"Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life" - William Faulkner
Though Faulkner wrote these words close to a century ago, their meaning is uncannily prescient during this pandemic. COVID has permeated almost every aspect of our existence, and one of the primary methods we have used to measure this pandemic is time. The passage of time and our relationship to it has been a central theme of the past six months. The length of our COVID hair or beard; our musings about when a vaccine might arrive; and the questions surrounding when we might return to our offices have all been thought about in the context of the passage of time. It is almost as if much of our life has been experienced through a forward-looking lens.
The capital markets are no different. For lenders, the last six months have been a meditation on what is to come. Pricing matrices, underwriting strategies, and structural considerations have all been adjusted to account for an unclear future.
The concept of the now or the present is the key tenet in Faulkner’s quote. In order to anticipate or plan for what the future holds, our understanding of the present is critical. Against the backdrop of middle market lending, this JCR issue explores how our industry has successfully adapted to this new reality and takes stock of its future.
Bradley Kastner and David Ding of MidCap Financial Services discuss COVID’s impact on the lending community. Their article provides an overview of middle market lending and how certain industries have fared in this pandemic. In his article, Robert Orzechowski of PNC discusses how origination, a critical part of middle market lending, has adapted amidst social distancing measures.
As we continue to grapple with doing business in this new environment, our adoption and use of technology has become increasingly important. David Tiffany of CR3 Partners writes on how crisis managers have successfully used technology in their work with lenders and their troubled assets. Thomas Pitta of Emmet Marvin discusses the rise of virtual hearings and their benefit for middle market companies filing for bankruptcy.
For lower middle market companies struggling amidst the pandemic, a bankruptcy filing may be the only viable option to a lender has to restructure its debt. Heidi Sorvino and Amy Vulpio of White and Williams offer their insights on the new Chapter V small business bankruptcy and its benefits and pitfalls for lenders. In his article, Edward Sanz, CTP, of ABTV offers practical advice on how CROs can work with lower middle market companies and their lenders during these challenging times.
If Faulkner were with us today and traded his novels for term sheets, he would be satisfied with the direction our industry is headed. After the initial shock of the pandemic, we stopped the clock, thought deeply about our present, and implemented a good plan to ensure the continued success of our industry