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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
    
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023

OR

o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from _____to_____
Commission file number: 814-01035
NEWTEKONE, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Maryland46-3755188
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
4800 T Rex Avenue, Suite 120, Boca Raton, Florida
33431
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
(212356-9500
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Not Applicable
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.02 per shareNEWTNasdaq Global Market LLC
5.75% Notes due 2024NEWTLNasdaq Global Market LLC
5.50% Notes due 2026NEWTZNasdaq Global Market LLC
8.00% Notes due 2028
NEWTI
Nasdaq Global Market LLC

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes ¨
    No x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes ¨
    No x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the past 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (Section 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨



Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated fileroAccelerated Filerx
Non-accelerated fileroSmaller reporting companyo
Emerging growth companyo
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial or accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 USC. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. Yes       No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).  ¨
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $365.7 million as of the last business day of the registrant’s second fiscal quarter of 2023, based on a closing price on that date of $15.90 on the Nasdaq Global Market. For the purposes of calculating this amount only, all directors and executive officers of the Registrant have been treated as affiliates.
As of March 28, 2024, there were 24,708,771 shares outstanding of the registrant’s Common Stock, par value $0.02 per share.




NEWTEKONE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Item Page
PART I
1.
Business
1A.
Risk Factors
1B.
1C.Cybersecurity
2.
Properties
3.
Legal Proceedings
4.
Mine Safety Disclosures
PART II
5.
Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity and Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
7.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
7A.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
8.
9.
Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
9A.
Controls and Procedures
9B.
Other Information
PART III
10.
Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
11.
Executive Compensation
12.
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
13.
Certain Relationships, Related Party Transactions and Director Independence
14.
Principal Accounting Fees and Services
PART IV
15.
Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Exhibits Index
Signatures
Financial Statements




Defined Terms

We have used “we,” “us,” “our,” “our company,” and “the Company” to refer to NewtekOne, Inc. and its subsidiaries in this report. We also have used several other terms in this report, which are explained or defined below:
Terms
1940 ActInvestment Company Act of 1940, as amended
2017-1 TrustNewtek Small Business Loan Trust, Series 2017-1, terminated in February 2023
2018-1 TrustNewtek Small Business Loan Trust, Series 2018-1
2019-1 TrustNewtek Small Business Loan Trust, Series 2019-1
2021-1 TrustNewtek Small Business Loan Trust, Series 2021-1
2022-1 TrustNewtek Small Business Loan Trust, Series 2022-1
2023-1 TrustNewtek Small Business Loan Trust, Series 2023-1
2022 Notes7.50% Notes due 2022, redeemed in August 2019
2023 Notes6.25% Notes due 2023, redeemed in February 2021
2024 Notes5.75% Notes due 2024
2025 6.85% Notes6.85% Notes due 2025, redeemed in May 2022
2025 5.00% Notes5.00% Notes due 2025
2025 8.125% Notes8.125% Notes due 2025
2025 NotesCollectively, the 2025 6.85% Notes, the 2025 5.00% Notes and the 8.125% Notes due 2025
2026 Notes5.50% Notes due 2026
2028 Notes
8.00% Notes due 2028
ABLAsset based lending
ACLAllowance for credit losses
AcquisitionThe Company’s Acquisition of NBNYC, pursuant to which the Company acquired from the NBNYC shareholders all of the issued and outstanding stock of NBNYC
ASCAccounting Standards Codification, as issued by the FASB
ASUAccounting Standards Updates, as issued by the FASB
2020 ATM Equity Distribution AgreementEquity Distribution Agreement, dated June 25, 2020 by and among the Company and the placement agents, as amended on July 20, 2022
BDCBusiness Development Company under the 1940 Act
BoardThe Company's board of directors
Capital OneCapital One Bank, National Association
C&IConventional commercial and industrial loans
CodeInternal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended
CREConventional commercial real estate lending
Deutsche BankDeutsche Bank AG
DIFDeposit Insurance Fund of the FDIC
DRIPThe Company's dividend reinvestment plan
EBITDAEarnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization
2015 Stock Incentive PlanThe Company's 2015 Stock Incentive Plan
2023 Stock Incentive PlanThe Company’s 2023 Stock Incentive Plan
ESPP
Employee Stock Purchase Program
Exchange ActSecurities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
FASBFinancial Accounting Standards Board
Federal ReserveBoard of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
FDICFederal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FV
Fair Value
HFI
Held for investment
HFS
Held for sale
LIBORLondon Interbank Offered Rate
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LCM
Lower of amortized cost basis or fair value
NAVNet Asset Value
NBNYCNational Bank of New York City, which has been renamed Newtek Bank, National Association
OCCOffice of the Comptroller of the Currency
PCD
Purchased Financial Assets with Credit Deterioration
PLPPreferred Lenders Program, as authorized by the SBA
PPPPaycheck Protection Program
RICRegulated investment company under the Code
S&PStandard and Poor's
SBAUnited States Small Business Administration
SECU.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
SMBSmall-and-medium sized businesses
SPV I Capital One FacilityRevolving Credit and Security Agreement between NBL SPV I, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holdco 6, and Capital One
SPV II Deutsche Bank FacilityRevolving Credit and Security Agreement between NBL SPV II, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holdco 6, and Deutsche Bank
SPV III One Florida Bank FacilityRevolving Credit and Security Agreement between NBL SPV III, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holdco 6, and One Florida Bank
Stock Purchase Agreement Stock Purchase Agreement dated August 2, 2021, between the Company, NBNYC and certain NBNYC shareholders to acquire all of the issued and outstanding stock of NBNYC, as amended through December 12, 2022
TrusteeU.S. Bank, National Association
TSO IITSO II Booster Aggregator, L.P.
U.S. GAAP or GAAPGenerally accepted accounting principles in the United States
WebsterWebster Bank, N.A.
Subsidiaries and Joint Ventures
NSBFNewtek Small Business Finance, LLC, a consolidated subsidiary
NBL
Newtek Business Lending, LLC, a former wholly-owned subsidiary of Newtek Bank merged into SBL on May 2, 2023
NCLNewtek Commercial Lending, Inc, a consolidated subsidiary
NCL JVNewtek Conventional Lending, LLC, a 50% owned joint venture
Newtek BankNewtek Bank, National Association
Holdco 6
Newtek Business Services Holdco 6, Inc., a consolidated subsidiary
TSO JV
Newtek-TSO II Conventional Credit Partners, LP, a 50% owned joint venture
NMSNewtek Merchant Solutions, LLC (formerly Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin LLC), a consolidated subsidiary
Mobil MoneyMobil Money, LLC, a consolidated subsidiary
NTSNewtek Technology Solutions, Inc., a consolidated subsidiary
SIDCOSIDCO, LLC dba Cloud Nine Services, a former subsidiary of NTS; SIDCO was merged into NTS on December 31, 2023
EWS
Excel WebSolutions, LLC, a former consolidated subsidiary merged into NTS on December 31, 2023
NBCCDS Business Services, Inc. dba Newtek Business Credit Solutions, a consolidated subsidiary
SBLSmall Business Lending, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Newtek Bank
PMTPMTWorks Payroll, LLC dba Newtek Payroll and Benefits Solutions, a consolidated subsidiary
NIANewtek Insurance Agency, LLC, a consolidated subsidiary
TAMTitanium Asset Management, LLC, a consolidated subsidiary
EMCAPEMCAP Loan Holdings, LLC
5



POSPOS on Cloud, LLC, dba Newtek Payment Systems, a 76.8% consolidated subsidiary
6
6




Explanatory Note:

On January 6, 2023, the Company completed the Acquisition of NBNYC, a national bank regulated and supervised by the OCC. In addition, on January 6, 2023, the Company filed with the SEC a Form N-54C, Notification of Withdrawal of Election to be Subject to the 1940 Act, and has ceased to be a BDC effective as of January 6, 2023. As a result of the foregoing, the Company is now a financial holding company, no longer qualifies as a regulated investment company (RIC) for federal income tax purposes, and no longer qualifies for accounting treatment as an investment company. As a result, comparisons to December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021 include adjustments made to reconcile prior investment company accounting to the current financial holding company accounting requirements. (See NOTE 1—DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS AND BASIS OF PRESENTATION)
7




CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING 
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND PROJECTIONS

This report contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including the impact of COVID-19 and related changes in base interest rates and significant market volatility on our business, our subsidiaries, our industry, and the global economy. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts, but rather are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the Company, our industry, our beliefs, and our assumptions. Words such as “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “will,” “may,” “continue,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “targets,” “projects,” and variations of these words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this report involve risks and uncertainties, including statements as to:
our future operating results;
our business prospects and the prospects of our subsidiaries;
our contractual arrangements and relationships with third parties;
the dependence of our future success on the general economy and its impact on the industries in which we invest;
the ability of our business to achieve its objectives;
the impact of a protracted decline in the liquidity of credit markets on our business;
the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital;
our ability to operate as a financial holding company and our ability to operate our subsidiary Newtek Bank, a national bank regulated and supervised by the OCC, and the increased compliance and other costs associated with such operations; and
the timing of cash flows, if any, from the operations of our subsidiaries;

These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors, some of which are beyond our control and difficult to predict and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements, including without limitation:

an economic downturn could impair our and our subsidiaries’ ability to continue to operate or repay borrowings, which could adversely affect our results;
a contraction of available credit and/or an inability to access the equity markets, which could impair our lending activities;
interest rate volatility could adversely affect our results;
impacts to financial markets and the global macroeconomic and geopolitical environment, including higher inflation and its impacts;
higher interest rates and the impacts on macroeconomic conditions and our funding costs; and
the risks, uncertainties and other factors we identify in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report and in our filings with the SEC.

Although we believe that the assumptions on which these forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, any of those assumptions could prove to be inaccurate, and as a result, the forward-looking statements based on those assumptions also could be inaccurate. Important assumptions include the ability of Newtek Bank to continue to originate loans under the SBA 7(a) program, maintain PLP status, and sell guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans at premiums and grow deposits; our ability to originate new loans; our subsidiaries’ ability to generate revenue and obtain and maintain certain margins and levels of profitability; and the availability of additional capital. In light of these and other uncertainties, the inclusion of a projection or forward-looking statement in this report should not be regarded as a representation by us that our plans and objectives will be achieved. These risks and uncertainties include those described or identified in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which apply only as of the date of this report, and while we believe such information forms, or will form, a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely on these statements The forward-looking statements in this report are excluded from the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act.
8




ITEM 1. BUSINESS.

Prior to January 6, 2023 and during the entirety of the 2022 fiscal year, we operated as an internally managed non-diversified closed-end management investment company that was regulated as a BDC under the 1940 Act, and was treated as a RIC under the Code for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

On January 6, 2023, we completed the Acquisition of NBNYC, a national bank regulated and supervised by the OCC, pursuant to which we acquired from the NBNYC shareholders all of the issued and outstanding stock of NBNYC. NBNYC has been renamed Newtek Bank, National Association (“Newtek Bank”) and has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. In connection with the completion of the Acquisition, we contributed to Newtek Bank $31 million of cash and two of our subsidiaries, NBL and SBL (subsequently, NBL was merged into SBL). Upon the consummation of the Acquisition, Newtek Bank entered into an operating agreement with the OCC concerning certain matters including capital, liquidity and concentration limits, and memorializing the business plan submitted to the OCC.

In addition, on January 6, 2023, we filed with the SEC a Form N-54C, Notification of Withdrawal of Election to be Subject to the 1940 Act, following approval from our shareholders, and ceased to be a BDC. As a result of the Acquisition, we are now a financial holding company subject to the regulation and supervision of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. We no longer qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes and no longer qualify for accounting treatment as an investment company.

Our Business

We are a financial holding company that is a leading business and financial solutions provider to independent business owners/SMBs. We define independent business owners (SMBs) as companies having revenues of $1.0 million to $100.0 million, and we estimate the SMB market to be over 33 million businesses in the U.S. as of March 2023, according to the SBA. NewtekOne and its subsidiaries provide independent business owners (SMBs) with the following Newtek® branded business and financial solutions: Newtek Bank, Newtek Lending, Newtek Payments, Newtek Insurance, Newtek Payroll and Newtek Technology. We have an established and reliable platform that is not limited by client size, industry type, or location. As a result, we believe we have a strong and diversified client base across the United States and across a variety of different industries. In addition, we have developed a financial and technology based business model that enables us to acquire and process our independent business owner clients in a very cost effective manner. This capability is supported in large part by NewTracker®, our patented prospect management technology software, which is similar to, but we believe better suited for our needs than, the system popularized by Salesforce.com and similar providers. In addition, we have recently launched the Newtek AdvantageTM (patent pending) dashboard, for our depository and non-depository clients. The Newtek Advantage offers NewtekOne’s clients a single online dashboard to access all of NewtekOne’s business and financial solutions. The Newtek Advantage allows NewtekOne clients to easily interact with NewtekOne subject matter experts in the areas of Banking, Lending, Payments, Technology, Payroll and Insurance. We believe the Newtek Advantage will enable us to grow core retail deposits and provide an advantage to our existing and new clients. We believe that NewtekOne’s technology and business model distinguishes us from our competitors.
OCC.

As a result of the Acquisition and the Company’s filing with the SEC a Form N-54C, Notification of Withdrawal of Election to be Subject to the 1940 Act, the Company is now a financial holding company subject to the regulation and supervision of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The Company no longer qualifies as a regulated investment company for federal income tax purposes and no longer qualifies for accounting treatment as an investment company. As a result, in addition to Newtek Bank and its consolidated subsidiary, SBL, the following NewtekOne portfolio companies and subsidiaries are now consolidated non-bank subsidiaries in the Company’s financial statements: NSBF; Newtek Merchant Solutions, LLC (NMS); Mobil Money, LLC; CDS Business Services, Inc. d/b/a Newtek Business Credit Solutions (NBC); PMTWorks Payroll, LLC d/b/a Newtek Payroll and Benefits Solutions (PMT); Newtek Insurance Agency, LLC (NIA); Titanium Asset Management LLC (TAM); Newtek Business Services Holdco 6, Inc (Holdco 6); Newtek Commercial Lending, Inc. (NCL); Newtek Technology Solutions, Inc. (NTS), which includes the former entities SIDCO and EWS that were merged into NTS on December 31, 2023 and POS on Cloud, LLC, d/b/a Newtek Payment Systems (POS). In addition, as a result of commitments made to the Federal Reserve, the Company will divest or otherwise terminate the activities conducted by NTS by January 6, 2025, subject to any extension of this date.


9




Moreover, on April 13, 2023, the Company, NSBF and the SBA entered into an agreement in connection with NSBF’s and Newtek Bank’s participation in the SBA 7(a) loan program (the "Wind-down Agreement"). The Company’s business plan prepared in connection with the Acquisition provided for all SBA 7(a) loan originations to be transitioned to Newtek Bank and for NSBF to cease originations of SBA 7(a) loans. Pursuant to the Wind-down Agreement, NSBF has begun to wind-down its operations and NSBF’s SBA 7(a) pipeline of new loans was transitioned to Newtek Bank during the second quarter of 2023. During this wind-down process, NSBF will continue to own the SBA 7(a) loans and PPP Loans currently in its SBA loan portfolio to maturity, liquidation, charge-off or (subject to SBA’s prior written approval) sale or transfer. SBL will service and liquidate NSBF’s SBA loan portfolio, including processing forgiveness and loan reviews for PPP Loans, pursuant to an SBA approved lender service provider agreement. In addition, during the wind-down process, NSBF will be subject to minimum capital requirements established by the SBA, be required to continue to maintain certain amounts of restricted cash available to meet any obligations to the SBA, have restrictions on its ability to make dividends and distributions to the Company, and remain liable to the SBA for post-purchase denials and repairs on the guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans originated and sold by NSBF. The Company has guaranteed NSBF’s obligations to the SBA and has funded a $10 million account at Newtek Bank to secure these potential obligations.

On January 17, 2023, the Company changed its name from Newtek Business Services Corp. to NewtekOne, Inc.

NewtekOne’s Business and Financial Solutions Ecosystem

Newtek Lending

SBA 7(a) Lending

Our Newtek Lending platform, which generates a material portion of our revenues, includes loans originated under the federal Section 7(a) loan program, i.e., SBA 7(a) loans. The SBA is an independent government agency that facilitates one of the nation’s largest sources of SMB financing by providing credit guarantees for its loan programs. SBA 7(a) loans are partially guaranteed by the SBA, with SBA guarantees typically ranging between 50% and 90% of the principal and interest due. Under the SBA’s 7(a) lending program, a bank, such Newtek Bank, or a nonbank lender licensed by the SBA (such as NSBF) underwrites a loan between $5,000 and $5.0 million for a variety of general business purposes based on the SBA’s loan program requirements. The recoveries and expenses on the unguaranteed portions of these loans are shared pari passu between the SBA and the lender, which substantially reduces the loss severity on the unguaranteed portion of a loan for SBA 7(a) loan investors. SBA 7(a) loans are typically between ten and 25 years in maturity and bear interest at the prime rate plus a spread from 1.50% to 6.50%. The Company estimates the duration of these loans to be between four and five years. Since the guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans carry the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, lenders may, and frequently do, sell the guaranteed portion of SBA 7(a) loans in the capital markets, hold the unguaranteed portion and retain all loan servicing rights.

From 2012 through December 31, 2022, our subsidiary NSBF, was consistently the largest non-bank SBA 7(a) lender in the U.S. based on dollar volume of loan approvals, and, as of December 31, 2022, was the third largest SBA 7(a) lender in the United States. As of December 31, 2023 (the SBA’s first quarter of their fiscal year), when combining the loan approvals of Newtek Bank and NSBF, we are the nation’s largest SBA 7(a) lender. Newtek Bank received PLP status in April 2023, a designation whereby the SBA authorizes the most experienced SBA lenders to place SBA guarantees on loans without seeking prior SBA review and approval. PLP status has allowed Newtek Bank (and historically NSBF) to serve our clients in an expedited manner since we are not required to present applications to the SBA for concurrent review and approval. All new SBA 7(a) loan originations were transitioned to Newtek Bank in April 2023. NewtekOne has a dedicated Senior Lending Team (as defined below) that is now supporting Newtek Bank, which originates and services SBA 7(a) loans to qualifying independent business owners and follows the NewtekOne SBA 7(a) loan business model. Prior to the Newtek Bank Acquisition, our SBA 7(a) business model was to: originate SBA 7(a) loans, sell the guaranteed portions of the SBA 7(a) loans, typically within thirty to forty-five days of origination, and retain the unguaranteed portion until accumulating sufficient loans for investment or securitization. In a securitization, the unguaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans are transferred to a special purpose vehicle (a “Trust”), which in turn issues notes against the Trust’s assets in private placements. The Trust’s primary source of income for repaying the securitization notes is the cash flows generated from the unguaranteed portion of SBA 7(a) loans owned by the Trust. Principal on the securitization notes is paid by cash flows in excess of that needed to pay various fees related to the operation of the Trust and interest on the debt. Securitization notes have an expected maturity of approximately five years, and the Trust is dissolved when the securitization notes are paid in full, either at or prior to maturity. NSBF has completed thirteen (13) securitizations. Newtek Bank will continue the SBA 7(a) business model utilizing the NewtekOne Senior Lending Team, and Newtek Bank may determine to engage in securitization transactions in the future. NSBF, which is in the process of winding-down its operations, will continue to manage and service its portfolio of guaranteed and unguaranteed SBA 7(a) loans pursuant to a lender servicer provider agreement with SBL.

10




We believe our more than twenty years of experience as one of the largest SBA 7(a) lenders, provides us with a distinct competitive advantage over other lenders that have not overcome these significant barriers-to-entry in our primary loan market. We originated $814.4 million of SBA 7(a) loans during 2023 and $775.6 million of SBA 7(a) loans during 2022. We believe that we will continue to be introduced to a variety of high-quality investment opportunities through our existing loan sourcing channels and our subsidiaries’ relationships with their clients.

We have a dedicated capital markets team that sells the guaranteed portions of our SBA 7(a) loans shortly after origination and we retain the unguaranteed portions, Historically, NSBF sold SBA guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans at premiums ranging from 106% to 123% of par value, and any portion of the premium that is above 110% of par value is shared equally between NSBF and the SBA. However, there is no guarantee that Newtek Bank will be able to continue to earn premiums of 106% to 123% on future sales of the guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans or will be able to maintain PLP status. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - We have specific risks associated with SBA loans.”

In addition, NSBF typically retained the unguaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) until accumulating sufficient loans for a securitization. Through NSBF’s securitization program, which began in December 2010, NSBF successfully completed 13 securitization transactions of the unguaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans with Standard & Poor’s AA or A ratings and advance rates as high as 83.5% of par value. NSBF’s last securitization occurred in June 2023, when it sold (and we increased our secured borrowings by) $103.9 million of Unguaranteed SBA 7(a) Loan-Backed Notes, Series 2023-1, consisting of $84.3 million of Class A Notes and $19.6 million Class B Notes, rated “A-” and “BBB-”, respectively, by S&P Global, Inc. Newtek Bank intends to use core deposits to fund SBA 7(a) loans and does not currently plan to securitize the unguaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans it originates, but may do so in the future. In addition, Newtek Bank may determine to retain the government guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans for longer periods, pending deployment of excess capital.

We have focused on making smaller SBA 7(a) loans, approximately $1.0 million or less, in order to maintain a diversified pool of loans that are dispersed both geographically and among industries, with a goal of limiting our exposure to regional and industry-specific economic downturns. Specifically, as of December 31, 2023, the Company’s loan portfolio consisted of 4,879 loans originated across 50 states in 77 different industries as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”).

As discussed below, in addition to SBA 7(a) lending, our Newtek Lending Platform includes the following loan products originated by Newtek Bank: SBA 504 loans, C&I loans (including ABL and owner occupied commercial real estate (CRE) and investor CRE). In addition, our alternative lending program loans (formerly referred to as non-conforming conventional loans) are originated by NewtekOne nonbank subsidiaries and joint ventures.

Commercial Banking – Newtek Bank

We have centralized our Newtek Lending Platform within Newtek Bank (except for our alternative lending program business, discussed herein), our commercial bank. As discussed above, Newtek Bank is originating, servicing and selling SBA 7(a) loans in a similar manner to NSBF’s historic business model and is originating and servicing SBA 504 loans, C&I loans (including ABL and owner occupied CRE and investor CRE).

In addition, we offer depository services and solutions through Newtek Bank. Our commercial banking clients can take advantage of our full offerings via the Newtek Advantage dashboard.

Newtek Bank's business lines include:

SBA 504 Lending

Newtek Bank originates SBA 504 loans which provide long-term fixed rate financing for major fixed assets such as real estate or equipment. The maximum loan amount for a SBA 504 loan is $5.5 million.

C&I Lending, CRE Lending and ABL Lending

The Newtek Lending Platform also includes C&I Lending, which includes ABL and owner occupied CRE and investor CRE. Newtek Bank will continue to provide C&I loans and CRE loans to its commercial customers and will originate ABL loans. Prior to the Acquisition, our subsidiary, NBC, provided receivables financing, inventory financing and health care receivables financing to independent business owners through the sale of their trade receivables or the financing of their inventories. NBC has ceased originating new ABL loans and will manage its current portfolio in runoff mode.

11




Third Party Loan Servicing and Loan Origination Services

SBL, a former NewtekOne portfolio company which is now a subsidiary of Newtek Bank, provides our affiliates, subsidiaries and third-parties, including banks, credit unions and government agencies, including the FDIC, with loan servicing for SBA and non-SBA loans. In addition, SBL provides our affiliates, subsidiaries and third-parties with outsourced solutions for the entire SBA loan origination process, including credit analysis, structuring and eligibility, packaging, closing compliance and servicing. For example, SBL originates and services loans under our alternative lending program for our Holdco 6 subsidiary and our joint ventures (see below).

