Loans from Apples

Lesson 9 – How to Raise Money Abroad

“Loans are easy to attain if you can turn apples into cash”, I thought.

One of the first loans deal I helped organize was for a farmer who specialized in growing apples. He was a brilliant man and knew that the best apples in the world were grown in the Columbia River Valley. He was also a botanist who understood why the apples grew so well there.

As a farmer and businessman, he also understood that orchards in the Columbia River Valley were expensive. He had the brilliant idea to look for land that duplicated the conditions of the Columbia River Valley, but where prices were much lower. He found it in Arizona high up on some hills. He bought thousands of acres and set up an orchard. The apples grew well and he discovered they ripened earlier than Columbia River ones.

It did not take him long to realize that he was hundreds of miles closer to the major California markets so he could get his apples there cheaper and earlier. This farmer was doing fine but needed loans of about a million dollars to expand his operation. Such loans though were too unusual for local banks. Bankers in the Pacific Northwest knew about loans for apples, but not in Arizona. “Loans for what”, they asked.

The loans presentation we developed was one that became a standard for many other loans I helped put organize. It contained a simple four page introductory brochure describing the need for and opportunity from the loans. This was made from one piece of paper, folded once. Then a separate in-depth prospectus or offering circular that covered all the facts and figures of the loans was also created. The idea was that the simple brochure would provide all the key facts about the loans and was designed to excite the prospective lender enough to get them into the deal, or to excite enough curiosity to get those who could make loans to look at the offering circular which would answer any questions the lender might have concerning the loans.

After giving the loans considerable thought, I decided that what had to be sold first instead of loans was-APPLES! And so the brochure described apples, not the loans. I recognized that private lenders who could make loans did not understand how apple growers made money. They needed this knowledge before they could have confidence in the deal and make the loans.

Second we again ignored the loans and sold the man. This farmer was famous as far as apples go and had considerable experience and a reputation in this industry. We used his background to develop confidence in the loans.

We started our marketing for the loans by placing advertisements in Hong Kong newspapers (this was where I lived at that time) with a headline “Make a fortune from loans and apples while enjoying the safety of real estate”.

We knew that Hong Kong investors liked real estate and had set up the deal so that the loans were guaranteed by the real estate of the orchard.

We created a substantial interest and sent a batch of investors from Hong Kong to meet the apple grower and to see his orchard and talk about the loans. The deal failed, as far as I know, because I talked to lots of potential investors for the loans. Many answered the advertisement and we put them in touch with the farmer, but we never heard from him nor saw that commission that would have been due if the loans had been raised.

This failure is important for several reasons. I spent considerable time and money to get these loans but to little avail, except I gained important knowledge from the effort. I believe the loans were made. I see the farers apples in the stores to this day. An entire variety is named after him. The brochure about the loans looked good and clearly explained why apples would be profitable. The market was right. This was the early 1970’s in Hong Kong and there were many wealthy investors there who wanted to put money into real estate and/or land related deals in the U.S.

There were also plenty of inquiries about the loans. I was living in Hong Kong at the time and I visited them all personally.

Here is why I think I was not informed about the loans and what I would do today if I were doing the same loans deal.

First, I cannot totally dismiss the possibility that the loans were made, and that the farmer just didn’t tell me. I originally didn’t keep control of such loans I put together until I found one where I knew for sure the loans had been made and I had not been informed.

From that time forward, I always set up vehicles for collecting the money and kept control over these loans. But in this case I was new in the business and thus give the farmer the benefit of any doubt.

The first lesson then is keep tight control over every aspect of the loans process, including the account where the loans will go. Set up an intermediary company between the borrower and the lender and keep record of each of the loans payments to the borrower and watch how the money is spent (to make sure it is used as requested).

We were looking for just one or two loans and a few of the potential investors I interviewed had the kind of money to make all the loans.

We were not specific enough about the loans. We sort of said here is a great way to make money, do you want to make some loans, buy some equity or what? The offer lacked a clearly defined way for the investor to make loans. We needed to project exactly what the loans should have been and when they might have been made.

In retrospect, I would have organized two offers, one equity and the other loans secured by the property. I would set up a Hong Kong finance company to collect the loans and would have had that company make the loans to the farmer in Arizona. The use of the Hong Kong company would have given both the Chinese investors and the farmer tax benefits in those days.

