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Blue and Gold Fleet Case Study

Client Since: 2011

“The only bank that was willing to look at our workout plan if we didn’t get the contract was Bridge Bank. After looking at the workout plan and deeming it a reasonable and viable plan, they completely discounted the downside risks if we didn’t get the contract. The other banks didn’t do that. The other banks looked at the downside risk as real risk, never bothered to ask about the workout plan and never bothered to ask us to walk them through it.” ~Taylor Safford and Carolyn Horgan, Blue & Gold Fleet

“When Bridge Bank came in, they introduced us to a large number of members of their team. Other banks just came in with a sales guy and one bank executive. We got to meet people that we were going to be involved with directly, right from the get-go. It was a different approach. It wasn’t just a vice president and a sales guy and that’s it.” ~Taylor Safford and Carolyn Horgan, Blue & Gold Fleet

“Bridge Bank approach was, let me ask enough questions to understand what your concern is and find a solution that both sides can be happy with. That’s a very different position than most banks operate from.” ~Taylor Safford and Carolyn Horgan, Blue & Gold Fleet

Founded in 1979, Blue & Gold Fleet is the largest ferry operator in the San Francisco Bay—transporting over 2.5 million passengers annually with a fleet of 17 vessels.

In 2011, they needed to refinance their existing debt, but were faced with a catch-22. They needed to refinance in order meet the criteria of a California State RFP. Without winning the contract, however, their bottom line would make it difficult to find a banking partner.

Where the larger banks saw financing and underwriting risks, we saw possibility. We saw a dedicated company with an excellent reputation and an opportunity to grow. We asked a lot of tough questions and they had answers, including a rock solid backup plan should the big contract not come through. 

Their situation was unique, so we worked with them to develop a unique agreement—even raising their capital expenditures so they could properly invest in and care for their fleet. And, of course, we were able to move swiftly (well over 50 knots) because they were working with our final decision makers—not middlemen.

We’re thrilled to say Blue & Gold won the California State Contract and is the sole provider of Bay Area ferry services for the next five years. It’s good for the future of Bay Area transportation as they hope to significantly expand their fleet and services to underserved cities. With the cooperation of the Water Emergency Transportation Agency, of course.

So the next time you ride the ferry, think of Bridge Bank. If that beautiful view gives you an idea for your business, call us. We can help.

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