Alternative Lending Program

On May 20, 2019, the Company and its joint venture partner launched Newtek Conventional Lending, LLC (NCL JV) to provide our alternative lending program loans (formerly known as non-conforming conventional commercial and industrial term loans) to U.S. middle-market companies and small businesses. NCL JV is a 50/50 joint venture between Newtek Commercial Lending, Inc. (NCL) a wholly-owned subsidiary of NewtekOne, and Conventional Lending TCP Holding, LLC, a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of BlackRock TCP Capital Corp. (Nasdaq: TCPC). NCL JV ceased funding new alternative lending program loans during 2020. On January 28, 2022, NCL JV closed a securitization with the sale of $56.3 million of Class A Notes, NCL Business Loan Trust 2022-1, Business Loan-Backed Notes, Series 2022-1, secured by a segregated asset pool consisting primarily of NCL JV’s portfolio of alternative lending program loans, including loans secured by liens on commercial or residential mortgaged properties, originated by NCL JV and NBL. The Notes were rated “A” (sf) by DBRS Morningstar. The Notes were priced at a yield of 3.209%. The proceeds of the securitization were used, in part, to repay a Deutsche Bank credit facility and return capital to the NCL JV partners.

On August 5, 2022, NewtekOne launched its second joint venture to invest in alternative lending program loans. Newtek-TSO II Conventional Credit Partners, LP (Newtek-TSO JV). NCL and TSO II entered into a joint venture, Newtek-TSO JV, governed by the Amended and Restated Limited Partnership Agreement for the Newtek-TSO JV. NCL and TSO II each committed to contribute an equal share of equity funding to the Newtek-TSO JV and each will have equal voting rights on all material matters. Newtek-TSO JV intends to deploy capital over the course of time with additional leverage supported by a warehouse line of credit. The intended purpose of Newtek-TSO JV is to invest in alternative lending program loans made to middle-market companies as well as independent business owners. Newtek-TSO JV began making investments during the fourth quarter of 2022.

Deposits and Depository Services

We are focused on growing and retaining a stable deposit base and deepening relationships with our current and prospective deposit customers by leveraging our customer-direct, easy-to-use, digital account opening platform. Newtek Bank is a digital direct bank with no branch network that obtains retail deposits directly from customers. Following the Acquisition of NBNYC and its $137 million deposit portfolio, we launched our High Yield Savings and Retail CD product offerings in March and April of 2023. Since that time, we have grown our deposit base rapidly and have offered competitive market rates using an accounting opening process that is straightforward with limited interaction. Newtek Bank has maintained strong customer acquisition and retention rates and expects to continue to drive growth in retail deposits. Additionally, during 2023 we implemented a suite of software solutions that will facilitate gathering and servicing deposits from our existing and prospective independent business owner clients, diversifying our client base. We supplement our customer deposit base with a series of wholesale funding options, which consist of product offerings to community banks and credit unions, as well as fundings in the brokered CD market. At December 31, 2023, Newtek Bank had $519 million of total deposits, which grew approximately $382 million, or 279%, following the Acquisition. The total number of retail deposit customers at December 31, 2023 that opened accounts through our digital opening process during 2023 was over 7,500.

Newtek Payments

NewtekOne’s business and financial solutions ecosystem also includes its Newtek Payments businesses, which includes NewtekOne’s subsidiaries Newtek Merchant Solutions, LLC (NMS), Mobil Money, LLC (Mobil Money) and POS on Cloud, LLC, d/b/a Newtek Payment Systems (POS).

NMS markets credit and debit card processing services, check approval services, processing equipment, and software. NMS utilizes a multi-pronged sales approach of both direct and indirect sales. NMS’ primary sales efforts focus on direct sales through our Your Business Solutions Company® brand. Their indirect sales channels consist of alliance partners, principally financial institutions (banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other related businesses), and independent sales agents across the United States. These referring organizations and associations are typically paid a percentage of the processing
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revenue derived from the respective merchants that they successfully refer to NMS. In 2023, NMS processed merchant transactions with sales volumes of $5.4 billion.

We believe NMS has a number of competitive advantages which we believe will enable it to effectively compete in this market. These are:

focus on non-traditional business generation: referral relationships, wholesale solicitations and financial institutions rather than independent sales agents;

seeking to be a market leader in the implementation of technology in the payment processing business;

maintaining its own staff of trained and skilled customer service representatives; and

marketing and selling the latest in point-of-sale technology hardware and offers processing related cyber-security services.

NMS maintains its principal customer service and sales support offices in Lake Success, New York. NMS’s personnel assist merchants with initial installation of equipment and on-going service, as well as any other special processing needs that they may have.

NMS’ development and growth is focused on selling NMS’ services to internally generated referrals, merchant referrals identified by Newtek alliance partners and by independent sales representatives. We believe NMS is different than most electronic payment processing companies who acquire their clients primarily through independent sales agents. NMS believes that its business model provides it with a competitive advantage by enabling it to acquire new merchant customers at a lower cost level for third-party commissions than the industry average. NMS’ business model allows it to own the customer as well as the stream of residual payments, as opposed to models which rely more heavily on independent sales agents.

Mobil Money provides payment processing for a merchant portfolio of taxi cabs and related licensed payment processing software.

POS is a majority owned subsidiary of NewtekOne which provides a cloud based Point of Sale system for a variety of restaurant, retail, assisted living, parks and golf course businesses, which provides not only payments and purchase technology solutions, but also inventory, customer management, reporting, employee time clock, table and menu layouts, and ecommerce solutions as the central operating system for an independent business owner.

Newtek Insurance

Newtek Insurance Agency (NIA), is a wholly-owned subsidiary which is a retail and wholesale brokerage insurance agency licensed in all 50 states, specializing in the sale of commercial and health/benefits lines insurance products to independent business owners, as well as the sale of various personal lines of insurance.

Newtek Payroll

PMTWorks Payroll, LLC d/b/a Newtek Payroll and Benefits Solutions (PMT), is a wholly-owned subsidiary which offers an array of industry standard and competitively priced payroll management, and related payment and tax reporting services to independent business owners.

Newtek Technology

Newtek Technology Solutions, Inc. (NTS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary that provides website hosting, dedicated server hosting, cloud hosting, web design and development, internet marketing, ecommerce, data storage, backup and disaster recovery, and other related services including consulting and implementing technology solutions for enterprise and commercial clients across the U.S. as well as SMBs. On December 31, 2023, SIDCO and EWS were merged into NTS. As a result of commitments made to the Federal Reserve, the Company will divest or otherwise terminate the activities conducted by NTS by January 6, 2025, subject to any extension of this date.

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Newtek Branding

We have developed our branded line of business products and financial solutions to offer a full service suite of business and financial solutions for independent business owners in the United States. We reach potential customers through our integrated multi-channel approach featuring direct, indirect and direct outbound solicitation efforts. We continue to utilize and grow our primary marketing channel of strategic alliance partners as well as a direct marketing strategy to independent business owner customers through our “go to market” brand, Your Business Solutions Company® and One Solution for All Your Business Needs®. Through our web presence, www.newtekone.com, we believe we are establishing ourselves as a preferred “go-to” provider for independent business owner financial and business solutions offered by NewtekOne® and its subsidiaries, including Newtek Bank®.

We believe that our patented NewTracker® system provides for transparency between NewtekOne and referring parties and has been material in our ability to obtain referrals from a wide variety of sources. The NewTracker system allows us and our alliance partners to review in real time the status of any referral as well as to provide real time compliance oversight by the respective alliance partner, which we believe creates confidence among the referred business client, the referring alliance partner and us. We own the NewTracker® patent, as well as all trademarks and other patented intellectual property used by us and our subsidiaries. Additional referrals are obtained from individual professionals in geographic markets that have signed up to provide referrals and earn commissions through our BizExec and TechExec Programs. In addition, we believe that the Newtek AdvantageTM dashboard, which patent is pending, is designed to be a management tool for our business clientele that can make their businesses more successful and that our clients can depend on. The Newtek Advantage allows clients to access the entire suite of the NewtekOne business and financial solutions, and provide clients analytics, relationships and transactional capability that other banks do not offer. We believe the Newtek Advantage is unique because each of our clients will be assigned a NewtekOne relationship manager and specialist in each Newtek business line, and allow our clients to go into the Newtek Advantage and communicate via video or chat with a NewtekOne business line specialist.

Market Opportunity

We believe that the limited amount of capital and financial products available to independent business owners, coupled with the desire of these businesses for flexible and partnership-oriented sources of capital and other financial products, creates an attractive environment for us to further expand our business and financial products ecosystem and overall brand. We believe the following factors will continue to provide us with opportunities to grow and deliver attractive returns to shareholders.

The independent business owner SMB market represents a large, underserved market. We estimate the independent business owner/SMB market to include over 33 million businesses in the United States. We believe that SMBs, most of which are privately-held, are relatively underserved by traditional capital providers such as commercial banks, finance companies, hedge funds and collateralized loan obligation funds. Further, we believe that such businesses generally possess conservative capital structures with significant enterprise value cushions, as compared to larger companies with more financing options. While the largest originators of SBA 7(a) loans have traditionally been regional and national banks, from 2012 through 2022, our subsidiary NSBF was consistently the largest non-bank originator of SBA 7(a) loans. When combining the loan approval volume of Newtek Bank and NSBF, we ranked as the largest SBA 7(a) lender based on dollar volume of loan approvals as of December 31, 2023, which is the SBA’s first fiscal quarter. As a result, we believe we are well positioned to provide financing to the types of independent business owners that we have historically targeted and we have the technology and infrastructure in place presently to do it cost effectively in all 50 states and across many industries.

Increased demand for comprehensive, business-critical SMB solutions. Increased competition and rapid technological innovation are creating an increasingly competitive business environment that requires independent business owners to fundamentally change the way they manage critical business processes. This environment is characterized by greater focus on increased quality, lower costs, faster turnaround and heightened regulatory scrutiny. To make necessary changes and adequately address these needs, we believe that companies are focusing on their core competencies and utilizing cost-effective outsourced solutions to improve productivity, lower costs and manage operations more efficiently. We provide critical business solutions such as electronic payment processing, managed IT solutions, personal and commercial insurance services and full-service payroll and benefit solutions, receivables financing, funding of SBA 504 loans, which provide financing of fixed assets such as real estate or equipment, and non-conforming (non-SBA) commercial loans. We believe that each of these market segments are underserved for independent business owners and since we are able to provide comprehensive financial and business solutions under one (the Newtek) platform, we believe that we are well positioned to continue to realize growth from these product offerings.

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Competitive Advantages

We believe that we are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities to provide business and financial solutions to independent business owners due to the following competitive advantages:

Senior lending Team and Executive Officers. The key members of our Senior Lending Team, many of whom have worked together for more than ten years, each have over 25 years of experience in finance-related fields. These lending professionals have worked together to screen opportunities, underwrite new loans and investments and manage a portfolio of loans and investments in SMBs through two recessions, a credit crunch, the dot-com boom and bust and a historic, leverage-fueled asset valuation bubble and the COVID-19 pandemic. Each member brings a complementary component to a team well-rounded in finance, accounting, operations, strategy, business law and executive management. We are led by our executive officers under the supervision of our Board. Our executive officers have significant experience in our fields of operations.

Business Model Enables Attractive Risk-Weighted Return on Investment in SBA 7(a) Lending. Our SBA 7(a) loans are structured so as to permit rapid sale of the U.S. government guaranteed portions, often within weeks of origination, and the unguaranteed portions have been successfully securitized, with the securitization notes being sold, usually within a year of loan origination. The return of principal and premium may result in an advantageous risk-weighted return on our original investment in each loan. Newtek Bank has determined to retain the unguaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans, but may seek to securitize or otherwise finance these loans in the future.

State of the Art Technology. Our patented NewTracker® software enables us to board an SMB customer, process the application or inquiry, assemble necessary documents, complete the transaction and create a daily reporting system that is sufficiently unique as to receive a U.S. patent. NewTracker® enables us to identify a transaction, similar to a merchandise barcode or the customer management system used by SalesForce.com, then process a business transaction and generate internal reports used by management and external reports for strategic referral partners. NewTracker® allows our referral partners to have digital access into our back office and follow on a real time, 24/7 basis the processing of their referred customers. NewTracker® has been applied to all of the business and financial solutions we offer directly or through our subsidiaries.

Established Direct Origination Platform with Extensive Deal Sourcing Infrastructure. We have established a direct loan origination pipeline for opportunities without the necessity for financial institutions or brokers as well as broad marketing channels that we believe allow for highly selective underwriting. We believe the combination of our brand, our portal, our patented NewTracker® technology, and our web presence as Your Business Solutions Company® have created an extensive deal sourcing infrastructure. Although we pay fees for loan originations that are referred to us by our alliance partners, our lending team works directly with the borrower to assemble and underwrite loans. We rarely invest in pre-assembled loans that are sold by investment banks or brokers. As a result, we believe that our unique national origination platform allows us to originate attractive credits at a low cost. During 2023 and 2022 we funded $814.4 million and $775.6 million, respectively, of SBA 7(a) loans. We anticipate that our principal source of loan origination opportunities will continue to be in the same types of independent business owners to which we currently provide financing. Our executive officers and Senior Lending Team also seek to leverage our extensive network of additional referral sources, including law firms, accounting firms, financial, operational and strategic consultants and financial institutions, with whom we have closed opportunities. We believe our current infrastructure and expansive relationships will continue to enable us to review a significant amount of direct (or non-brokered) business opportunities.

Flexible, Customized Business and Financial Solutions for Seasoned, Independent Business Owners. While Newtek Bank’s primary focus will be to expand its lending activities by providing SBA 7(a) loans to independent business owners, we also seek to offer independent business owners a variety of attractive financial solutions, as well as cost effective and efficient business solutions, to meet their capital needs through Newtek Bank and our nonbank subsidiaries. In particular, we offer larger loans, between $5.0 million and $15.0 million, greater than loans available with the SBA guarantee, but with a higher interest rate to compensate for the increased risk. Unlike many of our competitors, we believe we have the business finance ecosystem that allows us to provide a complete package of business and financial solutions for independent business owners, which allows for cross-selling opportunities and improved client retention. We expect that a large portion of our capital will be loaned to companies that need growth capital, acquisition financing or funding to recapitalize or refinance existing debt facilities. Our lending will continue to focus on making loans to independent business owners that:

have 3 to 10 years of operational history;

significant experience in management;

credit worthy owners who provide a personal guarantee for our investment;
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show a strong balance sheet to collateralize our investments; and

show sufficient cash flow to be able to service the payments on our investments comfortably.

Although we may make loans to start-up businesses, we generally seek to avoid lending to high-risk, early-stage enterprises that are only beginning to develop their market share or build their management and operational infrastructure with limited collateral.

Disciplined Underwriting Policies and Rigorous Portfolio Management. We pursue rigorous due diligence of all prospective loans originated through our Business Lending Platform. Our Senior Lending Team has developed what we believe to be an extensive underwriting due diligence process, which includes a review of the operational, financial, legal and industry performance and outlook for the prospective investment, including quantitative and qualitative stress tests, review of industry data and when necessary, consultation with outside experts regarding the creditworthiness of the borrower. These processes continue during the portfolio monitoring process, when we will conduct field examinations, when appropriate, review all compliance certificates and covenants and regularly assess the financial and business conditions and prospects of our borrowers. In addition, SBL, an S&P rated servicer, is a third-party servicer for commercial, SBA 7(a) and other government guaranteed investments, whose exceptional servicing capabilities with compact timelines for loan resolutions and dispositions has attracted various third-party portfolios to SBL. SBL services the loans funded by Newtek Bank, Holdco 6, NSBF and our joint ventures, and provides loan origination and closing services to our joint ventures and affiliates.

Prior Business Development Company History

Our predecessor was formed on June 29, 1999 under the laws of the State of New York and, on November 12, 2014, in connection with our election to be regulated as a BDC, merged with and into us for the purpose of reincorporating under the laws of the State of Maryland.

From November 12, 2014 to January 6, 2023, we operated as a BDC and a RIC. As a BDC, we were required to meet certain regulatory tests, including the requirement to invest at least 70% of our gross assets in “qualifying assets.” In addition, as a BDC, we were not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 150% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 66 2/3% of the value of our total assets). Additionally, as a RIC, we generally did not have to pay corporate-level U.S. federal income taxes on any ordinary income or capital gains that we timely distribute to our shareholders.

Although we maintained our status as a BDC and a RIC through the entirety of our 2022 fiscal and tax years, upon completing the Acquisition, we filed with the SEC Form N-54C, Notification of Withdrawal of Election to be Subject to the 1940 Act, and ceased to be a BDC. As a result, we are no longer subject to regulation as a BDC under the 1940 Act, and no longer qualify for tax treatment as a RIC under the Code.

Regulation and Supervision

General

The U.S. financial services and banking industry is highly regulated. The bank regulatory regime is intended primarily for the protection of customers, the public, the financial system and the DIF, rather than our stockholders or creditors.

The legal and regulatory regime affects virtually all aspects of our operations. Statutes, regulations and policies govern, among other things, the scope of activities that we may conduct and the manner in which we may conduct them; our business plan and growth; our board, management, and risk management infrastructure; the type, terms, and pricing of our products and services; our loan and investment portfolio; our capital and liquidity levels; our reserves against deposits; our ability to pay dividends, repurchase our stock or distribute capital; and our ability to engage in mergers, acquisitions and other strategic initiatives. The legal and regulatory regime is continually under review by legislatures, regulators and other governmental bodies, and changes regularly occur through the enactment or amendment of laws and regulations or through shifts in policy, implementation or enforcement. Changes are difficult to predict and could have significant effects on our business. See “Item 1A Risk Factors - Risks Related to Operating as a Financial Holding Company - The banking industry is highly regulated, and the regulatory framework, together with any future legislative or regulatory changes, may have a significant adverse effect on our operations.”

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The material regulatory requirements that are applicable to us and our subsidiaries are summarized below. The description below, as well as other descriptions of laws and regulations in this Form 10-K, are not intended to summarize all laws and regulations applicable to us and our subsidiaries, and are based upon the statutes, regulations, policies, interpretive letters and other written guidance that are in effect as of the date of this Form 10-K.

Regulatory Framework

We are subject to regulation and supervision by multiple regulatory bodies. As a bank holding company electing financial holding company status, the Company is subject to the BHCA and is subject to ongoing and comprehensive supervision, regulation, examination and enforcement by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve’s jurisdiction also extends to any company that is directly or indirectly controlled by a bank holding company.

As a national bank, Newtek Bank is subject to ongoing and comprehensive supervision, regulation, examination and enforcement by the OCC. The OCC charges fees to national banks, including Newtek Bank, in connection with its supervisory activities.

Newtek Bank’s deposits are insured by the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF) up to applicable legal limits. As an FDIC-insured depository institution, Newtek Bank is subject under certain circumstances to supervision, regulation and examination by the FDIC. The FDIC charges deposit insurance assessments to FDIC-insured institutions, including Newtek Bank, to fund and support the DIF. The rate of these deposit insurance assessments is based on, among other things, the risk characteristics of Newtek Bank. The FDIC has the power to terminate Newtek Bank’s deposit insurance if it determines Newtek Bank is engaging in unsafe or unsound practices. Federal banking laws provide for the appointment of the FDIC as receiver in the event Newtek Bank were to fail, such as in connection with undercapitalization, insolvency, unsafe or unsound condition or other financial distress. In a receivership, the claims of Newtek Bank’s depositors (and those of the FDIC as subrogee of Newtek Bank) would have priority over other general unsecured claims against Newtek Bank.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of total estimated insured deposits grew very rapidly while the funds in the DIF grew at a normal rate, causing the DIF reserve ratio to fall below the statutory minimum of 1.35%. The FDIC adopted a restoration plan in September 2020, which it amended in June 2022, to restore the DIF reserve ratio to at least 1.35% by September 30, 2028. On October 18, 2022, the FDIC adopted a final rule to increase initial base deposit insurance assessment rates for insured depository institutions by 2 basis points, beginning with the first quarterly assessment period of 2023. The increased assessment rate schedules will remain in effect unless and until the reserve ratio of the DIF meets or exceeds 2%. As a result of this rule, the FDIC insurance costs of insured depository institutions, including Newtek Bank, have generally increased.

On November 29, 2023, the FDIC issued a final rule that imposes a special deposit insurance assessment on insured depository institutions in order to recover losses that the DIF has incurred in the receiverships of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. The rule requires the payment of the special assessment over eight quarterly assessment periods beginning in the first quarter of 2024, subject to adjustments if the total amount collected is insufficient to cover the DIF’s costs. Each quarterly special assessment is equal to 3.36 basis points (0.0336%) of the amount of an institution’s estimated uninsured deposits that exceeded $5 billion as of December 31, 2023. As of December 31, 2023, Newtek Bank’s estimated amount of uninsured deposits was $66.5 million and therefore, Newtek Bank is not required to pay any amount of the special assessment.

We are subject to the disclosure and regulatory requirements of the Securities Act and the Exchange Act, both as administered by the SEC. Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “NEWT” and therefore we are also subject to the rules of Nasdaq Global Market for listed companies. We have adopted certain policies and procedures intended to comply with the Nasdaq Global Market’s corporate governance rules. We will continue to monitor our compliance with all future listing standards that are approved by the SEC and will take actions necessary to ensure that we are in compliance therewith. See “Item 1A Risk Factors - Risks Related to Operating as a Financial Holding Company - The banking industry is highly regulated, and the regulatory framework, together with any future legislative or regulatory changes, may have a significant adverse effect on our operations.”

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Broad Powers to Ensure Safety and Soundness

A principal objective of the U.S. bank regulatory system is to ensure the safety and soundness of banking organizations. Safety and soundness is a broad concept that includes financial, operational, compliance and reputational considerations, including matters such as capital, asset quality, quality of board and management oversight, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to market and interest rate risk. As part of its commitment to maintain safety and soundness, at the time we acquired Newtek Bank, Newtek Bank entered into an Operating Agreement with the OCC (the “Operating Agreement”). The Operating Agreement sets forth key parameters within which Newtek Bank must operate, such as with respect to its business plan, minimum capital, minimum liquidity, risk management and compliance.

The banking and financial regulators have broad examination and enforcement authority. The regulators require banking organizations to file detailed periodic reports and regularly examine the operations of banking organizations. Banking organizations that do not meet the regulators’ supervisory expectations can be subjected to increased scrutiny and supervisory criticism. The regulators have various remedies available, which may be public or of a confidential supervisory nature, if they determine that an institution’s condition, management, operations or risk profile is unsatisfactory. The regulators may also take action if they determine that the banking organization or its management is violating or has violated any law or regulation. The regulators have the power to, among other things:

require affirmative actions to correct any violation or practice;

issue administrative orders that can be judicially enforced;

direct increases in capital;

direct the sale of subsidiaries or other assets;

limit dividends and distributions;

restrict growth and activities;

set forth parameters, obligations and/or limitations with respect to the operation of our business;

assess civil monetary penalties;

remove officers and directors; and

terminate deposit insurance.

Engaging in unsafe or unsound practices or failing to comply with applicable laws, regulations and supervisory agreements (including the Operating Agreement) could subject us and our subsidiaries or their officers, directors and institution-affiliated parties to a broad variety of sanctions or remedies, including those described above.

Limits on Activities and Approval Requirements

The BHCA generally restricts the Company’s ability, directly or indirectly, to engage in, or acquire more than 5% of any class of voting securities of a company engaged in activities other than those determined by the Federal Reserve to be so closely related to banking as to be a proper incident thereto. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 authorized a bank holding company that meets specified conditions, including being “well capitalized” and “well managed,” to opt to become a “financial holding company” and thereby engage in a broader array of financial activities than previously permitted. The Company has elected to become a financial holding company, allowing it to engage in a broader array of financial activities than bank holding companies.