This second lesson gain was to offer specific deals. In other words ask for loans of specific amounts of money. Offer a specific interest rate on the loans or percentage of equity and set out clearly the defined collateral for the loans and explain exactly how and where the proceeds of the loans will be used.

Third if I were doing this today, I would look for large enough lenders or investors where I could fly those interested in the project to Arizona so they could take a look before committing their money. I would offer to pay for their flight if they provided the loans.

This makes it more likely that they will invest or make the loans.

The final step I would take today would be to improve the power of the reputation of the farmer. He really was a celebrity in the world of agronomics and apples, but in Hong Kong, who knows anything about apples?

I would first, find an accounting or law firm in Hong Kong that could vouch for the accountant of the apple farmer or even have a well known Hong Kong firm or affiliate of a well known Hong Kong firm audit the farmer’s books, even if the audit was very limited. This would energize the potential for the loans.

Also, I would fly three or four prominent citizens of Hong Kong (or wherever I was looking for the loans) to the orchard, show them around and give them some equity or give a special deal to get them involved so that could have refer others who might help complete the investment or loans. These centers of influence would be of particular value in a country where investors are suspicious.

Overcoming suspicion is one of the key factors in raising money and getting loans. Learning this fact helped lead me to success in getting loans for other deals. I hope this knowledge helps you learn how to raise money abroad through investments and loans as well.

See more on how to have your own overseas internet business.


International business and investments can enhance profits. We have proven this by sharing ideas on global investing for over 41 years.

Here I am conducting a weekend International Business and investing Course. Just then I was talking about how to have a real global business importing roses (and showing samples just brought in from Ecuador ).


This particular day we invited everyone up to our home. It was crowded but the delegates loved it!

As you can see we are pretty casual at our courses. This may be different than most but this is what we try to share…ways to be different for fun and profit.


I conduct most of our International Investing and business seminar along with Thomas Fischer from Jyske Bank. We cover global economies, markets and currencies.  Here is Thomas speaking to the group.


Plus we talk about exports. Merri started in the export business, bring products from Italy Germany and Mexico.

One day during our seminar we have lunch for afternoon tea at our house.   Here is a group lounging on our front porch In North Carolina.  Delegates were enjoying a great end to a  summer day in the Blue Ridge. One of our horses decided to join in.


Our Appaloosa “Lucy” listens in (or does she want an apple?).


“Blaze” and “Harriet” join the course as well.

We share a lot about international investments and global business over three days.  Delegates love this course and return again and again. I know one in the group was attentive. Ma, our pumpkin patch hound. Now you can see why dogs are called man’s best friend.


Here are what a few of the delegates shared

“Thank you for a wonderful experience. The whole package was great: the informative, stimulating, life-affirming conference that opened our minds to global possibilities; the luscious, natural, wholesome, lovingly-made food that nourished us with God-given energy; the crisp, prana-filled, tree-fed mountain air that reminded us that it is a pleasure to breathe in and connect to our earth, to ourselves; and last but not least, your hospitality. Thank you.”

“Dear Gary and Merri: Please receive my most heartfelt thank you for the wonderful time I spent in NC. The countryside is picture perfect and your farm is an idyllic retreat, with pine tree forests, streams, a lagoon, and the horses and geese to wrap it up. The group was wonderful and very warm to our projects. It couldn’t have gone better. Your friend

”Thank you very much for your kindness and generosity. I really enjoyed to be there.  Your conference was excellent. My drive from Jefferson Landing took me 2 hrs 12 min. It was a beautiful one. We (my wife and I) safely arrived to Hungary. When we got here we learned about the Sunday night riots and turmoil. Do not worry about us the country is perfectly safe and calm. This was only a pre election political tactics. However this incident confirms my view about any government. We have to be careful and never trust any government. These recent Hungarian incident proved Gary’s point about diversification and about multi currency and about multi market sandwiches. Thank you very much again”.

“Good Morning Merri & Gary: I sincerely enjoyed the three days spent and was thoroughly motivated by the knowledge imparted during the three days.”

“ Gary, We were pleased to be able to be at the IBEZ seminar this past weekend and we enjoyed it immensely. Thanks once again.”

See more about our experience at International Investments Experience

In 2010 we’ll conduct three of these courses, one in Florida and two in North Carolina.

Feb. 11-14       Mt. Dora Florida
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