“Do you have any collateral, Mr. Hartos?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.” Hart opened his briefcase and displayed stock certificates for tens of thousands of shares of Akanabi Oil. The banker raised his eyebrows and picked up one of the certificates, analyzing it for authenticity.
“So what do you need me for?” the banker asked, setting down the certificate and folding his hands across his ample belly.
“I don’t, actually,” Hart said wryly. “Not if I sell that.” He nodded toward the briefcase. “But I don’t want to sell. Not yet.” Hart opened Sonia’s brown leather backpack and pulled out a thick business plan.
“I’ve been working on this all week,” he said, pushing it across the table toward the banker. “I’m prepared to give you a twenty percent return on your money for the first five years in exchange for an unlimited line of credit.”
The banker pitched forward in his chair and laid hands upon the document.
“Uhh uhh,” Hart said, shaking his head. “Not before we make a deal.”
“How can I make a deal if I can’t examine the business plan?”
Hart pulled a confidentiality agreement from Sonia’s backpack and placed it in front of the banker who read it.
“It bars you from even speaking about this matter to anyone who is not intimately involved in the release of funds and then it’s only on a need-to-know basis. After you read the plan, you’ll understand the paranoia. This is revolutionary technology. The urge to steal it will be strong.”
“This bank is not interested in anything illegal or immoral, Mr. Hart.”
“It’s nothing like that. But it will be the greatest invention since the advent of the industrial revolution. And you have the opportunity to be a part of it.”
“What’s the catch?”
“No catch. I need a line of credit. You’re in business to make money.”
“But why not do it yourself?” the banker asked, motioning toward the stock certificates.
Hart smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Once the first plant is built, that won’t be enough to cover the cost of expansion. It’s gonna spread like the wildfire, I guarantee you. Cities, states, municipalities – they’ll all be clamoring for it.
Interest piqued, the banker signed the confidentiality agreement and opened the business plan. Hart watched his face change as he read the one-page introduction.
“Either you’re crazy or a genius, I’m not sure. But if it’s true, I take your point. There’s no telling how big this could get.”
“So, we have a deal?”
“I need to look this over in detail, but my preliminary response would be yes, we most certainly have a deal.” The two men shook hands.
“I’ll call you later . . .”
“I’ll sit and wait until you’ve finished reading.”
“Mr. Hartos, a line of credit of this magnitude will require the acquiescence of the bank’s Board of Directors. And it’s not going to be granted on a verbal request.”
“That’s fine. After everyone signs the confidentiality agreement, you get a copy of the business plan.”
“Okay, well I’ve signed, so I’ll keep this copy.”
“Not until you’ve approved the line of credit.”
“But I just told you…”
“Look. I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but until I get everybody’s signatures . . .”
The banker shook his head. “We just don’t do business that way.”
“There are plenty of banks on this street. Someone’s going to lend me the money.”
“Not without the proper paperwork.”
“Suit yourself.” Hart collected his papers and stuffed them in Sonia’s backpack. “Remember. You signed an agreement. Not a word. Because if I hear one, I’ll own this bank.”
Hart smiled broadly. “Good day.”
to be continued. . .