyone. Hope all else is going well. Take care and I’ll talk with you soon.

  56. Kathleen Howard says:

    For the record, we think it was funny . . .

  57. Joe Welnack says:

    Maybe General Motors could issue a press release like this maybe causing a few heart attacks about filing for BK. On the face of it, I read it and knew it was B.S. Not funny. Glad I didn’t waste much of my time downloading this missive and fishing it out of my SPAM folder.

  58. Carol Ward says:

    Thanks for the response. I bet you got a lot of flak on the April Fool’s Day joke. Must be a fun, relaxed place to work.

    One comment – the joke was too believable, considering the status of the economy and speed at which Obama is moving. I figured ya’ll would be the next RTC. This is from someone who worked at two CDCs (one of which I set up), set up the first 7a Credit Union Business Lending Department in the State of LA, worked for two banks, one of which was Hibernia and is now Capital One, and a non-bank lender which used NMTCs.

    You really got Alberto Queral, JEDCO. I passed it on to my boss with the comment that the fees that were reduced/eliminated had to be made up somewhere!

  59. Michael Cipollaro says:

    Hi Chris,
    unfortunately, the text could not be opened – and I don’t think it was a follow-on to your April’s Fool prank. Yes, I was incredulous but swallowed hard and said ” wow, did Chris pull one off !” It fell in the category of anything’s possible without a thought to the date. I am not surprised so many fell for it – you might have made it a bit more outrageous, although the invite to the G20 should have been the giveaway.
    Well, good job Chris.

  60. Diane Roehrig says:

    I just read your email rescinding the announcement. Rats! I wanted it to be true.
    Does it give you any ideas. SBA still doesn’t know how to run this program. They can’t market it, and they can’t quit trying to micro-manage the lending partners. There is still an SBA contingent that hates the program.
    Hopefully, Karen Mills will make some changes, but her power is limited by the system.
    Maybe the joke has given you some ideas? As a thirty year follower of Dan, it has given me some.

  61. Howard Levine says:

    Seems like you’re doing a disproportionate amount of apologizing. $%#/@% them if they can’t take a joke!

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