The bank regulatory regime, including through the Operating Agreement, requires that we obtain prior approval of one or more regulators for various initiatives or corporate actions, including acquisitions or minority investments, the establishment of branches, certain dividends or capital distributions, and significant deviations from Newtek Bank’s previously approved business plan. Regulators take into account a range of factors in determining whether to grant a requested approval, including the supervisory status of the applicant and its affiliates. Thus, there is no guarantee that a particular proposal by us would receive the required regulatory approvals.
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The CRA requires federal banking regulators, in their review of certain applications by banking organizations, to take into account the applicant’s record in helping meet the credit needs of its community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Newtek Bank is subject to periodic examination under the CRA by the OCC, which will assign ratings based on the methodologies set forth in its regulations and guidance. Less favorable CRA ratings, or concerns raised under the CRA, may adversely affect Newtek Bank’s ability to obtain approval for certain types of applications. Newtek Bank’s latest rating by the OCC under the CRA is “Satisfactory”.

In October 2023, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the OCC issued a joint rule to modernize regulations implementing the CRA. Under the final rules, the agencies will evaluate bank performance across the varied activities they conduct and communities in which they operate. This includes evaluating lending outside traditional assessment areas generated by the growth of non-branch delivery systems, such as online and mobile banking, branchless banking and hybrid models. The final rule adopts a new metrics-based approach to evaluating bank retail lending and community development financing, using benchmarks based on peer and demographic data. The final rule also clarifies eligible CRA activities, such as affordable housing, that are focused on low- and moderate-income, underserved, native and rural communities. Most of the requirements of the final rule take effect January 1, 2026, while the data requirements will take effect January 1, 2027. We are continuing to evaluate the potential impact of the new rule to our business, financial condition and results of operations, which cannot be predicted at this time.

See “Item 1A Risk Factors - Risks Related to Operating as a Financial Holding Company - The banking industry is highly regulated, and the regulatory framework, together with any future legislative or regulatory changes, may have a significant adverse effect on our operations.”

Company as Source of Strength for Newtek Bank

Federal law and Federal Reserve policy require that a bank holding company serve as a source of financial and managerial strength for any FDIC-insured depository institution that it controls. Thus, if Newtek Bank were to be in financial distress or to otherwise be viewed by the regulators as in an unsatisfactory condition, then the regulators could require the Company to provide additional capital or liquidity support, or take other action, in support of Newtek Bank, even if doing so is not otherwise in the best interest of the Company.

Regulatory Capital Requirements and Prompt Corrective Action

The banking regulators view capital levels as important indicators of an institution’s financial soundness. As a general matter, FDIC-insured depository institutions and their holding companies are required to maintain a specified level of capital relative to the amount and types of assets they hold. While capital can serve as an important cushion against losses, higher capital requirements can also adversely affect an institution’s ability to grow and/or increase leverage through deposit-gathering or other sources of funding.

The Company and Newtek Bank are each subject to generally similar capital requirements adopted by the Federal Reserve and the OCC, respectively. These requirements establish required minimum ratios for common equity tier 1 risk-based capital, Tier 1 risk-based capital, total risk-based capital and a Tier 1 leverage ratio; set risk-weighting for assets and certain other items for purposes of the risk-based capital ratios; require an additional capital conservation buffer over the minimum required capital ratios in order to avoid certain limitations on paying dividends, engaging in share repurchases, and paying discretionary bonuses; and define what qualifies as capital for purposes of meeting the capital requirements. Specifically, the capital thresholds in order to be regarded as a well-capitalized institution under the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision standardized approach for U.S. banking organizations are as follows: a common equity tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 6.5%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 8.0%, a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.0% and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 5.0%.

The regulators assess any particular institution’s capital adequacy based on numerous factors and may require a particular banking organization to maintain capital at levels higher than the generally applicable minimums. In this regard, and unless otherwise directed by the OCC, we have made commitments for Newtek Bank to maintain a tier 1 leverage ratio of no less than 10% and a total risk-based capital ratio of 11.5% for the term of the Operating Agreement.

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Act provides for a system of “prompt corrective action” (“PCA”). The PCA regime provides for capitalization categories ranging from “well-capitalized” to “critically undercapitalized.” An institution’s PCA category is determined primarily by its regulatory capital ratios. The PCA regime requires remedial actions and imposes limitations that become increasingly stringent as an institution’s condition deteriorates and its PCA capitalization category declines. Among other things, institutions that are less than well-capitalized become subject to increasingly stringent restrictions on their ability to accept and/or rollover brokered deposits.

In addition to capital requirements, depository institutions are required to maintain non-interest bearing reserves at specified levels against their transaction accounts and certain non-personal time deposits.

Regulatory Limits on Dividends and Distributions

The ability of the Company or Newtek Bank to pay dividends, repurchase stock and make other capital distributions is limited by regulatory capital rules and other aspects of the regulatory regime. For example, a policy statement of the Federal Reserve provides that, among other things, a bank holding company generally should not pay dividends if its net income for the past year is not sufficient to cover both the cash dividends and a rate of earnings retention that is consistent with the company’s capital needs, asset quality, and overall financial condition.

Dividends and capital distributions by Newtek Bank are also limited by the regulatory regimes. For example, the Operating Agreement requires Newtek Bank to be in compliance with certain capital levels before paying a dividend. Other laws and regulations generally applicable to national banks also limit the amount of dividends and capital distributions that may be made by a national bank and/or require prior approval of the OCC.

Federal Home Loan Bank System

Newtek Bank is a member of the FHLB, which consists of 11 regional Federal Home Loan Banks. The FHLB provides a central credit facility primarily for member institutions. Newtek Bank, as a member of the FHLB of Atlanta, is required to acquire and hold shares of capital stock in the FHLB. Newtek Bank is in compliance with this requirement with an investment in FHLB capital stock of $168,400.00 as of December 31, 2023.

Consumer Protection

We are subject to a broad array of federal, state and local laws and regulations that govern almost every aspect of our business relationships with consumers. These laws relate to, among other things, the content and adequacy of disclosures, pricing and fees, fair lending, anti-discrimination, privacy, cybersecurity, usury, mortgages and housing finance, lending to service members, escheatment, debt collection, loan servicing, collateral secured lending, and unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.

The CFPB is generally responsible for rulemaking with respect to certain federal laws related to the provision of financial products and services to consumers. In addition, the CFPB has examination and primary enforcement authority with respect to federal consumer financial protection laws with respect to banking organizations with assets of $10 billion or more. Newtek Bank has assets less than $10 billion; therefore, we are not currently subject to the examination and enforcement jurisdiction of the CFPB. However, many consumer protection rules adopted or amended by the CFPB do apply to us and are the subject of examination and enforcement with respect to us by the OCC.

If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we may be subject to significant penalties, judgments, other monetary or injunctive remedies, lawsuits (including putative class action lawsuits and actions by state and local attorneys general or other officials), customer rescission rights, supervisory or enforcement actions, and civil or criminal liability. See “Item 1A Risk Factors - Risks Related to Operating as a Financial Holding Company - The banking industry is highly regulated, and the regulatory framework, together with any future legislative or regulatory changes, may have a significant adverse effect on our operations.”

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Anti-Money Laundering, Sanctions and Financial Crime

We are subject to a wide range of laws related to anti-money laundering, economic sanctions and prevention of financial crime, including the Bank Secrecy Act, the USA PATRIOT Act and economic sanctions programs. We are required to, among other things, maintain an effective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist compliance program, identify and file suspicious activity and currency transaction reports, and block transactions with sanctioned persons or jurisdictions. Compliance with these laws requires significant investment of management attention and resources. These laws are enforced by a number of regulatory authorities, including the Federal Reserve, OCC, Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Internal Revenue Service. Failure to comply with these laws, or to meet our regulators’ supervisory expectations in connection with these laws, could subject us to supervisory or enforcement action, significant financial penalties, criminal liability and/or reputational harm.

Third-Party Relationship Risk Management

We utilize third-party service providers to perform a wide range of operations and other functions, which may present various risks. Our regulators will expect us to maintain an effective program for managing risk arising from third-party relationships, which should be commensurate with the level of risk and complexity of our business and our third-party relationships. If not managed effectively, the use of third-party service providers may expose us to risks that could result in regulatory action, financial loss, litigation and reputational harm. On June 6, 2023, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and the OCC issued final guidance providing sound principles that support a risk-based approach to third-party risk management.

Privacy, Information Technology and Cybersecurity

We are subject to various laws related to the privacy of consumer information. For example, we and our subsidiaries are required under federal law periodically to disclose to their retail clients our policies and practices with respect to the sharing of nonpublic client information with their affiliates and others, and the confidentiality and security of that information. In some cases, Newtek Bank must obtain a consumer’s consent before sharing information with an unaffiliated third party, and Newtek Bank must allow a consumer to opt out of Newtek Bank’s sharing of information with its affiliates for marketing and certain other purposes. We are also subject to laws and regulatory requirements related to information technology and cybersecurity. For example, the FFIEC, which is a council comprised of the primary federal banking regulators, has issued guidance and supervisory expectations for banking organizations with respect to information technology and cybersecurity. In addition, the SEC recently enacted rules, effective as of December 18, 2023, requiring public companies to disclose material cybersecurity incidents that they experience on Form 8-K within four business days of determining that a material cybersecurity incident has occurred and to disclose on annual basis material information regarding their cybersecurity risk management, strategy and governance. Our regulators will regularly examine us for compliance with applicable laws, and adherence to industry best practices, with respect to these topics. For example, they will evaluate our security of user and customer credentials, business continuity planning, and the ability to identify and thwart cyber-attacks.

State regulators have also been increasingly active in implementing privacy and cybersecurity standards and regulations. Recently, several states have adopted regulations requiring certain financial institutions to implement cybersecurity programs and providing detailed requirements with respect to these programs, including data encryption requirements. Many states have also recently implemented or modified their data breach notification and data privacy requirements. For example, the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 became fully operative on January 1, 2023. We expect this trend of state-level activity in those areas to continue, and are continually monitoring developments in the states in which our clients are located.

Limitations on Transactions with Affiliates and Loans to Insiders

Banks are subject to restrictions on their ability to conduct transactions with affiliates and other related parties under federal banking laws. For example, federal banking laws impose quantitative limits, qualitative requirements, and collateral standards on certain extensions of credit and other transactions by an insured depository institution with, or for the benefit of, its affiliates. In addition, most types of transactions by an insured depository institution with, or for the benefit of, an affiliate must be on terms substantially the same or at least as favorable to the insured depository institution as if the transaction were conducted with an unaffiliated third party. Federal banking laws also impose restrictions and procedural requirements in connection with the extension of credit by an insured depository institution to directors, executive officers, principal stockholders (including the Company) and their related interests. In addition, purchases and sales of assets between an insured depository institution and its executive officers, directors, and principal stockholders may also be limited under such laws. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act generally prohibits loans by public companies to their executive officers and directors. However, there is a specific exception for loans by financial institutions, such as Newtek Bank, to its executive officers and directors that are made in compliance with federal
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banking laws.

Acquisition of a Significant Interest in the Company

Banking laws impose various regulatory requirements on parties that may seek to acquire a significant interest in the Company. For example, the Change in Bank Control Act of 1978 would generally require that any party file a formal notice with, and obtain non-objection of, the Federal Reserve prior to acquiring (directly or indirectly, whether alone or acting in concert with any other party) 10% or more of any class of voting securities of the Company. Further approval requirements and significant ongoing regulatory consequences would apply to any company that (directly or indirectly, whether alone or as part of an association with another company) seeks to acquire “control” of the Company or Newtek Bank for purposes of the BHCA. The determination whether a party “controls” a depository institution or its holding company for purposes of these laws is based on applicable regulations and all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the investment. See “Item 1A Risk Factors - Risks Related to Operating as a Financial Holding Company - Federal law may discourage certain acquisitions of our common stock which could have a material adverse effect on our shareholders.”

Effect on Economic Environment

The policies of regulatory authorities, including the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve, have a significant effect on the operating results of bank holding companies and their subsidiaries. Among the means available to the Federal Reserve to affect the money supply are open market operations in U.S. government securities, changes in the discount rate on borrowings and changes in reserve requirements with respect to deposits. These means are used in varying combinations to influence overall growth and distribution of bank loans, investments and deposits, and their use may affect interest rates charged on loans or paid for deposits. The Federal Reserve monetary policies have materially affected the operating results of commercial banks in the past and are expected to continue to do so in the future. Although we conduct stress tests to measure and prepare for the impact of potential changes in monetary policy, we cannot predict with certainty the nature of future monetary policies and the effect of such policies on our business and earnings.

NSBF’s Regulation as a Small Business Lending Company and the Transition of SBA 7(a) Lending to Newtek Bank

Our wholly-owned subsidiary, NSBF, is licensed by the SBA as an SBLC that originated loans through the SBA 7(a) Program. As a result of the Acquisition, all SBA 7(a) loan originations were transitioned to Newtek Bank in April 2023, and NSBF ceased the origination of SBA 7(a) loans, relinquished its PLP status and is winding-down its operations. During this wind down process, NSBF is required to continue to own the SBA 7(a) loans and PPP Loans in its SBA loan portfolio to maturity, liquidation, charge-off, or (subject to SBA’s prior written approval), sale or transfer. NSBF is further required to continue to service and liquidate its SBA loan portfolio, including processing forgiveness and loan reviews for PPP Loans, pursuant to an SBA approved lender service provider agreement with SBL. During the wind down process, NSBF is required to maintain minimum capital requirements established by the SBA, required to maintain certain amounts of restricted cash available to meet any obligations to the SBA, and has restrictions on its ability to make dividends and distributions to its parent, and will remain liable to SBA for post-purchase denials and repairs, from the proceeds generated by NSBF’s SBA loan portfolio. The Company has guaranteed NSBF’s obligations to the SBA and has funded a $10 million account at Newtek Bank to secure these potential obligations. Any future post-purchase denials and repairs demands on NSBF could negatively impact our results of operations.

Newtek Bank has been granted PLP status. The SBA grants PLP status to certain lenders originating SBA 7(a) loans based on achievement of certain standards in lending which are regularly monitored by the SBA. As a Preferred Lender, Newtek Bank is authorized to place SBA guarantees on SBA 7(a) loans without seeking prior SBA review and approval. Designated PLP lenders are delegated the authority to process, close, service, and liquidate most SBA guaranteed loans without prior SBA review. PLP lenders are authorized to make SBA guaranteed loans, subject only to a brief eligibility review and assignment of a loan number by SBA. In addition, PLP lenders are expected to handle servicing and liquidation of all of their SBA loans with limited involvement of SBA. If Newtek Bank fails to maintain PLP status, it would have a material adverse impact on Newtek Bank’s ability to originate SBA 7(a) loans at NSBF’s historic levels. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - There can be no guarantee that Newtek Bank and NSBF will be able to maintain their SBA 7(a) lending licenses.”

Pursuant to the SBA’s regulations, the SBA is released from liability on its guaranty of an SBA 7(a) loan and may, in its sole discretion, refuse to honor a guaranty purchase request in full or in part, or recover all or part of the funds already paid in connection with a guaranty purchase, if the lender failed to comply materially with a SBA Loan Program Requirement; failed to make, close, service or liquidate the loan in a prudent manner; placed the SBA at risk through improper action or inaction; failed to disclose a material fact to the SBA in a timely manner; or misrepresented a material fact to the SBA regarding the loan. In certain instances, the SBA may refuse to honor a guaranty purchase request in full (referred to by the SBA as a “denial”) or in part (referred to by the SBA as a “repair”), or recover all or part of the funds already paid in connection with a guaranty purchase. In the event of a repair or denial, liability on the guaranty, in whole or in part, would be transferred to NSBF or
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Newtek Bank as the originator of the loan, as the case may be. Even though NSBF has ceased originating new SBA 7(a) loans, it has retained and may be exposed to repair and denial liability to the SBA for SBA 7(a) loans in NSBF’s portfolio. The incurrence of repairs and denials while NSBF is no longer generating income from the sales of guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans can have a material negative impact on our financial results and liquidity. In addition, changes in SBA regulations and economic factors may adversely impact NSBF’s or Newtek Bank’s repair and denial rates. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - NSBF and Newtek Bank, our wholly-owned subsidiaries, are subject to regulation by the SBA, which has specific risks.”

In connection with NSBF’s 2018 examination by the SBA, NSBF entered into a voluntary agreement with the SBA pursuant to NSBF’s commitment to operate under the SBA Loan Program Requirements. Consistent with the terms of the agreement, NSBF has established a segregated restricted cash account in the amount of $10 million to account for potential post-purchase repairs and denials of guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans, and agreed to take certain actions to, among other things, demonstrate the sufficiency of NSBF’s liquidity.

On March 30, 2023, the CFPB finalized a rule under Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act requiring lenders to collect and report data regarding small business lending activity.

We are evaluating the impact of this new rule. The rule was scheduled to take effect on August 29, 2023, and would have required compliance by October 1, 2024, April 1, 2025, or January 1, 2026, depending on the number of covered small business loans that a covered lender originates. On July 31, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas enjoined the CFPB from implementing and enforcing the rule with respect to American Bankers Association members, which includes the Company, pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of the constitutionality of the CFPB’s funding structure in a separate case.

Lending Activities

We engage in various business and lending strategies in order to achieve our overall business objectives. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors – Risks Relating to Our Business and Structure.”

Lending Opportunity Characteristics

We have and will continue to target loans that generate both current income and capital appreciation. In each case, the following criteria and guidelines are applied to the review of a potential lending opportunity; however, not all criteria are met in every single loan, nor do we guarantee that all criteria will be met in the loans we will make in the future. We have and will continue to limit our lending to the independent business owner/SMB market.

Experienced Management with Meaningful Investment. We seek to lend to businesses in which senior or key managers have significant company-or industry-level experience and have significant equity ownership. We have found that these more seasoned managers are more committed to the businesses’ success and more likely to manage the business in a manner that protects our investments.

Significant Invested Capital. We believe that the existence of an appropriate amount of equity in the businesses we lend to provides valuable support for our loans. In addition, the degree to which the particular loan is a meaningful one for the businesses’ owners (and their ability and willingness to invest additional equity capital as and to the extent necessary) are also important considerations.

Appropriate Capital Structures. We seek to lend to businesses that are appropriately capitalized. First, we examine the amount of equity that is being invested by the business’ equity owners to determine whether there is a sufficient capital cushion beneath our loans. We also analyze the amount of senior debt and collateral with lien priority over the loan. A key consideration is a strong balance sheet and sufficient historical or projected free cash flow to service any debt we may invest.

Strong Competitive Position. We seek to lend to businesses that have developed strong, defensible product or service offerings within their respective market segment(s). These businesses should be well positioned to capitalize on organic and strategic growth opportunities, and should compete in industries with strong fundamentals and meaningful barriers to entry. We further analyze prospective lending opportunities in order to identify competitive advantages within their industry, which may result in superior operating margins or industry-leading growth.

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Customer and Supplier Diversification. We expect to lend to businesses with sufficiently diverse customer and supplier bases. We believe these businesses will be better able to endure industry consolidation, economic contraction and increased competition than those that are not sufficiently diversified. However, we also recognize that from time to time, an attractive lending opportunity with some concentration among its customer base or supply chain will present itself. We believe that concentration issues can be evaluated and, in some instances (whether due to supplier or customer product or platform diversification, the existence and quality of long-term agreements with such customers or suppliers or other select factors), mitigated, thus presenting a superior risk-weighted pricing scenario.

We target our loans made through our business finance ecosystem under the SBA 7(a) program, to produce generally, a coupon rate of prime plus 3.0% to 6.50% which enables us to generate rapid sales of the guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans in the secondary market, which have historically produced gains and a yield on investment in excess of 30%.

Collateral and Sources of Repayment. We typically structure our loans with the maximum seniority and collateral along with personal guarantees from business owners, in many cases collateralized by other assets including real estate. In most cases, our loans will be collateralized by a first lien on the assets of the business and a first or second lien on assets of guarantors, in both cases primarily real estate. All SBA 7(a) loans are made with personal guarantees from any owner(s) of 20% or more of the business’ equity. As of December 31, 2023, substantially all of our SBA 7(a) loans at fair value consisted of loans that were secured by first or second priority liens on the assets of the business.

First Lien Loans. Our first lien loans generally have terms of one to 25 years, provide for a variable interest rate, contain no prepayment penalties (however, the SBA will charge the borrower a prepayment fee if the loan has a maturity of 15 or more years and is prepaid during the first three years) and are secured by a first priority security interest in all existing and future assets of the borrower. Our first lien loans may take many forms, including revolving lines of credit, term loans.

Second Lien Loans. Our second lien loans generally have terms of five to 25 years, also primarily provide for a variable interest rate, contain no prepayment penalties (however, the SBA will charge the borrower a prepayment fee if the loan has a maturity of 15 or more years and is prepaid during the first three years) and are secured by a second priority security interest in all existing and future assets of the borrower. We typically take second lien positions on additional collateral when first lien positions exist. All loans are secured by a lien on all available collateral of the business or any owner 20% or greater.

We typically structure our loans to include non-financial covenants that seek to minimize our risk of capital loss such as lien protection and prohibitions against change of control. Our loans are typically structured to have strong protections, including default penalties, information rights and, in some cases, affirmative, negative and financial covenants.

In addition to loans originated under the SBA 7(a) program. our Newtek Lending Platform includes the following loan products originated by Newtek Bank: SBA 504 loans, C&I loans (including ABL and owner occupied CRE and investor CRE). In addition, our alternative lending program loans (formerly referred to as non-conforming conventional loans) are originated by NewtekOne nonbank subsidiaries and joint ventures.

SBA 504 loans provide long-term fixed rate financing for major fixed assets such as real estate or equipment. The maximum loan amount for a SBA 504 loan is $5.5 million.

C&I Lending, CRE Lending and ABL. Newtek Bank provides C&I loans, which includes ABL and owner occupied CRE and investor CRE loans, to its commercial customers.

For more information, see “ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

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Equity Investments to Expand or Enhance the NewtekOne Business and Financial Solutions Ecosystem

While the vast majority of our lending opportunities have been structured as loans, we have in the past and expect in the future to make selective equity investments primarily as either strategic investments to enhance the integrated operating platform or, to a lesser degree, under the Capco programs. Historically, for investments in our subsidiaries, we focused more on tailoring them to the long-term growth needs of the companies than to immediate return. Our objective with these companies was to foster the development of the businesses as a part of the integrated operational platform of serving the independent business owner market, so we may have sought to reduce the burden on these companies to enable them to grow faster than they would otherwise as another means of supporting their development and that of the integrated whole.

In Capco investments, we have made debt investments in conjunction with being granted equity in the company in the same class of security as the business owner receives upon funding. We have generally sought to structure our equity investments to provide us with minority rights provisions and event-driven put rights.

Loan Origination Process

The following discussion relates to the Company’s loan origination selection process in connection with SBA 7(a) lending. For more information, see “Item 7— Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The members of our Senior Lending Team and our executive officers are responsible for all aspects of our loan origination selection process. The discussion below describes our procedures. The stages of our selection process for loan originations are as follows:

Loan and Deal Generation/Origination

We believe that the combination of our brand, our portal, our patented NewTracker® technology, and our web presence as Your Business Solutions Company® have created an extensive loan and deal sourcing infrastructure. This is maximized through long-standing and extensive relationships with industry contacts, commercial and investment bankers, entrepreneurs, services providers (such as lawyers and accountants), as well as current and former clients and our extensive network of strategic alliance partners. We supplement our relationships by the selective use of advertising aimed primarily at lending to the SMB market. We believe we have developed a reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable source of capital, providing value-added advice, prompt processing, and management and operations support to our clients.

We market our business and financial solutions through referrals from our alliance partners such as Stifel Bank, Axiom Bank, Credit Union National Association, ENT Federal Credit Union, Legacy Bank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Flagstar Bank, Raymond James, Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union, UBS, Meineke Dealers Purchasing Cooperative, Regions Bank, Hartford Insurance, Bank United, US Century Bank, Anderson Capital Advisors, Transworld Business Advisors, Army Navy Federal Credit Union, Teachers Federal Credit Union, Spire Federal Credit Union, Aamco, 1800 Accountants, and True Value Company, among others using our patented NewTracker® referral system as well as direct referrals from our web presence, www.newtekone.com. The patent for our NewTracker® referral system is a software application patent covering the systems and methods for tracking, reporting and performing processing activities and transactions in association with referral data and related information for a variety of product and service offerings in a business-to-business environment providing further for security and transparency between referring parties. NewTracker® allows us and our alliance partners to review in real time the status of any referral as well as to provide real time compliance oversight by the respective alliance partner, which we believe creates confidence between the referred business client, the referring alliance partner and us.

Additional deal sourcing and referrals are obtained from individual professionals in geographic markets that have signed up to provide referrals and earn commissions through our BizExec and TechExec Programs. The BizExecs and TechExecs are traditionally information technology professionals, CPAs, independent insurance agents and sales and/or marketing professionals. In addition, electronic payment processing services are marketed through independent sales representatives and web technology and eCommerce services are marketed through internet-based marketing and third-party resellers. A common thread across all business lines of our subsidiaries and subsidiaries relates to acquiring customers at low cost. We seek to bundle our marketing efforts through our brand, our portal, NewTracker®, our web presence as Your Business Solutions Company® and one easy entry point of contact. We expect that this approach will allow us to continue to cross-sell the business and financial solutions of our subsidiaries and subsidiaries to our customers and customers of our subsidiaries, and to build upon our extensive deal sourcing infrastructure.

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Screening

We screen all potential loan opportunities that we receive for suitability and consistency with our underwriting criteria. See “Lending Opportunity Characteristics,” above. In screening potential loan opportunities, our Senior Lending Team and our executive officers utilize a value-oriented lending philosophy and commit resources to managing downside exposure. If a potential lending opportunity meets our basic underwriting criteria, a business service specialist or other member of our team is assigned to perform preliminary due diligence.

SBA Lending Procedures

Newtek Bank originates (and prior to January 6, 2023, for 20 years NSBF originated) loans under the SBA 7(a) Program (authorized by section 7(a) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 636(a)), in accordance with our credit and underwriting policy, which incorporates by reference the applicable regulations and the SBA Standard Operating Procedures, Lender and Development Company Loan Program (“SOP 50 10 and 50 57”) (collectively, “SBA Loan Program Requirements”) as they relate to the financing and servicing of such loans. Following the Acquisition, NBSF continues to service its current portfolio of SBA 7(a) loans via a lender servicer provider agreement with SBL, and new SBA 7(a) loan originations are being made by Newtek Bank. However, there can be no guarantee that Newtek Bank and NSBF will be able to maintain their SBA 7(a) lending licenses. See “Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - There can be no guarantee that Newtek Bank and NSBF will be able to maintain their SBA 7(a) lending licenses.”

During the initial application process for a loan originated under the SBA 7(a) Program, a NewtekOne business service specialist assists and guides the applicant through the application process, beginning with the submission of an online form through our customized loan portal. The online loan processing system collects required information and ensures that all necessary forms are provided to the applicant and filled out. The system conducts automatic screenings that focus primarily on whether (i) the requested loan is for an eligible purpose, (ii) the requested loan is for an eligible amount and (iii) the applicant is an eligible borrower. If the applicant is eligible to fill out the entire application, the online system pre-qualifies the applicant based on preset credit parameters meeting the standards of the Company and the SBA.

Once the online form and the application materials are completed, our underwriting department (the “Underwriting Department”) becomes primarily responsible for reviewing and analyzing the application in order to accurately assess the level of risk that would be undertaken in making a loan. The Underwriting Department is responsible for assuring that all information necessary to prudently analyze the risk associated with a loan application has been obtained and considered. Credit files are developed and maintained with the documentation received during the application process in such a manner as to facilitate file review during subsequent developments during the life of the loan.

Required Information

For a loan originated under the SBA 7(a) Program, the primary application document to assess eligibility is SBA Form 1919 (Borrower Information Form) (“Form 1919”). Among other things, Form 1919 requires identifying information about the applicant, loan request, indebtedness, principals, beneficial owners, current and/or previous government financing, and certain other certifications used to determine the applicant’s eligibility. For loans submitted using a Lender’s delegated authority, the Lender may now accept the eligibility information provided by the applicant as true when submitting a loan to SBA for validation using the newly implemented Risk Mitigation Framework.

In addition to Form 1919, the following additional information is required in order for our Underwriting Department to have the necessary information to make a decision on the loan application::

an SBA Form 413 (Personal Financial Statement), signed and dated with 120 days of submission to the SBA, for all owners of 20% or more (including the assets of the owner’s spouse and any minor children), and proposed guarantors;

tax transcripts in accordance with SBA Loan Program Requirements and either business financial statements or tax returns for the prior three years for the applicant and any affiliates, dated within 120 days prior to submission to SBA. Financials should consist of (a) year-end balance sheets for the last three years, including detailed debt schedule, (b) year-end profit & loss (P&L) statements for the last three years, (c) reconciliation of net worth, (d) interim balance sheet, including a detailed debt schedule, and (e) interim P&L statements;

formation documents for all obligor entities to validate existence and structure;

the applicant’s original business license or certificate of doing business;
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records of any loans the applicant may have applied for in the past;

signed personal and business U.S. federal income tax returns of the principals of the applicant’s business for previous three years;

personal resumes for each principal;

a brief history of the business and its challenges, including an explanation of why the SBA loan is needed and how it will help the business;

a copy of the applicant’s business lease, or note from the applicant’s landlord, giving terms of proposed lease; and

if purchasing an existing business, (a) current balance sheet and P&L statement of business to be purchased, (b) previous two years’ U.S. federal income tax returns of the business, (c) proposed Bill of Sale including Terms of Sale, and (d) asking price with schedule of inventory, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures.

We view current financial information as the foundation of sound credit analysis. To that end, verification of all business income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service is required, and after the loan closes, we request financial statements be submitted on an annual basis. For business entities or business guarantors, we request U.S. federal income tax returns for each fiscal year-end to meet the prior three-year submission requirement. For interim periods, management-prepared financial statements are accepted. The most recent financial information may not be more than 120 days old at the time of submission to the SBA for approval of the loan, but we generally request that the most recent financial information not be older than 90 days in order to provide time for underwriting and submission to SBA for guaranty approval, if required. For individuals or personal guarantors, we require a personal financial statement dated within 120 days of the application (sixty days is preferred) and personal income tax returns for the prior three years. In connection with each yearly update of business financial information, the personal financial information of each principal must also be updated. Spouses are required to sign all personal financial statements in order for the Underwriting Department to verify compliance with the SBA’s personal resource test. In addition, the Underwriting Department will ensure that there has been no adverse impact on the financial condition of the applicant or its principals since the approval of the loan. If closing does not occur within ninety days of the date on which the loan is approved, updated business and personal financial statements must be obtained and any adverse change must be addressed before the proceeds of the loan may be disbursed. If closing does not occur within six months of the date on which the loan is approved, the applicant is generally required to reapply for the loan.

Stress Test

The standard underwriting process requires a stress test on the applicant’s interest rate to gauge the amount of increase that the applicant’s cash flow can withstand and still provide sufficient cash to service the debt. The applicant’s cash flow is tested up to a 2% increase in interest rate. If the applicant’s debt service coverage ratio decreases to 1:1 or less than 1:1, the loan may only be made as an exception to our Underwriting Guidelines and would require the approval of our credit committee.

Required Site Visit

No loan will be funded without an authorized representative of Newtek Bank first making a site visit to the business premises. We generally use a contracted vendor to make the required site visit but may from time to time send our own employees to perform this function. Each site visit will generate a narrative of the business property as well as photographs of the business property. Additional site visits will be made when a physical on-site inspection is warranted.

Credit Assessment of Applicant

Loan requests are assessed primarily based upon an analysis of the character, cash flow, capital, liquidity and collateral involved in the transaction.

Character: We require a personal credit report to be obtained on any principal or guarantor involved in a loan transaction. Emphasis is placed upon the importance of individual credit histories, as this is a primary indicator of an individual’s willingness and ability to repay debt. Any material negative credit information must be explained in writing by the principal, and must be attached to the personal credit report in the credit file. No loan will be made where an individual’s credit history calls into question the repayment ability of the business operation. A loan request from an applicant who has declared bankruptcy within the ten years preceding the loan application will require special consideration. A thorough review of the facts
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behind the bankruptcy and impact on creditors will be undertaken in determining whether the principal has demonstrated the necessary willingness and ability to repay debts. In addition, we will examine whether the applicant and its principals and guarantors have abided by the laws of their community. Any situation where a serious question concerning a principal’s character exists will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Unresolved character issues are grounds for declining a loan request regardless of the applicant’s financial condition or performance.

Cash Flow: We recognize that cash flow is the primary and desired source of repayment on any loan, and therefore is the primary focus of the credit decision. Any transaction in which the repayment is not reasonably assured through cash flow will be declined, regardless of other possible credit strengths. At a minimum, combined EBITDA will be used to evaluate repayment ability. Other financial analysis techniques will be employed as needed to establish the reasonableness of repayment. Where repayment is based on past experience, the applicant must demonstrate minimum combined cash flow coverage of 1.15 times based upon the most recent fiscal year-end financial statement. A determination of the ability to repay will not be based solely upon interim operating results. Where repayment ability is not evident from historical combined earnings (including new businesses and changes of ownership), projections will be analyzed to determine whether repayment ability is reasonably assured. For changes in ownership, monthly cash flow forecasts will be analyzed to determine adequacy to meet all of the borrower’s needs.

For business acquisition applications, the applicant will be required to submit projections and support such projections by detailed assumptions made for all major revenue and expense categories and an explanation of how the projections will be met. Analysis must include comparisons with relevant Risk Management Association (“RMA”) industry averages. EBITDA must be reasonably forecast to exceed debt service requirements by at least 1.15 times, after accounting for the initial phase of operations. For change of ownership applications, projections will also be measured against the actual historical financial results of the seller of the business concern. Projections must demonstrate repayment ability of not less than 1.15 times.

Capital: Capital is a strong traditional indicator of the financial health of a business. For going concern entities, the pro-forma leverage position, as measured by the debt to tangible net worth ratio, may not exceed the RMA industry median or 4 to 1, whichever is greater. For change of ownership transactions, generally 25% of total project costs should be contributed as equity resulting in debt to tangible net worth ratio of 3 to 1.

In determining the legitimacy of the business value, the loan underwriter reviews a third-party valuation prepared by a Company approved valuation firm. If the business value is found to be acceptable, and the equity injection into the project is within our requirements as outlined herein, then the capital position will be considered satisfactory.

As a general rule, shareholder and affiliate loans may be added back to net worth only if such loans will be subordinated for the life of the SBA loan, with no principal or interest payments to be made. Financing by the seller of the business may also be considered as equity if the loan will be placed on full standby for the life of the SBA loan. Adjustments to net worth to account for the difference between the book value and appraised value of fixed assets may be made only when supported by a current appraisal. Appraisals on a “subject to” basis are not acceptable.

Liquidity: Liquidity, as measured by the current ratio, must be in line with the RMA industry average. An assessment of the adequacy of working capital is required. An assessment of the liquidity of a business is essential in determining the ability to meet future obligations. Lending to cash businesses such as hotels and restaurants requires less analysis of the liquidity of the business due to the timing of cash receipts. Industries with large receivables, payables, and inventory accounts require thorough review of the cash cycle of the business and evaluation of the applicant’s ability to manage these accounts. The current and quick ratios and turnover of receivables, payables and inventory are measured against the RMA industry median in determining the adequacy of these liquidity measures.

Collateral: We are required to reasonably secure each loan transaction with all worthwhile and available assets. Pursuant to SBA SOP 50 10, we may not (and will not) decline a loan if the only weakness in the application is the value of collateral in relation to the loan amount, provided that all assets available to the business and its principals have been pledged. As set forth in SBA SOP 50 10, the SBA considers a loan to be fully secured if the lender has taken a security interest in all available fixed assets with a combined “net book value” adjusted up to the loan amounts below. For 7(a) loans, “fixed assets” means real estate, including land and structures and machinery and equipment owned by the business. “Net book value” is defined as an asset’s original price minus depreciation and amortization.

We attempt to secure each loan transaction with as much real estate and liquid asset collateral as necessary; however, all fixed assets must be evaluated. Fixed assets are evaluated on the basis of the net book value to determine the realizable value among collateral types. Valuation factors are applied as follows:

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Commercial real estate — 75%

Residential real estate — 85%

Vacant land — 50%

Machinery & Equipment — 50%

Furniture & Fixtures — 10%

Accounts receivable & inventory —10%

Leasehold improvements — 5%

Certificate of Deposit — 100%

Regulated Licenses — will vary dependent upon type of license and geographic area. The liquidation rate used must be fully justified.

In addition to an assessment of the criteria specified above, there are certain special industry-specific requirements that will be considered in the loan application decision.

Change of Ownership: The minimum equity injection required in a change of ownership transaction is 10%.

In the event of financing from the seller of the business, the applicant must inject not less than 10% of the project cost; the seller of the business may provide the balance on a complete standby basis for the life of the SBA loan. Exceptions to the equity requirement are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

For a change of ownership transaction, the application must be accompanied by a business plan including reasonable financial projections. The financial performance of the seller of the business must be evaluated based upon three years of corporate income tax returns and a current interim financial statement. Projections for the applicant must be in line with the historical financial performance at the business location. In cases where financial performance of the seller of the business is poor, a satisfactory explanation must be provided to detail the circumstances of performance. Projections for the applicant must be accompanied by detailed assumptions and be supported by information contained in the business plan.

Management should have related experience in the industry and demonstrate the ability to successfully operate the business. In the absence of satisfactory related experience, an assessment of management’s experience and capabilities, given the complexity and nature of the business, will be made. In the case of a franchise, we will generally take into account the reputation of a franchisor for providing worthwhile management assistance to its franchisees.

We carefully review change of ownership transactions. The loan underwriter will review the contract for sale, which will be included in the credit file. The contract for sale must include a complete breakdown of the purchase price, which must be justified through either a third party appraisal or directly by the loan underwriter through an approved valuation method specified in SBA SOP 50 10. The contract of sale must evidence an arm’s length transaction (but transactions between related parties are permitted so long as they are on an arm’s-length basis) which will preserve the existence of the small business or promote its sound development. In addition, a satisfactory reason for the sale of the business must be provided. The seller of the business must provide the prior three years of business tax returns and a current interim financial statement, as applicable.

As part of due diligence for a change of ownership transaction, the closing department will order and review lien searches run on the seller as well as the borrower/buyer. If such a search identifies any adverse information or unexpected liens, the credit will be referred back to underwriting so that a prudent credit decision may be made on the application in light of the new information.

Real Estate Transactions: Loan proceeds for the acquisition or refinancing of land or an existing building or for renovation or reconstruction of an existing building must meet the following criteria:

the property must be at least 51% owner-occupied pursuant to SBA policies; and

loan proceeds may not be used to remodel or convert any rental space in the property.
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For new construction, the applicant must occupy 60% of the rentable property, may permanently lease to a third party up to 20% and temporarily lease an additional 20% with the intention of using some of the additional 20% within 3 years and all of it within 10 years.

Newtek Bank’s policy regarding the use of real estate appraisals and environmental reports is intended to provide for a secure, orderly and independent process for the ordering, receipt and approval of independent valuation and environmental reports. Commercial real estate appraisals are required on all primary collateral prior to the loan closing. In general, appraisals will be required as follows:

For loans greater than $500,000 secured by commercial real property; or

For loans $500,000 or less secured by commercial real property, an appraisal will be required if such appraisal is necessary for appropriate evaluation of creditworthiness.

The appraiser must be either State-licensed or State-certified (except when the property’s estimated value is over $1,000,000, when the appraiser must be State-certified) and the appraisal report must conform to Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP);

Appraisal reviews are required for all commercial real estate with an appraised value of $500,000 or more conducted by a licensed/certified and independent MAI appraiser.

An environmental investigation is performed of all commercial properties upon which a security interest such as a mortgage, deed of trust, or leasehold deed of trust is offered as security for a loan or debenture when SBA loan proceeds are used to acquire, refinance, or improve the real estate.

The type and depth of an environmental investigation to be performed varies with the risks of Contamination.

In general, environmental reports are required as follows:

If there is a NAICS code match to an environmentally sensitive industry identified in the applicable Appendix of SBA SOP 50 10, the environmental investigation must begin with a Phase I, regardless of the amount of the loan. If the NAICS code begins with 457 (gas stations with or without convenience stores), the environmental investigation must begin with a Phase I and the SBA lender must also refer to and, if applicable, comply with “Environmental Investigation Requirements for Gas Station Loans” in the applicable Appendix of SBA SOP 50 10;

If there is not a NAICS code match to an environmentally sensitive industry, or if the property is a unit in a multi-unit building, the SBA lender must proceed as follows:
If the loan amount is up to and including $250,000, the environmental investigation may begin with an environmental questionnaire.
If the loan amount is more than $250,000, the environmental investigation must, at a minimum, begin with an environmental questionnaire and records search with risk assessment.

Medical Professionals: In connection with a loan application relating to the financing of a medical business, all medical licenses will be verified, with the loss or non-renewal of license constituting grounds for denial of the application. In addition, medical professionals must provide evidence of malpractice liability insurance of at least $2.0 million or the loan amount, whichever is higher. Malpractice insurance must be maintained for the life of the loan.

Credit Package

For each loan application, the loan underwriter will prepare a credit package (the “Credit Package”). All credit and collateral issues are addressed in the Credit Package, including but not limited to, the terms and conditions of the loan request, use of proceeds, collateral adequacy, financial condition of the applicant and business, management strength, repayment ability and conditions precedent. The Underwriting Department will recommend approval, denial or modification of the loan application. The Credit Package is submitted to our credit committee for further review and final decision regarding the loan application.

Other than rejections for ineligibility of the applicant, the type of business or the loan purpose, we may decline a loan application for the following reasons:

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after taking into consideration prior liens and considered along with other credit factors, the net value of the collateral offered as security is not sufficient to protect the interest of the U.S. Government;

lack of reasonable assurance of ability to repay loan (and other obligations) from earnings;

lack of reasonable assurance that the business can be operated at a rate of profit sufficient to repay the loan (and other obligations) from earnings;

disproportion of loan requested and of debts to tangible net worth before and after the loan;

inadequate working capital after the disbursement of the loan;

the result of granting the financial assistance requested would be to replenish funds distributed to the owners, partners, or shareholders;

the major portion of the loan requested would be to refinance existing indebtedness presently financed through normal lending channels;

credit commensurate with applicant’s tangible net worth is already being provided on terms considered reasonable;

gross disproportion between owner’s actual investment and the loan requested;

lack of reasonable assurance that applicant will comply with the terms of the loan agreement;

unsatisfactory experience on an existing loan; or

economic or physical injury not substantiated.

If a loan application is accepted, we enter the terms and conditions of the proposed SBA 7(a) loan into SBA’s ETRAN portal for review and approval. SBA will take on the responsibility for verification of the applicant eligibility requirements using SBA’s Risk Mitigation Framework, which uses processes in place across the financial services industry. SBA’s Risk Mitigation Framework will conduct compliance checks and should an error code be returned, we must clear the code in order to proceed. Once the code is cleared and SBA has issued an SBA loan number, we may continue processing the loan.

The closing of a loan is handled by SBL’s closing and legal department, consisting of loan closer, in-house attorneys and paralegals, whose primary responsibility is to close the loan in accordance with prudent lending standards and in compliance with SBA requirements thereby seeking to preserve SBA’s guaranty of repayment. Before loan proceeds are disbursed, the closing staff will review all required documentation (including but not limited to entity documentation, proof of insurance and licensing, environmental reports and appraisals), and will verify the applicant’s required capital injection, ensure that loan proceeds are being used as authorized and obtain required lien positions.

Maintenance of Credit Files

Loan files (consisting of credit files, due diligence, loan closing documentation) are maintained and administered in the Newtek Loan Portal and permanently stored in the Newtek File Vault. The loan file contains all documentation necessary to show: (a) the basis and purpose of the loan, (b) compliance with policy, regulation, loan conditions (such as rate, terms of repayment, collateral), and (c) the authority for granting the loan. The loan file is subject to review or audit by the SBA at any time. The files are organized pursuant to a specified format which facilitates the consistency and readability of the documentation for reviewers and/or auditors. Portfolio and servicing documentation are also administered in the Newtek Loan Portal and permanently stored in the Newtek File Vault.

Sales of Guaranteed Portions of SBA 7(a) Loans in the Secondary Market

We have a dedicated capital markets team that sells the guaranteed portions of Newtek Bank’s SBA 7(a) loans shortly after origination and Newtek Bank retains the unguaranteed portions, Historically, NSBF sold SBA guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans at premiums ranging from 106% to 123% of par value. Any portion of the premium that is above 110% of par value is shared equally with the SBA. However, there is no guarantee that Newtek Bank will be able to continue to earn premiums of 106% to 123% on future sales of the guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans or will be able to maintain PLP status. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - We have specific risks associated with SBA loans.”

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Competition

We compete for SBA 7(a) and other SMB loans with other financial institutions and various nonbank lenders, as well as other sources of funding. Additionally, competition for investment opportunities has emerged among alternative investment vehicles, such as collateralized loan obligations, some of which are sponsored by other alternative asset investors, as these entities have begun to focus on making investments in SMBs. As a result of these new entrants, competition for our lending opportunities may intensify. Many of these entities have greater financial and managerial resources than we do, but we believe that they invariably lack the ability to process loans as quickly as we can and do not have the depth of our customer service capabilities. We believe we will be able to compete with these entities primarily on the basis of our financial technology infrastructure, our experience and reputation, our deep industry knowledge and ability to provide customized business and financial solutions, our willingness to make smaller loans than specialty finance companies, the breadth of our contacts, our responsive and efficient underwriting analysis and decision-making processes, and the lending terms we offer.

We and our subsidiaries compete in a large number of markets for the sale of financial and business solutions to independent business owners. We compete not only against suppliers in its particular state or region of the country but also against suppliers operating on a national or even a multi-national scale. None of the markets in which we compete are dominated by a small number of companies that could materially alter the terms of the competition.

Our electronic payment processing subsidiaries compete with entities including Fiserv, Global Payments, Worldpay, Elavon, First National Bank of Omaha and Paymentech, L.P. Our managed technology solutions subsidiaries competes with 1&1, Hosting.com, Discount ASP, Maxum ASP, GoDaddy®, Yahoo!®, BlueHost®, iPowerWeb®, Amazon Web Services®, Microsoft® Azure, Google®, and RackSpace among others.

Our business finance ecosystem competes with regional and national banks and non-bank lenders. Other companies, including Intuit®, are bundling electronic payment processing, web hosting and payroll services similar to ours in offerings that compete in the same SMB market. In addition, Newtek Bank competes with national banks, regional banks and digital banks to acquire and retain deposits. During 2023, the growing competition for deposits in general saw U.S. banks raising rates offered on deposits, which tended to increase weighted average deposit rates. To the extent that competition for deposits remains elevated relative to historical norms or increases from levels observed in 2023, we believe that our deposit costs could increase. Deposit costs are based on multiple factors that impact businesses and consumers and can diverge from observed market indices (e.g. Prime or SOFR). To the extent deposit costs increase without a corresponding increase in the Prime rate, our profitability and net interest margins can be negatively impacted.

In many cases, we believe that our competitors are not as able as we are to take advantage of changes in business practices due to technological developments and, for those with a larger size, are unable to offer the personalized service that many independent business owners and operators desire.

While we compete with many different providers in our various businesses, we have been unable to identify any direct and comprehensive competitors that deliver the same broad suite of services focused on the needs of the independent business owner market with the same marketing strategy as we do. We believe that some of the competitive advantages of our platform include:

compatible products such as our e-commerce offerings that we are able to bundle to increase sales, reduce costs and reduce risks for our customers and enable us to sell two, three, or four products at the same time;

our patented NewTracker® referral system, which allows us to process new business utilizing a web-based, centralized processing point and provides back end scalability, and allows our alliance partners to offer a centralized access point for their independent business owner clients as part of their larger strategic approach to marketing, thus demonstrating their focus on providing a suite of services to this market in addition to their core service;

our focus on developing and marketing business solutions and financial products and services aimed at the independent business owner market;

scalability, which allows us to size our business solutions capabilities very quickly to meet customer and market needs;

the ability to offer personalized service and competitive rates;

a strategy of multiple channel distribution, which gives us maximum exposure in the marketplace;

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high quality customer service 24/7/365 across all business lines, with a focus primarily on absolute customer service and;

a telephonic interview process, as opposed to requiring handwritten or data-typing processes, which allows us to offer high levels of customer service and satisfaction, particularly for independent business owner who do not get this service from our competitors.

Human Capital including Senior Lending Team and Executive Officers

The long-term success of our Company depends on our people. Our team comprises experienced lending professionals, executive officers and treasury, finance, risk management, administrative support, IT and human resources professionals.

The key members of our senior lending team (“Senior Lending Team”), many of whom have worked together for more than ten years, each have over 25 years of experience in finance-related fields. These investment professionals have worked together to screen opportunities, underwrite new loans and manage a portfolio of loans made to independent business owner through two recessions, a credit crunch, the dot-com boom and bust and a historic, leverage-fueled asset valuation bubble and the COVID-19 pandemic. Each member brings a complementary component to a team well-rounded in lending, finance, accounting, operations, strategy, business law and executive management.

Our executive officers also oversees our subsidiaries and, to the extent that we may make additional equity investments in the future, the executive officers will also have primary responsibility for the identification, screening, review and completion of such investments. We do not expect to focus our resources on investing in additional stand-alone equity investments, but may elect to do so from time to time on an opportunistic basis, if such opportunities arise. Our CEO and Chief Lending Officer, Messrs. Sloane and Downs, have been involved together in the structuring and management of loans and equity investments for the past 20 years.

The retention of our Senior Lending Team and executive officers is material to the management of our business. The departure of key management personnel could adversely affect our business. As such, we believe that we offer a competitive compensation and benefits structure that we believe is attractive to our current and prospective professionals. As we hire and develop individuals, we take succession planning into account and have succession plans in place for each of our senior leaders.

As of December 31, 2023, our workforce consisted of 528 professionals. We strive to continue to create a welcoming and inclusive work environment for our employees. We are committed to recruiting, motivating and developing a diversity of talent and to creating an inclusive community where all individuals are welcomed, valued, respected, and heard. In order to support a culture of learning, we provide many training opportunities for our employees to continue to build their skills and increase their effectiveness as members of a team, including offering a variety of external and internal classes and training sessions as well as hands-on learning and one-on-one mentorship. We continue to encourage dialogue between managers and employees.

We are committed to fostering a workplace conducive to the open communication of any concerns regarding unethical, fraudulent or illegal activities. Feedback from employees on matters related to their employment or our operations including its financial statement disclosures, accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters is greatly appreciated and helps to build a stronger organization. Each director, officer, regular full-time, part-time and temporary employee of the Company has the ability to report confidentially under the Company’s whistleblower policy: (a) questionable or improper accounting, internal controls, auditing matters, disclosure, or fraudulent business practices and (b) illegal or unethical behavior that has occurred, is ongoing, or is about to occur of an applicable law, rule, regulation or policy of the Company. We protect the confidentiality of those making reports of possible misconduct to the maximum extent permitted by law. Our no retaliation policy prohibits retaliation against those who report activities believed in good faith to be a violation of any law, rule, regulation or internal policy.

We maintain and ensure compliance of all directors, officers and employees to our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (the “Code of Ethics”) which is acknowledged in writing on joining and annually by all our employees, as a continued condition of employment. Our Code of Ethics establishes applicable policies, guidelines, and procedures that promote ethical practices and conduct by the Company and all its employees, officers, and directors. Our Code of Ethics can be found on our website at https:/investor.newtekbusinessservices.com/corporate-governance.

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We aim to provide a safe environment at work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our employees, clients, customers, and vendors was at the forefront of our decisions regarding a remote work policy. As a result, we made our offices accessible to those who preferred to work in the office and also supported a remote work environment. We have continued to support remote work as an option. In addition to protecting the physical safety of our employees, we seek to promote a safe environment that is free of harassment or bullying. We do not tolerate discrimination and harassment of any kind including but not limited to sexual, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, age, or disability, among others. We emphasize employee engagement by encouraging ongoing dialogue with managers, colleagues and leaders. Communications are frequent and help us understand our employees’ diverse needs. We monitor our attrition and analyze reasons for leaving the Company. We value employee feedback and make adjustments to employees’ needs and concerns as they are raised.
Available Information
We are subject to the informational requirements of the SEC and in accordance with those requirements file reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. The SEC maintains a web site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding registrants that file electronically with the SEC. The address of the SEC’s web site is http://www.sec.gov. Our principal offices are located at 4800 T Rex Avenue, Suite 120, Boca Raton, Florida and our telephone number is (212) 356-9500. Our website may be directly accessed at http://www.newtekone.com. We make available through our website, free of charge, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. These documents may be directly accessed at https://investor.newtekbusinessservices.com. Information contained on our website is not a part of this report.

Code of Ethics

We have adopted a code of ethics pursuant to Section 5610 of the Nasdaq Corporate Governance Requirements that establishes procedures for personal investments and restricts certain transactions by our personnel. Our code of ethics generally does not permit investments by our employees in securities that may be purchased or held by us. The code of ethics is published and available on the Company’s website at https://investor.newtekbusinessservices.com/corporate-governance, is attached as an exhibit and is available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at www.sec.gov. You may also obtain copies of the code of ethics, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following email address: publicinfo@sec.gov.

Privacy Principles

We are committed to maintaining the privacy of our shareholders and to safeguarding their non-public personal information. The following information is provided to help you understand what personal information we collect, how we protect that information and why, in certain cases, we may share information with select other parties.

Generally, we do not receive any non-public personal information relating to our shareholders, although certain non-public personal information of our shareholders may become available to us. We do not disclose any non-public personal information about our shareholders or former shareholders to anyone, except as permitted by law or as is necessary in order to service shareholder accounts (for example, to a transfer agent).

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”) imposes a wide variety of regulatory requirements on publicly-held companies and their insiders. Many of these requirements affect us. For example:

pursuant to Rule 13a-14 of the Exchange Act, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer must certify the accuracy of the consolidated financial statements contained in our periodic reports;

pursuant to Item 307 of Regulation S-K, our periodic reports must disclose our conclusions about the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures;

pursuant to Rule 13a-15 of the Exchange Act, our management must prepare a report regarding its assessment of our internal controls over financial reporting; and

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pursuant to Item 308 of Regulation S-K and Rule 13a-15 of the Exchange Act, our periodic reports must disclose whether there were significant changes in our internal controls or in other factors that could significantly affect these controls subsequent to the date of their evaluation, including any corrective actions with regard to significant deficiencies and material weaknesses.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires us to review our current policies and procedures to determine whether we comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder. We will continue to monitor our compliance with all regulations that are adopted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and will take actions necessary to ensure that we are in compliance therewith.

Other

We will be periodically examined by the SEC for compliance with the Exchange Act.
Nasdaq Global Market Requirements

We have adopted certain policies and procedures intended to comply with the Nasdaq Global Market’s corporate governance rules. We will continue to monitor our compliance with all future listing standards that are approved by the SEC and will take actions necessary to ensure that we are in compliance therewith.

SBA Regulation of SBA 7(a) Lenders

Our wholly-owned subsidiary, NSBF, is licensed by the SBA as an SBLC that originated loans through the SBA 7(a) Program. NSBF is currently winding down its operations and is no longer originating new SBA 7(a) loans, but remains subject to SBA regulation during its wind-down process. (See Wind-down Agreement below.) Newtek Bank is licensed to make loans under the SBA 7(a) Program.

The SBA generally reduces risks to lenders by guaranteeing major portions of qualified loans made to small businesses. This enables lenders to provide financing to small businesses when funding may otherwise be unavailable or not available on reasonable terms. Under the SBA 7(a) Program, the SBA typically guarantees 75% of qualified loans over $150,000. The eligibility requirements of the SBA 7(a) Program vary by the industry of the borrower and affiliates and other factors.

The SBA grants PLP status to certain lenders originating SBA 7(a) loans based on achievement of certain standards in lending which are regularly monitored by the SBA. Newtek Bank has been granted national PLP status and originates, sells and services SBA 7(a) loans. As a Preferred Lender, Newtek Bank is authorized to place SBA guarantees on SBA 7(a) loans without seeking prior SBA review and approval. Designated PLP lenders are delegated the authority to process, close, service, and liquidate most SBA guaranteed loans without prior SBA review. PLP lenders are authorized to make SBA guaranteed loans, subject only to a brief eligibility review and assignment of a loan number by SBA. In addition, they are expected to handle servicing and liquidation of all of their SBA loans with limited involvement of SBA. If Newtek Bank were to lose PLP status, it would have a material adverse impact on its ability to originate loans at current levels. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - There can be no guarantee that Newtek Bank and NSBF will be able to maintain their SBA 7(a) lending licenses.”

Pursuant to the SBA’s regulations, the SBA is released from liability on its guaranty of a 7(a) loan and may, in its sole discretion, refuse to honor a guaranty purchase request in full or in part, or recover all or part of the funds already paid in connection with a guaranty purchase, if the lender failed to comply materially with an SBA Loan Program Requirement; failed to make, close, service or liquidate the loan in a prudent manner; placed the SBA at risk through improper action or inaction; failed to disclose a material fact to the SBA in a timely manner; or misrepresented a material fact to the SBA regarding the loan. In certain instances, the SBA may refuse to honor a guaranty purchase request in full (referred to by the SBA as a “denial”) or in part (referred to by the SBA as a “repair”), or recover all or part of the funds already paid in connection with a guaranty purchase. In the event of a repair or denial, liability on the guaranty, in whole or part, would be transferred to NSBF or Newtek Bank. In addition, the growth in the number of loans made by Newtek Bank, changes in SBA regulations and economic factors may adversely impact our current repair and denial rates. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - We have specific risks associated with SBA loans.”

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On April 13, 2023, the Company, NSBF and the SBA entered into the Wind-down Agreement, pursuant to which NSBF has begun to wind-down its operations and NSBF’s SBA 7(a) pipeline of new loans were transitioned to Newtek Bank. During this wind-down process, NSBF will continue to own the SBA 7(a) loans and PPP Loans currently in its SBA loan portfolio to maturity, liquidation, charge-off or (subject to SBA’s prior written approval) sale or transfer. SBL will service and liquidate NSBF’s SBA loan portfolio pursuant to an SBA approved lender service provider agreement. In addition, during the wind-down process, NSBF will be subject to minimum capital requirements established by the SBA, be required to continue to maintain certain amounts of restricted cash available to meet any obligations to the SBA, have restrictions on its ability to make dividends and distributions to the Company, and remain liable to the SBA for post-purchase denials and repairs on the guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans originated and sold by NSBF, from the proceeds generated by NSBF’s SBA loan portfolio. The Company has guaranteed certain of NSBF’s obligations to the SBA.

Taxation as a Financial Holding Company
As a BDC, prior to our conversion on January 6, 2023 to a financial holding company, for any taxable year in which we qualified as a RIC and satisfied the Annual Distribution Requirement, we generally were not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of our income we distributed to our stockholders. In order to comply with these requirements, we maintained a dividend policy of making quarterly distributions in an amount that approximated 90 - 100% of the Company's annual taxable income.

For 2023, the Company and its subsidiaries will no longer qualify as a RIC and will file a consolidated U.S. federal income tax return. Financial holding companies are subject to federal and state income taxes in essentially the same manner as other corporations. Taxable income is generally calculated under applicable sections of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), including Sections 581 through 597 that apply specifically to financial institutions. Some modifications are required by state law and the 2017 tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "Tax Act"). Among other things, the Tax Act (i) established a new, flat corporate federal statutory income tax rate of 21%, (ii) eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax and allowed the use of any such carryforwards to offset regular tax liability for any taxable year, (iii) limited the deduction for net interest expense incurred by U.S. corporations, (iv) allowed businesses to immediately expense, for tax purposes, the cost of new investments in certain qualified depreciable assets, (v) eliminated or reduced certain deductions related to meals and entertainment expenses, (vi) modified the limitation on excessive employee remuneration to eliminate the exception for performance-based compensation and clarified the definition of a covered employee and (vii) limited the deductibility of deposit insurance premiums. There can be no assurance as to the actual effective income tax rates impacting the amounts and timing of cash flows and the amounts of income tax expense recorded by the Company, because such rates will be dependent upon the nature and amount of future income and expenses as well as actual investments generating investment tax credits and transactions with discrete tax effects.



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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.
The following is a summary of the risk factors that we believe are most relevant to our business. These are factors that, individually or in the aggregate, we think could cause our actual results to differ significantly from anticipated or historical results. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In that case, the value of our common stock could decline and shareholders may lose all or part of their investment. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, you should not consider the following to be a complete discussion of all potential risks or uncertainties. We undertake no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless required by law.

An investment in our securities involves risks. The following is a summary of the principal risks that you should carefully consider before investing in our securities.

Risks Related to Operation as a Financial Holding Company

We operate in a highly regulated environment and are subject to extensive regulation and supervision as a financial holding company, and if we are found to be in violation of any of the federal, state or local laws or regulations applicable to us, our business could suffer.
Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations may adversely affect our business or cause us to alter our business strategy.
We are no longer subject to regulation under the 1940 Act.
Loss of pass-through tax treatment substantially reduces net assets and income available for dividends.

Risks Related to the Economy

Global economic, political, social and market conditions, including uncertainty about the financial stability of the United States could have a significant adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.
Inflation may adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
Terrorist attacks, acts of war, global health emergencies or natural disasters may impact the businesses in which we invest and harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
If we cannot obtain additional capital because of either regulatory or market price constraints, we could be forced to curtail or cease our new lending activities and the value of our loan portfolio value could decrease and our level liquidity and distributions could be affected adversely.

Risks Related to Our Business and Structure

We are dependent upon our Senior Lending Team and our executive officers for our future success, and if we are unable to hire and retain qualified personnel or if we lose any member of our Senior Lending Team or our executive officers our ability to achieve our business could be significantly harmed.
We could be adversely affected by the soundness of other financial institutions.
We operate in a highly competitive market for clients, which could reduce returns and result in losses.
If we are unable to acquire and process clients effectively, we may be unable to achieve our investment objective.
Our business may be adversely affected if our risk management framework does not effectively identify, assess and mitigate risk.
An inability to maintain adequate liquidity could jeopardize our business and financial condition.
Our acquisitions and other strategic transactions, including the Acquisition, may not yield the intended benefits.
If we and our subsidiaries are unable to protect our intellectual property rights, our business and prospects could be harmed.
The development and use of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) present risks and challenges that may adversely impact our business.

Risks Related to U.S. Federal Income Tax

We cannot predict how new tax legislation will affect us, our investments, or our stockholders, and any such legislation could adversely affect our business.

Risks Related to Our Securities

Our common stock price may be volatile and may decrease substantially.
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RISKS RELATED TO OPERATING AS A FINANCIAL HOLDING COMPANY

We have a limited operating history as a financial holding company.

Although we and our predecessor have operated since 1999, we converted to a financial holding company effective January 6, 2023. Accordingly, we have a limited operating history upon which to evaluate our business and future prospects as a financial holding company. Our lending prospects may significantly differ from our investment prospects as a BDC, and it is difficult to predict future operating results and to assess the likelihood of the success of our business as a financial holding company. As a new financial holding company, we may be subject to risks and levels of risk that are often greater than those encountered by financial institutions with longer established operations and relationships. We may also require significant capital from sources other than operations.

The banking industry is highly regulated, and the regulatory framework, together with any future legislative or regulatory changes, may have a significant adverse effect on our operations.

The banking industry is extensively regulated and supervised under both federal and state laws and regulations that are intended primarily for the protection of depositors, customers, federal deposit insurance funds, and the banking system as a whole, not for the protection of security holders. We are subject to regulation and supervision by the FDIC, OCC and Federal Reserve. The laws and regulations applicable to us govern a variety of matters, including permissible types, amounts, and terms of loans and investments we may make, the maximum interest rate that may be charged, the amount of reserves we must hold against deposits we take, the types of deposits we may accept, maintenance of adequate capital and liquidity, changes in the control of Newtek Bank, N.A. and us, restrictions on dividends, and establishment of new offices. We must obtain approval from our regulators before engaging in certain activities or acquisitions, and there is the risk that such approvals may not be obtained, either in a timely manner or at all. Our regulators also have the ability to compel us to take, or restrict us from taking, certain actions entirely, such as actions that our regulators deem to constitute an unsafe or unsound banking practice. Our failure to comply with any applicable laws or regulations, or regulatory policies and interpretations of such laws and regulations, could result in sanctions by regulatory agencies, civil money penalties, or damage to our reputation, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Federal and state banking laws and regulations, as well as interpretations and implementations of these laws and regulations, are continually undergoing substantial review and change. Financial institutions generally have also been subject to increased scrutiny from regulatory authorities. These changes and increased scrutiny have resulted and may continue to result in increased costs of doing business and may in the future result in decreased revenues and net income, reduce our ability to effectively compete to attract and retain customers, or make it less attractive for us to continue providing certain products and services. Any future changes in federal and state law and regulations, as well as the interpretations and implementations, or modifications or repeals, of such laws and regulations, could affect us in substantial and unpredictable ways, including those listed above or other ways that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our inability to remain in compliance with regulatory requirements could have a material adverse effect on our operations in that market and on our reputation generally. No assurance can be given that applicable laws or regulations will not be amended or construed differently or that new laws and regulations will not be adopted, either of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and the Bank Secrecy Act, or the BSA, require financial institutions to design and implement programs to prevent financial institutions from being used for money laundering and terrorist activities. If such activities are detected, financial institutions are obligated to file suspicious activity reports with FinCEN. These rules require financial institutions to establish procedures for identifying and verifying the identity of customers and beneficial owners of certain legal entity customers seeking to open new financial accounts. Federal and state bank regulators also have focused on compliance with Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in fines or sanctions, including restrictions on conducting acquisitions or expanding activities. During the last several years, several banking institutions have received large fines for non-compliance with these laws and regulations. Although we have policies and procedures designed to assist in compliance with the BSA and other anti-money laundering laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that such policies or procedures will work effectively all of the time or protect us against liability for actions taken by our employees, agents, and intermediaries with respect to our business or any businesses that we may acquire. Failure to maintain and implement adequate programs to combat money laundering and terrorist financing could also have serious reputational consequences for us, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Any changes in the Presidential Administration or control of Congress also increases the likelihood of further changes to laws, regulations and supervisory practices affecting financial institutions, which could include more stringent requirements and greater scrutiny from regulatory authorities.

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Changes in laws, regulations, or policies may adversely affect our business.

We are unable to predict all of the ways in which any change in the regulatory environment could impact our anticipated business models or objectives. The laws and regulations governing lending, servicing, and debt collection activities or the regulatory or enforcement environment at the federal level or in any of the states in which we anticipate operating may change at any time which may have an adverse effect on our current or anticipated business.

For example, the federal banking agencies issued a final rule in October 2023 that largely begins to apply in January 2026 and may make it more challenging and/or costly for insured depository institutions to achieve an Outstanding or Satisfactory CRA rating. If Newtek Bank is unable to maintain at least a “Satisfactory” CRA rating, its ability to complete the acquisition of another financial institution or open a new branch will be adversely impacted. Newtek Bank received a rating of “Satisfactory” in its most recent CRA performance evaluation. We are unable to predict how future legislative proposals or programs will be administered or implemented or in what form, or whether any additional or similar changes to statutes or regulations, including the interpretation or implementation thereof, will occur in the future. Any such action could affect us in substantial and unpredictable ways and could have an adverse effect on our anticipated business operations.

Our inability to comply with regulatory requirements in a particular jurisdiction could have a material adverse effect on our anticipated operations in that market and on our reputation generally. No assurance can be given that applicable laws or regulations will not be amended or construed differently or that new laws and regulations will not be adopted, either of which could materially adversely affect our anticipated business.

We are subject to extensive regulation and supervision as a financial holding company, which may adversely affect our business.

Upon becoming a financial holding company, we became subject to a wide range of statutory and regulatory restrictions and requirements that will affect many aspects of our business, including our lending practices, capital structure, investment practices, dividend policy and growth. We may be required to restructure, terminate or divest certain of our businesses to comply with applicable requirements, which may impose additional costs and adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. Failure to comply with laws, regulations, policies or other regulatory guidance could result in civil or criminal sanctions by regulatory agencies, civil monetary penalties and damage to our reputation. In addition, we will be required to serve as a “source of strength” to Newtek Bank.

Congress and federal regulatory agencies continually review banking laws, regulations, policies and other supervisory guidance for possible changes. Other changes in the laws or regulations that will be applicable to us as a financial holding company, including changes in the interpretation or implementation of those regulations or policies, may negatively impact the profitability of our business activities, require us to change certain of our business practices, materially affect our business model, limit the activities in which we may engage, affect retention of key personnel, require us to raise additional regulatory capital, increase the amount of liquid assets that we hold, otherwise affect our funding profile or expose us to additional costs (including increased compliance costs). Any such changes may also require us to invest significant management attention and resources to make any necessary changes and may adversely affect our ability to conduct our business as previously conducted or our results of operations or financial condition.

We may be adversely affected by increased governmental and regulatory scrutiny or negative publicity.

Political and public sentiment regarding financial institutions has in the past resulted and may in the future result in a significant amount of adverse press coverage, as well as adverse statements or charges by regulators or other government officials. Press coverage and other public statements that assert some form of wrongdoing (including, in some cases, press coverage and public statements that do not directly involve us) often result in some type of investigation by regulators, legislators and law enforcement officials or in lawsuits. Adverse publicity, governmental scrutiny and legal and enforcement proceedings can also have a negative impact on our reputation and on the morale and performance of our employees, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

The financial services industry generally has been subject to negative publicity. Our reputation and business may be adversely affected by negative publicity or information regarding our business and personnel, whether or not accurate or true, that may be posted on social media or other internet forums or published by news organizations. Postings on these types of forums may also adversely impact risk positions of our clients and other parties that owe us money, securities or other assets and increase the chance that they will not perform their obligations to us or reduce the revenues we receive from their use of our services. The speed and pervasiveness with which information can be disseminated through these channels, in particular social media, may magnify risks relating to negative publicity.

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The rapid dissemination of negative information through social media, in part, is believed to have led to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank. These banks suffered a level of deposit withdrawals within a time period not previously experienced by a financial institution. We could also be subject to rapid deposit withdrawals or other outflows as a result of negative social media posts or other negative publicity.

Failure to comply with applicable laws, regulations or commitments, or to satisfy our regulators’ supervisory expectations, could subject us to, among other things, supervisory or enforcement action, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we do not comply with applicable laws, regulations or commitments, if we are deemed to have engaged in unsafe or unsound conduct, or if we do not satisfy our regulators’ supervisory expectations, then we may be subject to increased scrutiny, supervisory criticism, governmental or private litigation and/or a wide range of potential monetary penalties or consequences, enforcement actions, criminal liability and/or reputational harm. Such actions could be public or of a confidential nature, and arise even if we are acting in good faith or operating under a reasonable interpretation of the law and could include, for example, monetary penalties, payment of damages or other monetary relief, restitution or disgorgement of profits, directives to take remedial action or to cease or modify practices, restrictions on growth or expansionary proposals, denial or refusal to accept applications, removal of officers or directors, prohibition on dividends or capital distributions, increases in capital or liquidity requirements and/or termination of Newtek Bank’s deposit insurance. Additionally, compliance with applicable laws, regulations and commitments requires significant investment of management attention and resources. Any failure to comply with applicable laws, regulations or commitments could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Federal law may discourage certain acquisitions of our common stock which could have a material adverse effect on our shareholders.

Federal law may make it more difficult for someone to acquire our common stock in certain circumstances. Under federal law and subject to certain exemptions, a person, entity or group must notify the federal banking agencies before acquiring control of a bank holding company. An acquisition of 10% or more of any class of voting stock of a bank holding company generally creates a rebuttable presumption that the acquirer will “control” the bank holding company. In addition, a bank holding company must obtain the prior approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System before, among other things, acquiring direct or indirect ownership or control of more than 5 percent of the voting shares of any bank or bank holding company. These provisions could delay or prevent a third party from acquiring us, despite the possible benefit to our shareholders, or otherwise adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

We are no longer subject to regulation under the 1940 Act.

As of January 6, 2023, we are no longer regulated as a BDC and are no longer be subject to the regulatory provisions of the 1940 Act, which is designed to protect the interests of investors in investment companies, including certain laws and regulations related to insurance, custody, capital structure, composition of the Board, affiliated transactions, leverage limitations, and compensation arrangements. We do, however, continue to be subject to certain 1940 Act provisions related to asset coverage in relation to the 2024 and 2026 Notes. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to Our Notes - We are subject to 150% asset coverage requirements due to covenants contained in the indentures under which the 2024 and 2026 Notes were issued.”

The withdrawal of the Company’s election to be regulated as a BDC has resulted in a significant change in our accounting and financial reporting requirements.

Due to the Company’s withdrawal of its election to be regulated as a BDC on January 6, 2023, the Company is no longer subject to FASB Accounting Standards Codification Topic 946, Financial Services – Investment Companies, which has resulted in a significant change in our accounting and financial reporting requirements. As a BDC, we were precluded from consolidating any entity other than another investment company that acted as an extension of our investment operations and facilitated the execution of our investment strategy or an investment in a controlled operating company that provided substantially all of its services to us. Beginning with the first quarter of 2023, we were required to consolidate the financial statements of certain of our controlled or majority-owned investments (now consolidated subsidiaries), which is a significant change in our accounting and financial reporting requirements. Our management has been and continues to be required to expend significant efforts in order to implement this change in accounting and financial reporting requirements, which could adversely affect the time and attention devoted to other aspects of our business and operations.

These significant changes in our accounting and financial reporting requirements resulted in failures by the Company to adequately and timely identify financial reporting risks and the associated identification of key controls in connection therewith. As a result,we have identified material weaknesses in our internal controls that impacted the overall effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting. We have taken actions to enhance our internal controls over financial reporting relating to the
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material weaknesses identified as of the date of this Annual Report, and are still in the process of implementing a comprehensive remediation plan. See “Item 9A. Controls and Procedures” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to Our Business and Structure - We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting which could, if not remediated, adversely affect our ability to report our financial condition and results of operations in a timely and accurate manner, investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our common stock.”

Our shareholders no longer have the protections of the 1940 Act, as the Company withdrew election to be regulated as a BDC.

Because the Company ceased to operate as a BDC, our shareholders no longer have the following protections of the 1940 Act:

we are no longer subject to provisions of the 1940 Act prohibiting us from protecting any director or officer against any liability to the Company or our shareholders arising from willful malfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of that person’s office;
we are no longer required to provide and maintain an investment company blanket bond issued by a reputable fidelity insurance company to protect us against larceny and embezzlement;
while the majority of our directors are still required to be “independent” under applicable NASDAQ regulations, we are no longer required to ensure that a majority of our directors are persons who are not “interested persons,” as defined in the 1940 Act, and certain persons who were prevented from serving on our Board when we were a BDC are now able to serve on our Board;
we are no longer subject to provisions of the 1940 Act regulating transactions between BDCs and certain affiliates;
we are no longer subject to provisions of the 1940 Act restricting our ability to issue shares below net asset value or in exchange for services or to issue warrants and options;
we are no longer required to disclose the Company’s net asset value per share in our financial statements;
we are no longer subject to provisions of the 1940 Act restricting our ability to change the nature of our business or fundamental investment policies without having to obtain the approval of our shareholders;
we are no longer subject to the provisions of the 1940 Act limiting our ability to grant stock based compensation to officers, directors and employees or to provide a profit sharing program for them; and
we are no longer subject to the other protective provisions set out in the 1940 Act and the rules and regulations promulgated under the 1940 Act.

In addition, we are very much affected by the legal, regulatory, tax and accounting regimes under which we operate. We periodically evaluate whether those regimes and our existing corporate structure are the optimum means for the operation and capitalization of our business. As a result of these evaluations, we may decide to proceed with structural and organizational changes (certain of which may require the approval of our shareholders), which could result in material dispositions of various assets, changes in our corporate form or other fundamental changes. We may incur certain costs in completing these evaluations and may receive no benefit from these expenditures, particularly if we do not proceed with any changes.

If we are deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, we will not be able to successfully execute our business strategy.

Certain of our subsidiaries rely on Rule 3a-7 to exclude their securitization activities from the definition of an “investment company” under the 1940 Act. Additionally, the Company has determined that, after withdrawing its election to be treated as a business development company, it is not an “investment company” because it neither holds more than 40% of its assets in “investment securities,” nor is it primarily engaged in, or holding itself out as being primarily engaged in, the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. As a part of its determination, the Company has determined that certain of the loans held by its subsidiaries are neither securities nor “investment securities” under the 1940 Act. However, the staff of the SEC may disagree with our conclusions that (i) loans held by us and our subsidiaries are not securities as defined in the Act and that (ii) the Company did not meet the definition of an investment company under section 3 of the 1940 Act subsequent to our withdrawal of the election to be regulated as a BDC. If the SEC or a court determines that one or more of our subsidiaries’ activities cause us to fall within the definition of an “investment company,” and if no exemption is available, we could be required to register under the 1940 Act. Compliance with the 1940 Act, as a registered investment company, would require us to significantly alter our business and could impair our ability to operate as financial holding company, with potential adverse impacts on our business, and, thus, our shareholders.

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The loss of pass-through tax treatment may substantially reduce net assets and income available for dividends and debt repayments.

Prior to January 6, 2023, we operated so as to qualify as a RIC, which generally allowed us to qualify for effective pass-through tax treatment. Upon withdrawing our election to be regulated as a BDC, we have ceased to qualify for such pass-through tax treatment, and we will have to pay corporate-level taxes on all of our income whether or not we distribute it, which we expect will substantially reduce the amount of income available for distribution to our shareholders and to repay our borrowings. The Company will no longer qualify as a RIC beginning with the 2023 taxable year. For more information, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Executive Summary” and “Risk Factors - Risks Related to Converting to a Financial Holding Company” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, filed with the SEC on March 1, 2022.
RISKS RELATED TO THE ECONOMY

Global economic, political, social and market conditions, including uncertainty about the financial stability of the United States could have a significant adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

The current worldwide financial markets situation, as well as various social, political, economic and other conditions and events (including political tensions in the United States and around the world, wars and other forms of conflict, terrorist acts, security operations and catastrophic events such as natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics) may create uncertainty and have significant impacts on issuers, industries, governments and other systems, including the financial markets, to which companies and their investments are exposed. As global systems, economies and financial markets are increasingly interconnected, events that once had only local impact are now more likely to have regional or even global effects. Events that occur in one country, region or financial market will, more frequently, adversely impact issuers in other countries, regions or markets, including in established markets such as the United States. These impacts can be exacerbated by failures of governments and societies to adequately respond to an emerging event or threat.

Uncertainty can result in or coincide with, among other things: increased volatility in the financial markets for securities, derivatives, loans, credit and currency; a decrease in the reliability of market prices and difficulty in valuing assets; greater fluctuations in spreads on debt investments and currency exchange rates; increased risk of default (by both government and private obligors and issuers); further social, economic, and political instability; nationalization of private enterprise; greater governmental involvement in the economy or in social factors that impact the economy; changes to governmental regulation and supervision of the loan, securities, derivatives and currency markets and market participants and decreased or revised monitoring of such markets by governments or self-regulatory organizations and reduced enforcement of regulations; limitations on the activities of investors in such markets; controls or restrictions on foreign investment, capital controls and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; the significant loss of liquidity and the inability to purchase, sell and otherwise fund investments or settle transactions (including, but not limited to, a market freeze); unavailability of currency hedging techniques; substantial, and in some periods extremely high rates of inflation, which can last many years and have substantial negative effects on credit and securities markets as well as the economy as a whole; recessions; and difficulties in obtaining and/or enforcing legal judgments.

In addition, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and resulting market volatility, could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. In response to the war between Russia and Ukraine, the United States have imposed sanctions or other restrictive actions against Russia. The ongoing war and the measures in response could have a negative impact on the economy and business activity globally and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. The severity and duration of the war and its impact on global economic and market conditions are impossible to predict. In addition, sanctions could also result in Russia taking counter measures or retaliatory actions which could adversely impact our business, including, but not limited to, cyberattacks targeting private companies, individuals or other infrastructure upon which our business and the business of our clients rely.

Any of the above factors, including sanctions, export controls, tariffs, trade wars and other governmental actions, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common shares and/or debt securities to decline. We monitor developments and seek to manage our investments in a manner consistent with achieving our investment objective, but there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so.

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Any public health emergency, or the threat thereof, and the resulting financial and economic market uncertainty could have a significant adverse impact on us and the fair value of our investments, our subsidiaries and our clients.

The extent of the impact of any public health emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, on our operational and financial performance will depend on many factors, including the duration and scope of such public health emergency, the actions taken by governmental authorities to contain its financial and economic impact, the extent of any related travel advisories and restrictions implemented, the impact of such public health emergency on overall supply and demand, goods and services, investor liquidity, consumer confidence and levels of economic activity and the extent of its disruption to important global, regional and local supply chains and economic markets, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted. In addition, our operations may be significantly impacted, or even temporarily or permanently halted, as a result of government quarantine measures, voluntary and precautionary restrictions on travel or meetings and other factors related to a public health emergency, including its potential adverse impact on the health of any of our personnel. This could create widespread business continuity issues for us.

A number of factors related to a public health emergency impacting us or our borrowers, customers or business partners could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition, including but not limited to:

increases in loan delinquencies, losses and charge-offs;
increases in borrowers seeking and being granted deferments of principal and interest payments;
collateral for loans, including real estate, may decline in value, which could cause loan losses to increase;
demand for our business products and solutions may decline, making it difficult to grow or maintain our assets and income;
net worth and liquidity of the guarantors on our loans may decline, which could cause loan losses to increase;
our risk management policies and practices may be negatively impacted by, among other things, changes in the SBA 7(a) loan program, including changes to SBA rules, regulations and SBA standard operating procedures;
increases in cyber risk as criminals may take advantage of the changes of business practices necessitated by a public health emergency.

If the economy is unable to substantially reopen or remain reopened after a public health emergency, and high levels of unemployment continue for an extended period of time, loan delinquencies, loan non-accruals, problem assets, and bankruptcies may increase. In addition, collateral for our loans may decline in value, which could cause loan losses to increase and the net worth and liquidity of loan guarantors could decline, impairing their ability to honor commitments to us. An increase in loan delinquencies and non-accruals or a decrease in loan collateral and guarantor net worth could result in increased costs and reduced income which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Any public health emergency, pandemic or any outbreak of other existing or new epidemic diseases, or the threat thereof, and the resulting financial and economic market uncertainty could have a significant adverse impact on us.

Economic recessions or downturns could impair our clients and our operating results.

Many of our clients may be susceptible to economic slowdowns, a prolonged period of high interest rates or recessions and may be unable to repay our debt investments during these periods. In the past, instability in the global capital markets resulted in disruptions in liquidity in the debt capital markets, significant write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk in the broadly syndicated credit market and the failure of major domestic and international financial institutions. In particular, in past periods of instability, the financial services sector was negatively impacted by significant write-offs as the value of the assets held by financial firms declined, impairing their capital positions and abilities to lend and invest. In addition, continued uncertainty surrounding the impact of trade deals between Britain and the European Union following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, uncertainty in connection with economic sanctions resulting from the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, and uncertainty between the United States and other countries, including China, with respect to trade policies, treaties, and tariffs, among other factors, have caused disruption in the global markets. There can be no assurance that market conditions will not worsen in the future.

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In an economic downturn or a prolonged period of high interest rates, we may have non-performing assets or non-performing assets may increase, and the value of our portfolio is likely to decrease during these periods. Adverse economic conditions may also decrease the value of any collateral securing our loans. A severe recession may further decrease the value of such collateral and result in losses of value in our portfolio and a decrease in our revenues, net income, assets and net worth. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us on terms we deem acceptable. These events could prevent us from increasing investments and harm our operating results.

The occurrence of recessionary conditions and/or negative developments in the domestic and international credit markets may
significantly affect the markets in which we do business, the value of our investments, and our ongoing operations, costs and profitability. Any such unfavorable economic conditions, including rising interest rates or a prolonged period of high interest rates, may also increase our funding costs, limit our access to capital markets or negatively impact our ability to obtain financing, particularly from the debt markets. In addition, any future financial market uncertainty could lead to financial market disruptions and could further impact our ability to obtain financing.

These events could limit our investment originations, limit our ability to grow and negatively impact our operating results and
financial condition.

Recent events in the banking sector may have an adverse effect on aspects of our results of operations and the price of our common stock.

During 2023 and more recently, concerns have arisen with respect to the financial condition of a number of banking organizations in the United States, in particular those with exposure to certain types of depositors and large portfolios of investment securities. Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were both placed into FDIC receivership resulting from significant and rapid deposit outflows and the Federal Reserve announced it will make available additional funding to eligible depository institutions to assist banking organizations with potential liquidity needs. While our business, balance sheet and depositor profile differs substantially from the banking institutions that are the focus of the greatest scrutiny, the operating environment and public trading prices of financial services sector can be highly correlated, in particular in times of stress, which has, and may continue to adversely affect the trading price of our common stock. In addition, there is uncertainty at the present time with respect to the effect that these events will have on the perceptions held by individual and commercial depositors as to the safety of deposited funds at smaller banking institutions, which could affect Newtek Bank’s ability to maintain its levels of deposit funding. We believe that our client base and business model differs from those of the banking organizations which are under the most scrutiny at the present time, however no assurances can be given that the effects of recent events will not have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial performance.

Changes in interest rates could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Our earnings depend substantially on our interest rate spread, which is the difference between (i) the rates Newtek Bank earns on loans, securities and other earning assets and (ii) the interest rates Newtek Bank pays on deposits and other borrowings, and its costs of capital. These rates are highly sensitive to many factors beyond our control, including general economic conditions and the policies of various governmental and regulatory authorities. If market interest rates continue to rise, especially at the pace they did in 2022 and 2023, we will continue to face competitive pressure to increase the rates Newtek Bank pays on deposits, which could negatively affect net interest margin.

However, we believe that our loan portfolio is less sensitive to a rising interest rate environment based on the fact that a material portion of our loan portfolio consists of SBA 7(a) loans, which are floating rate loans that bear interest at the prime rate plus a spread from 2.25% to 3.00%, which interest rates reset on a quarterly basis. Moreover, in response to these market conditions and consistent with its business plan, Newtek Bank has been focused on increasing its liquidity position by raising additional deposits and maintaining a significant portion of its liquidity in the form of cash held at the Federal Reserve, as opposed to long term investments. In addition, Newtek Bank management continues to closely monitor market conditions with a focus on its asset liability management policies, as well as closely monitoring, among other things, capital levels, to ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines and the OCC Operating Agreement.

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Inflation may adversely affect the business, results of operations and financial condition of companies.

Recent inflationary pressures have increased the costs of capital, labor, energy and raw materials and have adversely affected consumer spending, economic growth and our clients’ operations. Certain of our clients may be in industries that have been, or are expected to be, impacted by inflation. If such clients are unable to pass any increases in their costs along to their customers, it could adversely affect their results and impact their ability to pay interest and principal on our loans. In addition, any projected future decreases in our clients’ operating results due to inflation could adversely impact the fair value of those investments. Any deterioration in the quality of our assets could result in future unrealized losses and require increased loan loss reserves and therefore negatively impact our financial condition or results of operations. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in 2022 and 2023, and future changes to its monetary policy and the timing of them are not certain.

While the United States and other developed economies have recently experienced higher-than-normal inflation rates, it remains uncertain whether substantial inflation will be sustained over an extended period of time or have a significant effect on the U.S. economy or other economies. During periods of rising inflation, interest and dividend rates of any instruments we or our subsidiaries may have issued could increase, which would tend to reduce returns to our investors. Inflationary expectations or periods of rising inflation could also be accompanied by the rising prices of commodities which are critical to the operation of our clients as noted above. Clients may have fixed income streams and, therefore, be unable to pay their debts when they become due. The market value of such investments may decline in value in times of higher inflation rates. Some of our investments may have income linked to inflation through contractual rights or other means. However, as inflation may affect both income and expenses, any increase in income may not be sufficient to cover increases in expenses. Governmental efforts to curb inflation, including by raising of interest rates, often have negative effects on the level of economic activity. There can be no assurance that continued and more widespread inflation in the United States and/or other economies or the maintenance of higher interest rests in an effort to curb inflation will not become a serious problem in the future and have a material adverse impact on us.

Terrorist attacks, acts of war, global health emergencies or natural disasters may impact the businesses in which we invest and harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Terrorist acts, acts of war, global health emergencies or natural disasters may disrupt our operations, as well as the operations of the businesses in which we invest. Such acts have created, and continue to create, economic and political uncertainties and have contributed to global economic instability. Future terrorist activities, military or security operations, global health emergencies or natural disasters could further weaken the domestic/global economies and create additional uncertainties, which may negatively impact the businesses in which we invest directly or indirectly and, in turn, could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition. Losses from terrorist attacks, global health emergencies and natural disasters are generally uninsurable.

A failure or the perceived risk of a failure to raise the statutory debt limit of the U.S. could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In June 2023, the U.S. federal government suspended the federal debt limit until 2025. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling prior to 2025, the United States could default on its obligations, including Treasury securities that play an integral role in financial markets. A default by the United States could result in unprecedented market volatility and illiquidity, heightened operational risks relating to the clearance and settlement of transactions, margin and other disputes with clients and counterparties, an adverse impact to investors including money market funds that invest in U.S. Treasuries, downgrades in the U.S. credit rating, further increases in interest rates and borrowing costs and a recession in the United States or other economies. Continued uncertainty relating to the debt ceiling could result in downgrades of the U.S. credit rating, which could adversely affect market conditions, lead to margin disputes, further increases in interest rates and borrowing costs and necessitate significant operational changes among market participants, including us. A downgrade of the U.S. federal government’s credit rating could also materially and adversely affect the market for repurchase agreements, securities borrowing and lending, and other financings typically collateralized by U.S. Treasury or agency obligations. Further, the fair value, liquidity and credit ratings of securities issued by, or other obligations of, agencies of the U.S. government or related to the U.S. government or its agencies, as well as municipal bonds could be similarly adversely affected. An increasing frequency of government shutdowns, or near shutdowns, in the United States could also lead to uncertainty as to the continued funding of the U.S. government, which could, in turn, adversely affect the credit ratings of the United States and the market for U.S. Treasury or agency obligations. Continued adverse political and economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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If we cannot obtain additional capital because of either regulatory or market price constraints, we could be forced to curtail or cease our new lending activities and our level of distributions and liquidity could be affected adversely.

Our ability to secure additional financing and satisfy our financial obligations under indebtedness outstanding from time to time will depend upon our future operating performance, which is subject to the prevailing general economic and credit market conditions, including interest rate levels and the availability of credit generally, and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. The prolonged continuation or worsening of current economic and capital market conditions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to secure financing on favorable terms, if at all.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS AND STRUCTURE

We are dependent upon our Senior Lending Team and our executive officers for our future success, and if we are unable to hire and retain qualified personnel or if we lose any member of our Senior Lending Team or our executive officers our business could be significantly harmed.

We depend on our Senior Lending Team and executive officers as well as other key personnel for the management of our and our subsidiaries’ businesses. These executive officers and employees have critical industry experience and relationships that we rely on to implement our business plan. Our future success depends on the continued service of our Senior Lending Team and our executive officers and the replacement of any departing individuals with others of comparable skills and experience. The departure of any of the members of our Senior Lending Team, our executive officers or a significant number of our senior personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business. As a result, we may not be able to operate our business as we expect, and our ability to compete could be harmed, which could cause our operating results to suffer.

We operate in a highly competitive market for clients, which could reduce returns and result in losses.

The commercial lending market to independent business owners is very competitive and is served by a variety of entities, including banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, independent finance companies, and nonbank lenders, including financial technology companies. The lending market to independent business owners is also highly fragmented, with a small number of lenders capturing large shares of each market and many smaller lenders competing for the remaining market share. We compete for clients with other financial institutions and various SMB lenders, as well as other sources of funding. Additionally, competition for clients has emerged among alternative investment vehicles, such as CLOs, some of which are sponsored by other alternative asset investors, as these entities have begun to focus on making investments in SMBs. As a result of these new entrants, competition for our clients may intensify. Many of our competitors will be substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than us. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources that will not be available to us. Our competitors often seek to provide financing on terms more favorable to independent business owners than we offer. Many of these competitors also have long-standing relationships with independent business owners and may offer other forms of financing that we do not offer. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments than we will have. Additionally, some of our competitors may also be subject to less burdensome licensing and other regulatory requirements and, as a result, these competitors may have advantages in conducting certain business and providing certain services and may be more aggressive in their loan origination activities. These characteristics could allow our competitors to establish more relationships and offer better pricing and more flexible structuring than we will be able to offer. We may lose clients if we do not match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. If we are forced to match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure, we may not be able to achieve acceptable returns or may bear substantial risk of capital loss.

We may encounter greater competition as we expand our operations, and competition may also increase in more stable or favorable economic conditions. Increasing competition could also require us to lower the rates we charge on loans in order to maintain our desired loan origination volume, which could also have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We could be adversely affected by the soundness of other financial institutions.

Financial services institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty or other relationships. We have exposure to many different industries and counterparties, and routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including commercial banks, brokers and dealers, investment banks and other institutional clients. Many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of a default by a counterparty or client. In addition, our credit risk may be exacerbated when our collateral cannot be foreclosed upon or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the credit or derivative exposure due. Any such losses could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Moreover, we may be adversely affected by the soundness of other financial institutions even when we are not directly exposed to those institutions. For example, the failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank in 2023 resulted in significant disruption in the financial services industry and negative media attention, which has also adversely impacted the volatility and market prices of the securities of financial institutions and resulted in outflows of deposits for many financial institutions. Defaults by, declines in the financial condition of, or even rumors or questions about, one or more financial institutions, financial service companies or the financial services industry generally, may lead to difficulties related to liquidity, asset quality or other problems and could lead to losses or defaults by us or by other institutions. These problems, losses or defaults could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

If we are unable to acquire and process clients effectively, we may be unable to achieve our objectives.

Our ability to achieve our objectives depends on our Senior Lending Team’s and our executive officers’ ability to acquire clients. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of our marketing capabilities, our management of our client processing, our ability to provide efficient services and our access to financing sources on acceptable terms. To grow, we need to continue to hire, train, supervise and manage new employees and to implement computer and other systems capable of effectively accommodating our growth. However, we cannot provide assurance that any such employees will contribute to the success of our business or that we will implement such systems effectively. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business model depends to a significant extent upon strong referral relationships, and our inability to maintain or further develop these relationships, as well as the failure of these relationships to generate investment opportunities, could adversely affect our business.

