Changing Careers from Commercial Lending to Private Equity
An interview with Brian Hoblit, Vice President of CVF Capital Partners
Changing careers is no easy feat, particularly for those who have spent years in one field. When it comes to commercial lending, it is a career that people spend years in and build relationships with clients, making transitioning to another industry challenging.
After serving for nearly a decade in commercial lending, Brian Hoblit decided to transition his career into private equity at CVF Capital Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Northern California, where he has been vice president for more than two years.
Shortly after joining CVF, Hoblit was taken aback by how differently private equity and commercial lending operate. Though they both entail providing capital to help businesses achieve their objectives, there is significantly different risk tolerance in private equity.
“It was more challenging than I anticipated,” he recently told me in a Zoom interview. “I kind of naively thought that private equity and commercial lending were first cousins, and they’re probably more like second or third cousins.”
He went on to explain that in comparison with commercial lending, private equity poses a greater degree of risk tolerance.
“While in senior lending, the return on assets is about 1%, it’s significantly higher than that in private equity. So you do take more risks. And you really only have one way to get paid back, and that’s through cash flow and then ultimately through an exit,” he said.
Hoblit holds an MBA in finance from UC Davis and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Rice University. Before joining CVF Capital Partners two years ago, Hoblit was the chief financial officer (CFO) of Valley Farm Transport.
He added that there are structural differences in the way private equity and commercial lending operate that one must learn on the job.
“There’s not really a textbook that you can go by,” he said. “What does this structure look like versus that structure? It’s really learning by doing, and I have some great colleagues here at CVF. And everyone is able to teach and help mentor you as you’re working through the learning curve,” he added.
“The other difference is the depths in which you get to work with your prospects and portfolio companies and the ability to provide value is much greater. For instance, I am the company representative to our captive insurance group, an opportunity I would not have had in commercial lending. The ability to impact change is so great and I am thankful for having made the move to private equity and CVF Capital Partners, in particular.”
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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect