Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Live Oak Bank

Live Oak Bank gained FDIC approval in May of 2008 as a bank dealing primarily with Veterinary Practice financing. The company's founders each had over 20 years of experience in providing innovative and cost-effective financing for veterinarians. Live Oak Bank believes in providing an accurate and comprehensive proposal to the financing needs of the veterinary profession in an extremely responsive fashion. Live Oak provides both conventional financing and SBA enhanced loans nationwide. Live Oak has branches in four states, but only one per state and they are not traditional branches. No tellers, ATMs, checking accounts, or credit card options exist at Live Oak. Live Oak simply funds acquisitions, construction, start-ups, and refinancing for animal hospitals.

Headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, Live Oak attracts its customers through Veterinary trade shows and Veterinary Clinic brokers. Veterinarians must complete required continuing education credits annually. These conferences provide the platform which Live Oak can introduce itself to veterinarians looking for a bank willing to finance their clinics. Educating the vet industry also serves as a basis for Live Oak's long term marketing. Live Oak has spoken at 20 of the 28 veterinary schools on the topic of practice ownership. Being a niche bank with a narrow focus, Live Oak can invest on students 5 years or more from a loan, knowing that 1 or 2 average deals will pay for the time and money spent. It also displays a willingness to put aside immediate ROI in lieu of reputation in the one industry they target.

Two and a half years into their existence, most of which has occurred in the wake of the crashed economy, Live Oak has thrived. The bank has over 375 loans and 400 million in closed loans and the UNCW Entrepreneur Center has been there from the start. The Wilmington Entrepreneur center and UNCW has actually provided Live Oak with its first employee outside of the founders. At least once a year Live Oak heads to UNCW looking for an intern, a bright you individual, or an idea that may serve the mission of a bank that is far from traditional.

View Company Website: Live Oak Bank