We expect that members of our Senior Lending Team and our Executive Committee will maintain their relationships with intermediaries, financial institutions, investment bankers, commercial bankers, financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, consultants, alliance partners, and other individuals within their networks, and we will rely, to a significant extent, upon these relationships to provide us with potential clients. If our Senior Lending Team and our executive officers fail to maintain its existing relationships or develop new relationships with potential clients, we may not be able to acquire new clients. In addition, individuals with whom members of our Senior Lending Team and our executive officers have relationships are not obligated to provide us with client opportunities, and, therefore, there is no assurance that such relationships will generate opportunities for us.

Indebtedness could adversely affect our business and financial results.

In the past, we have had a significant amount of indebtedness. If our debt service obligations increase, whether due to the increased cost of existing indebtedness or the incurrence of additional indebtedness, more of our cash flow from operations would need to be allocated to the payment of principal of, and interest on, our indebtedness, which would reduce the funds available for other purposes. Our indebtedness also could limit our ability to execute our business plans and withstand competitive pressures and could reduce our flexibility in responding to changing business and economic conditions.

Our ability to make payments on our debt, to repay our existing indebtedness when due, and to fund our business, operations and significant planned capital expenditures will depend on our ability to pay with available cash or generate cash in the future. This, to a certain extent, is subject to financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. In addition, if we cannot service our indebtedness, we may have to take actions such as utilizing available capital, limiting the origination of loans, selling assets, selling equity or reducing or delaying capital expenditures, strategic acquisitions, investments and alliances, any of which could impede the implementation of our business strategy, prevent us from entering into transactions that would otherwise benefit our business and/or adversely affect our business and financial results. We also may not be able to refinance our indebtedness or take such other actions, if necessary, on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

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To the extent we borrow money to originate new loans, changes in interest rates will affect our cost of capital and net interest margin.

To the extent we borrow money to finance client loans, our net interest margin will depend, in part, upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the rate at which we lend those funds. General interest rate fluctuations may also have an impact on the value of our stock and our rate of return. As a result, we can offer no assurance that a significant change in market interest rates will not have a material adverse effect on our net interest margin in the event we borrow money to finance our loans. In periods of rising interest rates, our cost of funds would increase, which could reduce our net interest margin. Further, rising interest rates could also adversely affect our performance if we hold loans with floating interest rates, subject to specified minimum interest rates, while at the same time engaging in borrowings subject to floating interest rates not subject to such minimums. In such a scenario, rising interest rates may increase our interest expense, even though our interest income is not increasing in a corresponding manner as a result of such minimum interest rates. Rising interest rates could also cause clients to shift cash from other productive uses to the payment of interest, which may have a material adverse effect on their business and operations and could, over time, lead to increased defaults. In addition, rising interest rates may increase pressure on us to provide fixed rate loans, which could adversely affect our net interest margin, as increases in our cost of borrowed funds would not be accompanied by increased interest income from such fixed-rate investments. Also, an increase in interest rates available to investors could make an investment in our common stock less attractive if we are not able to increase our dividend rate, which could reduce the value of our common stock.

We may use interest rate risk management techniques in an effort to limit our exposure to interest rate fluctuations. Such techniques may include various interest rate hedging activities. If we do not implement these techniques properly, we could experience losses on our hedging positions, which could be material. In addition, depending on the frequency and magnitude of rising interest rates, these interest rate increases could negatively impact premiums received on the sale of guaranteed SBA loans, and further, could increase prepayment speeds on outstanding SBA loans, potentially negatively impacting the Company’s financial results.

We may expose ourselves to risks as we engage in hedging transactions.

In the second half of 2021, we began using derivatives to hedge interest rate exposure on specific fixed rate loans originated by us or our subsidiaries until such fixed rate loans are sold or securitized. We may continue to enter into such hedging transactions in an effort to mitigate our exposure to adverse fluctuations in interest rates and we may increase our floating rate investments to position the portfolio for rate increases. However, we cannot assure you that such transactions will be successful in mitigating our exposure to interest rate risk or if we will continue to enter into such interest rate hedges. Hedging transactions may also limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to our loans. Moreover, as we engage in hedging transactions, we expose ourselves to certain risks associated with such transactions. We may utilize instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of certain of our portfolio positions from changes in market interest rates. Hedging against a decline in the values of our positions does not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the values of the underlying portfolio positions increase. It may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek to establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and the holdings being hedged. Any such imperfect correlation may prevent us from achieving the intended hedge and expose us to risk of loss. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge fully or perfectly against interest rate fluctuations affecting the value of securities in our portfolio.

We are subject to stringent capital and liquidity regulations and requirements.

NewtekOne is the parent company of and a separate and distinct legal entity from Newtek Bank. Legal entity liquidity is an important consideration as there are legal, regulatory, contractual and other limitations on our ability to utilize liquidity from one legal entity to satisfy the liquidity requirements of another, which could result in adverse liquidity events at either NewtekOne and/or Newtek Bank. Applicable laws and regulations, including capital and liquidity requirements and the Operating Agreement, could restrict our ability to transfer funds between Newtek Bank and NewtekOne, which could adversely affect our cash flow and financial condition. Additionally, applicable laws and regulations may restrict what NewtekOne is able to do with the liquidity it does possess, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

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Further, pursuant to the Operating Agreement we have made certain commitments to the OCC which requires Newtek Bank to hold capital incremental to the minimum required under the applicable standards, which could also impact the Company’s ability to invest in assets. From time to time, regulators may implement changes to these capital adequacy and liquidity requirements. If we fail to meet these minimum capital adequacy and liquidity guidelines and other regulatory requirements, our business activities, including lending, and its ability to expand could be limited. It could also result in the Company being required to take steps to increase its regulatory capital that may be dilutive or adverse to stockholders, including limiting the Company’s ability to pay dividends to stockholders or limiting the Company’s ability to invest in assets even if deemed more desirable from a financial and business perspective.

Federal law and Federal Reserve policy require that a bank holding company serve as a source of financial and managerial strength for any FDIC-insured depository institution that it controls. Thus, if Newtek Bank were to be in financial distress or to otherwise be viewed by the regulators as in an unsatisfactory condition, then the federal banking regulators could require the Company to provide additional capital or liquidity support, or take other action, in support of Newtek Bank, even if doing so is not otherwise in the best interest of the Company or its shareholders.

An inability to maintain adequate liquidity could jeopardize our business and financial condition.

Liquidity is essential to our business. Although we believe that we currently have an adequate amount of liquidity to support our business, there are a number of factors that could reduce and/or deplete our existing liquidity position, including results of operations that are reduced relative to our projections, costs related to existing or future litigation or regulatory matters, the pursuit of strategic business opportunities (whether through acquisition or organic) and unanticipated liabilities. Additionally, as noted above, we are subject to stringent capital and liquidity regulations and requirements and need to manage our liquidity position at both NewtekOne and Newtek Bank within the parameters and terms set forth by applicable regulations and regulators. Newtek Bank is subject to various legal, regulatory and other restrictions on its ability to make distributions and payments to the Company. Any inability to maintain an adequate liquidity position could adversely affect our operations, our compliance with applicable regulations and the performance of our business.

Further, our ability to raise additional capital, should that be deemed beneficial and/or necessary, depends on conditions in the capital markets, economic conditions and a number of other factors, including investor perceptions regarding the financial services and banking industry, market conditions, governmental activities, and our financial condition and performance. Accordingly, we may be unable to raise additional capital if needed or on acceptable terms, which may adversely affect our liquidity, business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our acquisitions and other strategic transactions, including the Acquisition, may not yield the intended benefits.

We have historically and may continue to evaluate and consider strategic transactions, combinations, acquisitions, dispositions or alliances. These transactions could be material to our financial condition and results of operations if consummated. If we are able to identify an appropriate business opportunity, we may not be successful in negotiating favorable terms and/or consummating the transaction and, even if we do consummate such a transaction, we may be unable to obtain the benefits or avoid the difficulties and risks of such transaction.

In particular, on January 6, 2023, we completed the Acquisition of NBNYC. We anticipate that the Acquisition will continue to be transformational for the Company from both a financial and strategic perspective. However, any acquisition (including the Acquisition), disposition or other strategic transactions involves risks, including:

• difficulties in assimilating and integrating the operations, personnel, systems, data, technologies, products and services of the acquired business, which may require ongoing investment in development and enhancement of additional operational and reporting processes and controls;
• inability of the acquired technologies, products or businesses to achieve expected levels of revenue, profitability, productivity or other benefits;
• difficulties in retaining, training, motivating and integrating key personnel;
• diversion of management’s time and resources from our normal daily operations;
• difficulties in successfully incorporating licensed or acquired technology and rights into our platform;
• difficulties in maintaining uniform standards, controls, procedures and policies within the combined organization;
• difficulties in retaining relationships with customers, employees and suppliers of the acquired business;
• risks of entering markets in which we have no or limited direct prior experience;
• regulatory risks, including remaining in good standing with existing regulatory bodies or receiving any necessary pre-closing or post-closing approvals, as well as being subject to new regulators with oversight over an acquired business;
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• assumption of contractual obligations that contain terms that are not beneficial to us, require us to license or waive intellectual property rights or increase our risk for liability;
• failure to successfully further develop any acquired technology;
• liability for activities of the acquired or disposed of business before the acquisition or disposition, including patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, regulatory actions, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities;
• difficulty in separating assets and replacing shared services;
• assumption of exposure to performance of any acquired loan portfolios;
• potential disruptions to our ongoing businesses; and
• unexpected costs and unknown risks and liabilities associated with the acquisition.

Accordingly, any acquisition, disposition or other strategic transaction may not be successful, may not benefit our business strategy, may not generate sufficient revenue to offset the associated costs or may not otherwise result in the intended benefits. Additionally, it may take us longer than expected to fully realize the anticipated benefits and synergies of these transactions (including the Acquisition), and those benefits and synergies may ultimately be smaller than anticipated or may not be realized at all, which could adversely affect our business and operating results.

Any transactions, combinations, acquisitions, dispositions or alliances may also require us to issue additional equity securities, spend our cash, or incur debt (and increased interest expense), liabilities and amortization expenses related to intangible assets or write-offs of goodwill, which could adversely affect our results of operations and dilute the economic and voting rights of our stockholders and the interests of holders of our indebtedness.

In addition, we cannot assure you that any acquisition of new businesses or technology will lead to the successful development of new or enhanced products and services or that any new or enhanced products and services, if developed, will achieve market acceptance or prove to be profitable.

Finally, we may also choose to divest certain businesses or product lines that no longer fit with our strategic objectives. If we decide to sell assets or a business, we may have difficulty obtaining terms acceptable to us in a timely manner, or at all. Additionally, the terms of such potential transactions may expose us to ongoing obligations and liabilities.

Our business may be adversely affected if our risk management framework does not effectively identify, assess and mitigate risk.

Our risk management framework seeks to appropriately balance risk and return and mitigate our risks, including risks attributable to third parties. We have established policies intended to regularly identify and assess our risk profile, including credit risk, pricing risk, liquidity risk, strategic risk and operational risk, and then implement appropriate processes and controls to mitigate risk.

If our risk management framework does not effectively identify, assess and/or mitigate our risk profile, we could suffer unexpected losses or be adversely affected, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. For example, assessment of our risk profile depends, in part, upon the use of forecasting models. If these models are ineffective at predicting future losses or are otherwise inadequate, we may incur unexpected losses or otherwise be adversely affected. In addition, the information we use may be inaccurate or incomplete, both of which may be difficult to detect and avoid. Additionally, there may be risks that exist, or that develop in the future, that we have not appropriately anticipated, identified or mitigated.

Finally, our risk management framework may be deemed insufficient or inadequate by our regulators, which have in the past required, and we expect to continue to require, that we invest additional resources into remediating any deficiencies and adversely impact our ability to operate our business until such time as the revised framework is deemed sufficient and adequate by our regulators.

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Internal control deficiencies could impact the accuracy of our financial results or prevent the detection of fraud. As a result, shareholders could lose confidence in our financial and other public reporting, which would harm our business and the trading price of our common stock.

Effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the Company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Any failure by us to identify future deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in a timely manner or remediate any such deficiencies, could prevent us from accurately and timely reporting our financial results. Inferior internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our common stock.

We review and update our internal controls, disclosure controls and procedures and corporate governance policies as our Company continues to evolve. In addition, we are required to comply with the internal control evaluation and certification requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). We are required to disclose changes made in our internal control and procedures on a quarterly basis and our management is required to assess the effectiveness of these controls annually. An independent assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls could detect problems that our management’s assessment might not have detected. Undetected material weaknesses in our internal controls could lead to financial statement restatements and require us to incur the expense of remediation. In the event that we are unable to maintain or achieve compliance with Section 404 of the SOX and related rules, the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.

We have identified material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting which could, if not remediated, adversely affect our ability to report our financial condition and results of operations in a timely and accurate manner, investor confidence in our Company and, as a result, the value of our common stock.

We have assessed the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting based upon the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013). Based on this assessment, we have concluded that we did not maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, as a result of the material weaknesses described in “Item 9A. Controls and Procedures,” herein. We have taken actions to enhance our internal controls over financial reporting relating to the material weaknesses identified as of the date of this Annual Report. We hired a new Chief Financial Officer in May 2023 and appointed a new Chief Accounting Officer in March 2024, and hired a Chief Risk Officer, each with recent and significant financial holding company experience. We are still in the process of implementing other remediation measures as part of a comprehensive remediation plan. The material weaknesses identified herein cannot be considered remediated until each control has been appropriately designed, has operated for a sufficient period of time, and until management has concluded, through testing, that the control is operating effectively. See “Item 9A. Controls and Procedures.” We can give no assurance that a comprehensive remediation plan will remediate the material weakness in internal control, or that additional material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal controls over financial reporting will not be identified in the future. A failure by us to timely and effectively remediate the material weaknesses could prevent us from accurately and timely reporting our financial results and could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our common stock.

Our business is subject to increasingly complex corporate governance, public disclosure and accounting requirements that are costly and could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We are subject to changing rules and regulations of federal and state government as well as the stock exchange on which our common stock is listed. These entities, including the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the SEC, the OCC and the Nasdaq Global Market, have issued a significant number of new and increasingly complex requirements and regulations over the course of the last several years and continue to develop additional regulations and requirements in response to laws enacted by Congress. Our efforts to comply with existing requirements, or any revised or amended requirements, have resulted in, and may continue to result in, an increase in expenses and a diversion of management’s time from other business activities.

In addition, our failure to keep pace with any such rules, or for our management to appropriately address compliance with such rules fully and in a timely manner, exposes us to an increasing risk of inadvertent non-compliance. While our management team takes reasonable efforts to ensure that we are in full compliance with all laws applicable to its operations, the increasing rate and extent of regulatory change increases the risk of a failure to comply, which may result in our ability to operate our business in the ordinary course or may subject us to potential fines, regulatory findings or other matters that may materially impact our business.

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Our clients may be concentrated in a limited number of industries, which may subject us to a risk of significant loss if there is a downturn in a particular industry in which a number of our loans are concentrated.

Our clients may be concentrated in a limited number of industries. A downturn in any particular industry in which we provide loans could significantly impact the aggregate returns we realize. If an industry to which we provide significant loans suffers from adverse business or economic conditions, as these industries have to varying degrees, a material portion of our business could be affected adversely, which, in turn, could adversely affect our financial position and results of operations.

If we and our subsidiaries are unable to protect our intellectual property rights, our business and prospects could be harmed.

The proprietary software essential to our business and that of our subsidiaries is owned by us and made available to them for their use. Our future success and competitive position will depend in part upon our ability to maintain and protect proprietary technology used in our products and services. We will rely, in part, on patent, trade secret and trademark law to protect that technology, but competitors may misappropriate our intellectual property, and disputes as to ownership of intellectual property may arise. We may, from time to time, be required to institute litigation to enforce the patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights, protect trade secrets, determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or defend against claims of infringement. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources.
RISKS RELATED TO SBA LENDING

Changes to the SBA Section 7(a) Program can negatively impact our SBA 7(a) loan origination volume.

Changes to the SBA Section 7(a) Program, including recent revisions to SBA Standard Operating Procedure SOP 50 10 7.1 (“SOP 7.1”), shifted to the SBA a PLP lender’s delegated authority in making determinations of a borrower’s satisfaction of certain eligibility requirements to participate in the Section 7(a) Program. Potential impacts of the SOP 7.1 revisions remain unclear, including the SBA’s ability to demonstrate that it can timely and appropriately make these eligibility determinations; and therefore, there can be no assurance that these and future SOP revisions will not negatively impact, among other things, the volume of SBA 7(a) loans originated by PLP lenders, including Newtek Bank, which could have an adverse impact on the Company’s business, financial condition and/or operating results.

There can be no guarantee that Newtek Bank and NSBF will be able to maintain their SBA 7(a) lending licenses.

Both Newtek Bank, N.A. and NSBF have been granted SBA 7(a) lending licenses. Additionally, prior to the Acquisition, NSBF had been granted PLP status, which allowed it to place SBA guarantees on loans without seeking prior SBA review and approval. Newtek Bank obtained PLP status in April 2023. PLP status allows NSBF and Newtek Bank to expedite loans since they are not required to present applications to the SBA for concurrent review and approval. While the Company intends that NBSF will continue to service its current portfolio of SBA 7(a) loans, and that new SBA 7(a) loan originations will be made by Newtek Bank, there can be no guarantee that Newtek Bank and NSBF will be able to maintain their SBA 7(a) lending licenses. The loss Newtek Bank’s SBA 7(a) lending license would negatively impact our results of operations.

Further, there can be no assurance that Newtek Bank will be able to maintain its status as a PLP. Newtek Bank’s loss of PLP status would adversely impact our marketing efforts and ultimately loan origination volume which would negatively impact our results of operations.

NSBF and Newtek Bank, our wholly-owned subsidiaries, are subject to regulation by the SBA, which has specific risks.

NSBF is licensed by the SBA as an SBLC. In order to operate as an SBLC, a licensee is required to maintain a minimum regulatory capital (as defined by SBA regulations) of the greater of (1) 10% of its outstanding loans receivable and other investments or (2) $1.0 million. Moreover, before consenting to a securitization, NSBF and other securitizers must, among other things, be considered well capitalized by the SBA. For NSBF and other SBLC securitizers, the SBA will consider it well capitalized if it maintains a minimum unencumbered paid in capital and paid in surplus equal to at least 10% of its assets, excluding the guaranteed portion of 7(a) loans. In addition, an SBLC is subject to certain other regulatory restrictions. Among other things, SBLCs are required to: establish, adopt, and maintain a formal written capital plan; submit to the SBA for review a credit policy that demonstrates the SBLC’s compliance with the applicable regulations and the SBA’s Standard Operating Procedures for origination, servicing and liquidation of 7(a) loans; submit to the SBA for review and approval annual validation, with supporting documentation and methodologies, demonstrating that any scoring model used by the SBLC is predictive of loan performance; obtain SBA approval for loan securitization and borrowings; and adopt and fully implement an internal control policy which provides adequate direction for effective control over and accountability for operations, programs, and resources.
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Additionally, in connection with our 2018 examination by the SBA, NSBF entered into a voluntary agreement with the SBA to meet certain other requirements and conditions. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to SBA Lending - If NSBF or Newtek Bank fail to comply with SBA regulations in connection with the origination, servicing, or liquidation of an SBA 7(a) loan, liability on the SBA guaranty, in whole or in part, could be transferred to NSBF or Newtek Bank.”

NSBF will remain subject to SBA regulation as it winds down its operations.

As a result of the Acquisition, all SBA 7(a) loan originations are being transitioned to Newtek Bank in April 2023, and NSBF has ceased origination of SBA 7(a) loans, relinquished its PLP status and is winding-down its operations. During this wind down process, NSBF will be required to continue to own the SBA 7(a) loans and PPP Loans in its SBA loan portfolio to maturity, liquidation, charge-off, or (subject to SBA’s prior written approval), sale or transfer. NSBF will be required to continue to service and liquidate its SBA Loan Portfolio, including processing forgiveness and loan reviews for PPP Loans, pursuant to an SBA approved lender service provider agreement with SBL. During the wind down process NSBF will be required to maintain minimum capital requirements established by the SBA, will be required to maintain certain amounts of restricted cash available to meet any obligations to the SBA, will have restrictions on its ability to make dividends and distributions to its parent, and will remain liable to SBA for post-purchase denials and repairs, from the proceeds generated by NSBF’s SBA loan portfolio. Any future post-purchase denials and repairs demands on NSBF could negatively impact our results of operations. In addition, the Company has agreed to guarantee NSBF’s obligations to the SBA and has deposited $10 million at Newtek Bank to secure NSBF’s potential obligations to the SBA..

We have specific risks associated with SBA loans.

We have generally sold the guaranteed portion of SBA loans in the secondary market. Such sales have resulted in our earning premiums and creating a stream of servicing income. Sale prices for guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans can be negatively impacted by market conditions, in particular a higher interest rate environment, which can lead to higher prepayments during the period, resulting in lower sale prices in the secondary market. A reduction in the price of guaranteed SBA 7(a) loans could negatively impact our business. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue originating these loans, or that a secondary market will exist for, or that we will continue to realize premiums upon the sale of the guaranteed portions of the SBA 7(a) loans.

If NSBF or Newtek Bank fail to comply with SBA regulations in connection with the origination, servicing, or liquidation of an SBA 7(a) loan, liability on the SBA guaranty, in whole or in part, could be transferred to NSBF or Newtek Bank.

Since we sell the guaranteed portion of substantially all of our SBA 7(a) loan portfolio, we retain credit risk on the non-guaranteed portion of the SBA loans. We share pro rata with the SBA in any recoveries. In the event of default on an SBA loan, our pursuit of remedies against a borrower is subject to SBA approval.

If we fail to comply with certain of the SBA’s regulations in connection with the origination, servicing, or liquidation of an SBA 7(a) loan, the SBA may be released from liability on its guaranty of a 7(a) loan, and may refuse to honor a guaranty purchase request in full (referred to by SBA as a “denial”) or in part (referred to by SBA as a “repair”), or recover all or part of the funds already paid in connection with a guaranty purchase. In the event of a repair or denial, liability on the guaranty, in whole or part, would be transferred to NSBF or Newtek Bank. In addition, the growth in the number of loans made by Newtek Bank, changes in SBA regulations and economic factors may adversely impact our current repair and denial rate. In connection with NSBF’s 2018 examination by the SBA, NSBF entered into a voluntary agreement with the SBA pursuant to which NSBF established a segregated restricted cash account in the amount of $10 million to account for potential post-purchase repairs and denials of guaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans, and take certain actions to demonstrate the sufficiency of NSBF’s liquidity and establish certain additional reporting and compliance procedures.

Curtailment of the government-guaranteed loan programs could adversely affect our results of operations.

Although the SBA 7(a) Program has been in existence since 1953, there can be no assurance that the federal government will maintain the SBA 7(a) program, or that it will continue to guarantee loans at current levels. Furthermore, in an effort to support our communities during the pandemic, we participated in the PPP under the CARES Act whereby we made loans to small businesses and those loans are subject to the regulatory requirements that require forbearance of loan payments for a specified time or limit our ability to pursue all available remedies in the event of a loan default. If the borrower under the PPP loan fails to qualify for loan forgiveness, we may be at the heightened risk of holding these loans at unfavorable interest rates as compared to the loans to customers that we would have otherwise extended credit. If we cannot continue originating and selling government-guaranteed loans, we will generate fewer origination fees and our ability to generate gains on the sale of loans will
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decrease. From time-to-time, the government agencies that guarantee these loans reach their internal budgeted limits and cease to guarantee loans for a stated time period. In addition, these agencies may change their rules for extending loans. Also, Congress may adopt legislation that would have the effect of discontinuing or changing the SBA’s programs. Non-governmental programs could replace government programs for some borrowers, but the terms might not be equally acceptable. If these changes occur, the volume of loans to SMBs and industrial borrowers of the types that now qualify for government-guaranteed loans could decline, as could the profitability of these loans.

Our loans under the Section 7(a) Loan Program involve a high risk of default and such default could adversely impact our results of operations.

Loans to small businesses involve a high risk of default. Such loans are generally not rated by any statistical rating organization. Small businesses usually have smaller product lines and market shares than larger companies and therefore may be more vulnerable to competition and general economic conditions. These businesses’ success typically depends on their management talents and efforts of one person or a small group of persons whose death, disability or resignation would adversely affect the business. Because these businesses frequently have highly leveraged capital structures, reduced cash flow resulting from economic downturns can severely impact the businesses’ ability to meet their obligations, which could impact our results of operations. The portions of Section 7(a) loans to be retained by us do not benefit directly from any SBA guarantees; in an event of default, however, we and the SBA typically cooperate in collateral foreclosure or other work-out efforts and share in any resulting collections.

The loans we make under the Section 7(a) Loan Program face competition.

There are a large number of banks and several non-bank lenders that participate in the SBA Section 7(a) Loan Program. All of these participants compete for the business of eligible borrowers. Accordingly, we may be at a competitive disadvantage with regard to other lenders or financial institutions that may be able to achieve greater leverage at a lower cost.

A governmental failure to fund the SBA could adversely affect NSBF’s and Newtek Bank’s SBA 7(a) loan originations and our results of operations.

We are dependent upon the Federal government to maintain the SBA 7(a) Program. NSBF’s and Newtek Bank’s lending business could be materially and adversely affected by circumstances or events limiting the availability of funds for this program. In October 2013, Congress failed to approve a budget, which, in turn, eliminated availability of funds for the SBA 7(a) program. At the time, the government shutdown affected SBA 7(a) lenders’ ability to originate SBA 7(a) loans. More recently, the government shut down in January 2018 due to a lapse in appropriations, and the SBA closed all non-disaster related programs and activities, including the SBA 7(a) program. The government could again fail to fund the SBA which would affect NSBF’s and Newtek Bank’s ability to originate government guaranteed loans and to sell the government guaranteed portions of those loans in the secondary market. Any failure to fund the SBA could adversely affect NSBF’s SBA 7(a) loan originations and our results of operations.

As a participating lender in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), the Company and NSBF are subject to risks that the SBA may not fund some or all PPP loan guaranties.

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act, which included a $349 billion loan program administered through the SBA referred to as the PPP. Under the PPP, small businesses and other entities and individuals can apply for loans from existing SBA lenders and other approved regulated lenders that enroll in the program, subject to numerous limitations and eligibility criteria. On or about April 16, 2020, the SBA notified lenders that the $349 billion earmarked for the PPP was exhausted. Congress approved additional funding for the PPP of approximately $320 billion on April 24, 2020. NSBF is participating as a lender in the PPP. The PPP opened on April 3, 2020; however, because of the short timeframe between the passing of the CARES Act and the opening of the PPP, there had been some ambiguity in the laws, rules and guidance regarding the operation of the PPP, which may expose the Company and NSBF to risks relating to noncompliance with the PPP. During the duration of the PPP, NSBF funded approximately 10,570 PPP loans totaling $1.19 billion.

NSBF also has credit risk on PPP loans if a determination is made by the SBA that there is a deficiency in the manner in which a PPP loan was originated, funded, or serviced by NSBF, such as an issue with the eligibility of a borrower to receive a PPP loan, which may or may not be related to the ambiguity in the laws, rules and guidance regarding the operation of the PPP or additional or new laws, rules, and guidance. In the event of a loss resulting from a default on a PPP loan and a determination by the SBA that there was a deficiency in the manner in which the PPP loan was originated, funded, or serviced by NSBF, the SBA may deny its liability under the guaranty, reduce the amount of the guaranty, or, if it has already paid under the guaranty, seek recovery of any loss related to the deficiency from the Company.
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In addition, in order to facilitate NSBF’s involvement as an authorized lender in the PPP, during the second quarter of 2020, NSBF entered into PPP loan participation agreements where NSBF originated PPP loans and sold participating interests to four banks. See “PPP Loan Participations.” In accordance with the terms of the PPP participation agreements and SBA regulations and guidance, NSBF, as the originating lender, must continue to hold the PPP loan note, the PPP loan documents and service the PPP loan (i.e., retain all servicing rights). Moreover, as the originating lender, NSBF is the party responsible to the SBA with respect to all servicing actions, including requests for advance purchases and loan forgiveness, and will be the party eligible for the guarantee purchase of the PPP loan. NSBF has agreed that it will repurchase from the Participants on demand the Participants’ Percentage of any outstanding principal and interest under the applicable PPP Loan under certain standard representations and warranties, including in the event of a loss due to fraud, gross negligence or willful misconduct on the part of NSBF or any failure to recover under the SBA guarantee as a result of any deficiency in documenting or servicing such PPP Loan by NSBF.

We could be adversely affected by weakness in the residential housing and commercial real estate markets.

Weakness in residential home and commercial real estate values could impair our ability to collect on defaulted SBA loans as real estate is pledged in many of our SBA loans as part of the collateral package.

The development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) present risks and challenges that may adversely impact our business.

We or our third-party vendors, clients or counterparties may develop or incorporate AI technology in certain business processes, services or products. The development and use of AI present a number of risks and challenges to our business. The legal and regulatory environment relating to AI is uncertain and rapidly evolving, both in the United States and internationally, and includes regulatory schemes targeted specifically at AI as well as provisions in intellectual property, privacy, consumer protection, employment and other laws applicable to the use of AI. These evolving laws and regulations could require changes in our implementation of AI technology and increase our compliance costs and the risk of non-compliance. AI models, particularly generative AI models, may produce output or take action that is incorrect, that result in the release of private, confidential or proprietary information, that reflect biases included in the data on which they are trained, infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, or that is otherwise harmful. In addition, the complexity of many AI models makes it challenging to understand why they are generating particular outputs. This limited transparency increases the challenges associated with assessing the proper operation of AI models, understanding and monitoring the capabilities of the AI models, reducing erroneous output, eliminating bias and complying with regulations that require documentation or explanation of the basis on which decisions are made. Further, we may rely on AI models developed by third parties, and, to that extent, would be dependent in part on the manner in which those third parties develop and train their models, including risks arising from the inclusion of any unauthorized material in the training data for their models, and the effectiveness of the steps these third parties have taken to limit the risks associated with the output of their models, matters over which we may have limited visibility. Any of these risks could expose us to liability or adverse legal or regulatory consequences and harm our reputation and the public perception of our business or the effectiveness of our security measures.

In addition to our use of AI technologies, we are exposed to risks arising from the use of AI technologies by bad actors to commit fraud and misappropriate funds and to facilitate cyberattacks. Generative AI, if used to perpetrate fraud or launch cyberattacks, could create panic at a particular financial institution or exchange, which could pose a threat to financial stability.
RISKS RELATED TO U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX

We cannot predict how new tax legislation will affect us, our investments, or our stockholders, and any such legislation could adversely affect our business.

Legislative or other actions relating to taxes could have a negative effect on us. The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department. The current U.S. presidential administration has enacted significant changes to the existing U.S. tax rules, and there are a number of proposals in Congress that would similarly modify the existing U.S. tax rules. The likelihood of any such legislation being enacted is uncertain, but new legislation and any U.S. Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions interpreting such legislation could significantly and negatively affect the U.S. federal income tax consequences to us and our stockholders of such qualification, or could have other adverse consequences. Stockholders are urged to consult with their tax advisor regarding tax legislative, regulatory, or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in our securities.
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RISKS RELATED TO OUR SUBSIDIARIES - NEWTEK MERCHANT SOLUTIONS (NMS)

We could be adversely affected if either of NMS’ two bank sponsorships is terminated.

Because NMS is not a bank, it is unable to belong to and directly access the Visa® and MasterCard® bankcard associations. The Visa® and MasterCard® operating regulations require NMS to be sponsored by a bank in order to process bankcard transactions. A bank sponsorship is an agreement under which a financial institution that has a membership with MasterCard®, Visa® or American Express sponsors an independent sales organization, like NMS, that markets credit card processing services to merchants who accept credit cards as a form of payment, gains access to the Visa®, MasterCard®, and American Express networks. NMS is currently sponsored by two banks. If either of the sponsorships is terminated, and NMS is not able to secure or transfer the respective merchant portfolio to a new bank sponsor or sponsors, the business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows of the electronic payment processing business could be materially adversely affected. If both the sponsorships are terminated and NMS is unable to secure a bank sponsor for the merchant portfolios, it will not be able to process bankcard transactions for the affected portfolios. Consequently, the loss of both of NMS’ sponsorships would have a material adverse effect on our business. Furthermore, NMS’ agreements with sponsoring banks gives the sponsoring banks substantial discretion in approving certain elements of its business practices, including its solicitation, application and qualification procedures for merchants, the terms of their agreements with merchants, the processing fees that they charge, their customer service levels and its use of independent sales organizations and independent sales agents. We cannot guarantee that NMS’ sponsoring banks’ actions under these agreements would not be detrimental to us.

Other service providers, some of whom are NMS’ competitors, are necessary for the conduct of NMS’ business. The termination by service providers of these arrangements with NMS or their failure to perform these services efficiently and effectively may adversely affect NMS’ relationships with the merchants whose accounts it serves and may cause those merchants to terminate their processing agreements with NMS.

If NMS or its processors or bank sponsors fail to adhere to the standards of the Visa® and MasterCard® bankcard associations, its registrations with these associations could be terminated and it could be required to stop providing payment processing services for Visa® and MasterCard®.

Substantially all of the transactions NMS processes involve Visa® or MasterCard®. If NMS, its bank sponsors or its processors fail to comply with the applicable requirements of the Visa® and MasterCard® bankcard associations, Visa® or MasterCard® could suspend or terminate its registration. The termination of NMS’ registration or any changes in the Visa® or MasterCard® rules that would impair its registration could require it to stop providing payment processing services, which would have a material adverse effect on its business and could be detrimental to us.

On occasion, NMS experiences increases in interchange and sponsorship fees. If it cannot pass along these increases to its merchants, its profit margins will be reduced.

NMS pays interchange fees or assessments to bankcard associations for each transaction it processes using their credit, debit and gift cards. From time to time, the bankcard associations increase the interchange fees that they charge processors and the sponsoring banks, which generally pass on such increases to NMS. From time to time, the sponsoring banks increase their fees as well. If NMS is not able to pass these fee increases along to merchants through corresponding increases in its processing fees, its profit margins in this line of business will be reduced.

Unauthorized disclosure of merchant or cardholder data, whether through breach of our computer systems or otherwise, could expose us to liability and business losses.

Through NMS, we collect and store sensitive data about merchants and cardholders, and we maintain a database of cardholder data relating to specific transactions, including payment, card numbers and cardholder addresses, in order to process the transactions and for fraud prevention and other internal processes. If anyone penetrates our network security or otherwise misappropriates sensitive merchant or cardholder data, we could be subject to liability or business interruption. While we subject these systems to periodic independent testing and review, we cannot guarantee that our systems will not be penetrated in the future. If a breach of our system occurs, we may be subject to liability, including claims for unauthorized purchases with misappropriated card information, impersonation or other similar fraud claims. Similar risks exist with regard to the storage and transmission of such data by our processors. In the event of any such a breach, we may also be subject to a class action lawsuit. SMBs are less prepared for the complexities of safeguarding cardholder data than their larger counterparts. In the event of noncompliance by a customer of card industry rules, we could face fines from payment card networks. There can be no assurance that we would be able to recover any such fines from such customer.

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NMS is liable if its processing merchants refuse or cannot reimburse charge-backs resolved in favor of their customers.

If a billing dispute between a merchant and a cardholder is not ultimately resolved in favor of the merchant, the disputed transaction is “charged back” to the merchant’s bank and credited to the account of the cardholder. If NMS or its processing banks are unable to collect the charge-back from the merchant’s account, or if the merchant refuses or is financially unable due to bankruptcy or other reasons to reimburse the merchant’s bank for the charge-back, NMS must bear the loss for the amount of the refund paid to the cardholder’s bank. Most of NMS’ merchants deliver products or services when purchased, so a contingent liability for charge-backs is unlikely to arise, and credits are issued on returned items. However, some of its merchants do not provide services until sometime after a purchase, which increases the potential for contingent liability and future charge-backs. NMS and the sponsoring bank can require that merchants maintain cash reserves under its control to cover charge-back liabilities but such reserves may not be sufficient to cover the liability or may not even be available to them in the event of a bankruptcy or other legal action.

NMS has potential liability for customer or merchant fraud.

Credit card fraud occurs when a merchant’s customer uses a stolen card (or a stolen card number in a card-not-present transaction) to purchase merchandise or services. In a traditional card-present transaction, if the merchant swipes the card, receives authorization for the transaction from the card issuing bank and verifies the signature on the back of the card against the paper receipt signed by the customer, the card issuing bank remains liable for any loss. In a fraudulent card-not-present transaction, even if the merchant receives authorization for the transaction, the merchant is liable for any loss arising from the transaction. Many NMS customers are small and transact a substantial percentage of their sales over the Internet or by telephone or mail orders. Because their sales are card-not-present transactions, these merchants are more vulnerable to customer fraud than larger merchants, and NMS could experience charge-backs arising from cardholder fraud more frequently with these merchants.

Merchant fraud occurs when a merchant, rather than a customer, knowingly uses a stolen or counterfeit card or card number to record a false sales transaction or intentionally fails to deliver the merchandise or services sold in an otherwise valid transaction. Anytime a merchant is unable to satisfy a charge-back, NMS is ultimately responsible for that charge-back unless it has required that a cash reserve be established. We cannot assure that the systems and procedures NMS has established to detect and reduce the impact of merchant fraud are or will be effective. Failure to effectively manage risk and prevent fraud could increase NMS charge-back liability and adversely affect its results of operations.

NMS payment processing systems may fail due to factors beyond its control, which could interrupt its business or cause it to lose business and likely increase costs.

NMS depends on the uninterrupted operations of our computer network systems, software and our processors’ data centers. Defects in these systems or damage to them due to factors beyond its control could cause severe disruption to NMS’ business and other material adverse effects on its payment processing businesses.

The electronic payment processing business is undergoing very rapid technological changes which may make it difficult or impossible for NMS to compete effectively.

The introduction of new technologies, primarily mobile payment capabilities, and the entry into the payment processing market of new competitors, Apple, Inc., for example, could dramatically change the competitive environment and require significant changes and costs for NMS to remain competitive. There is no assurance that NMS will have the capability to stay competitive with such changes.

NMS and others in the payment processing industry have come under increasing pressures from various regulatory agencies seeking to use the leverage of the payment processing business to limit or modify the practices of merchants which could lead to increased costs.

Various agencies, particularly the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), have within the past few years attempted to pressure merchants to discontinue or modify various sales or other practices. As a part of the payment processing industry, processors such as NMS could experience pressure and/or litigation aimed at restricting access to credit card sales by such merchants. These efforts could cause an increase in the cost to NMS of doing business or otherwise make its business less profitable and may subject NMS to assess penalties for not taking actions deemed sufficiently aggressive to limit such practices. As a result of a litigation brought by the FTC in October 2012, NMS voluntarily entered into, and is presently operating under, a permanent injunction with respect to certain of its business practices.

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Increased regulatory focus on the payments industry may result in costly new compliance burdens on NMS’ clients and on NMS itself, leading to increased costs and decreased payments volume and revenues.

Regulation of the payments industry has increased significantly in recent years. Complying with these and other regulations increases costs and can reduce revenue opportunities. Similarly, the impact of such regulations on clients may reduce the volume of payments processed. Moreover, such regulations can limit the types of products and services that are offered. Any of these occurrences can materially and adversely affect NMS’ business, prospects for future growth, financial condition and results of operations.

Examples include:

Data Protection and Information Security. Aspects of NMS’ operations and business are subject to privacy and data protection regulation. NMS’ financial institution clients are subject to similar requirements under the guidelines issued by the federal banking agencies. In addition, many individual states have enacted legislation requiring consumer notification in the event of a security breach.

Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing. The U.S.A. PATRIOT Act requires NMS to maintain an anti-money laundering program. Sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, restrict NMS from dealing with certain parties considered to be connected with money laundering, terrorism or narcotics. NMS has controls in place designed to ensure OFAC compliance, but if those controls should fail, it could be subject to penalties, reputational damage and loss of business.

Money Transfer Regulations. As NMS expands its product offerings, it may become subject to money transfer regulations, increasing regulatory oversight and costs of compliance.

Formal Investigation. If NMS is suspected of violating government statutes, such as the Federal Trade Commission Act or the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, governmental agencies may formally investigate NMS. As a result of such a formal investigation, criminal or civil charges could be filed against NMS and it could be required to pay significant fines or penalties in connection with such investigation or other governmental investigations. Any criminal or civil charges by a governmental agency, including any fines or penalties, could materially harm NMS’ business, results of operations, financial position and cash flows. Currently, NMS is operating under an order for injunctive relief it voluntarily entered into with the Federal Trade Commission.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR SUBSIDIARIES - NEWTEK BANK
If the credit decisioning, pricing, loss forecasting and scoring models we use contain errors, do not adequately assess risk, or are otherwise ineffective, our reputation and relationships with customers could be harmed, our market share could decline and the value of loans held on our balance sheet may be adversely affected.

Our ability to attract clients to, and build trust in, Newtek Bank is significantly dependent on our ability to effectively evaluate a borrower’s credit profile and likelihood of default. To conduct this evaluation, we utilize credit decisioning, pricing, loss forecasting and scoring models that assign each loan offered through our marketplace bank a grade and a corresponding interest rate. Our models are based on algorithms that evaluate a number of factors, including behavioral data, transactional data, bank data and employment information, which may not effectively predict future loan losses. If we are unable to effectively segment borrowers into relative risk profiles, we may be unable to offer attractive interest rates for borrowers and risk-adjusted returns for investors.

Additionally, if these models fail to adequately assess the creditworthiness of our borrowers, we may experience higher than forecasted losses. Furthermore, as stated above, we hold loans on our balance sheet. We periodically assess the value of these loans and in doing so we review and incorporate a number of factors including forecasted losses. Accordingly, if we fail to adequately assess the creditworthiness of our borrowers such that we experience higher than forecasted losses, the value of the loans held on our balance sheet may be adversely affected.

We continually refine these algorithms based on new data and changing macroeconomic conditions. However, there is no guarantee that the credit decisioning, pricing, loss forecasting and scoring models that we use have accurately assessed the creditworthiness of our borrowers, or will be effective in assessing creditworthiness in the future.

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Similarly, if any of these models contain programming or other errors, are ineffective or the data provided by borrowers or third parties is incorrect or stale, our loan pricing and approval process could be negatively affected, resulting in mispriced or misclassified loans or incorrect approvals or denials of loans. If these errors were to occur, we may be obligated to repurchase the affected loans, investors may try to rescind their affected investments or decide not to invest in loans in the future or borrowers may seek to revise the terms of their loans or reduce the use of our marketplace bank for loans.

If collection efforts on delinquent loans are ineffective or unsuccessful, the return on investment for investors in those loans would be adversely affected and investors may not find investing through our marketplace bank desirable.

Many of our loan products are unsecured obligations of borrowers, and they are not secured by any collateral. None of the loans facilitated on our platform are guaranteed or insured by any third party or backed by any governmental authority in any way. We are the loan servicer for all loans supporting notes, all certificates and certain secured borrowings, and we are the loan servicer for most, though not all, loans sold as whole loans. The ability to collect on the loans is dependent on the borrower’s continuing financial stability, and consequently, collections can be adversely affected by a number of factors, including bankruptcy or the economic and/or social factors. Furthermore, the application of various federal and state laws, including federal and state bankruptcy and insolvency laws, may limit the amount that can be recovered on these loans. Accordingly, we and our designated third-party servicers and collection agencies are limited in our ability to collect loans.

In addition, most investors must depend on us or our third-party servicers and collection agents to pursue collection on delinquent borrower loans. Because we make payments ratably on an investor’s investment only if we receive the borrower’s payments on the corresponding loan, if we, or third parties on our behalf, cannot adequately perform collection services, the investor will not be entitled to any payments under the terms of the investment. Further, if collection action must be taken in respect of a loan, we or the collection agency may charge a collection fee on any amounts that are obtained (excluding litigation). These fees will correspondingly reduce the amounts of any payments received by an investor. Similarly, the returns to investors may be impacted by declines in market rates for sales of charged-off loans to third-party purchasers. Ultimately, if delinquencies impair our ability to offer attractive risk-adjusted returns for investors, they may seek alternative investments and our business may suffer.

In addition, because our servicing fees depend on the collectability of the loans, if we experience a significant increase in the number of delinquent or charged-off loans we will be unable to collect our entire servicing fee for such loans and our revenue could be adversely affected.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR SUBSIDIARIES - NEWTEK TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS (NTS)

We have agreed to terminate the activities conducted by NTS.

As a result of commitments made to the Federal Reserve, the Company will divest or otherwise terminate the activities conducted by Newtek Technology Solutions, Inc., which includes the entities of SIDCO, LLC d/b/a/ Cloud Nine Services and Excel WebSolutions, LLC after a December 31, 2023 merger, within two years of becoming a financial holding company, subject to any extension of the two-year period. The divestiture of NTS may negatively impact the Company’s revenue and income and our ability to effectively manage our information technology systems and infrastructure and cybersecurity risk. See “ITEM I.C Cybersecurity.”

NTS operates in a highly competitive industry in which technological change can be rapid.

The information technology business and its related technology involve a broad range of rapidly changing technologies. NTS equipment and the technologies on which it is based may not remain competitive over time, and others may develop superior technologies that render its products non-competitive, without significant additional capital expenditures. Some of NTS’ competitors are significantly larger and have substantially greater market presence as well as greater financial, technical, operational, marketing and other resources and experience than NTS. In the event that such a competitor expends significant sales and marketing resources in one or several markets, NTS may not be able to compete successfully in such markets. We believe that competition will continue to increase, placing downward pressure on prices. Such pressure could adversely affect NTS gross margins if it is not able to reduce its costs commensurate with such price reductions. There can be no assurances that NTS will remain competitive.

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NTS’ technology solutions business depends on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of its computer and communications hardware systems and infrastructure.

Despite precautions taken by NTS against possible failure of its systems, interruptions could result from natural disasters, power loss, the inability to acquire fuel for its backup generators, telecommunications failure, terrorist attacks and similar events. NTS also leases telecommunications lines from local, regional and national carriers whose service may be interrupted. NTS’ business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed by any damage or failure that interrupts or delays its operations. There can be no assurance that NTS’ insurance will cover all of the losses or compensate NTS for the possible loss of clients occurring during any period that NTS is unable to provide service.

NTS’ inability to maintain the integrity of its infrastructure and the privacy of confidential information would materially affect its business.

The NTS infrastructure is potentially vulnerable to physical or electronic break-ins, viruses or similar problems. If its security measures are circumvented, it could jeopardize the security of confidential information stored on NTS’ systems, misappropriate proprietary information or cause interruptions in NTS’ operations. We may be required to make significant additional investments and efforts to protect against or remedy security breaches. Security breaches that result in access to confidential information could damage our reputation and expose us to a risk of loss or liability. The security services that NTS offers in connection with customers’ networks cannot assure complete protection from computer viruses, break-ins and other disruptive problems. The occurrence of these problems may result in claims against NTS or us or liability on our part. These claims, regardless of their ultimate outcome, could result in costly litigation and could harm our business and reputation and impair NTS’ ability to attract and retain customers.

NTS could be adversely affected by information security breaches or cyber security attacks.

NTS’ web and cloud services involve the storage and transmission of our customers’ and employees’ proprietary information. NTS’ business relies on its digital technologies, computer and email systems, software, and networks to conduct its operations. NTS’ technologies, systems and networks may become the target of criminal cyber-attacks or information security breaches that could result in the unauthorized release, gathering, monitoring, misuse, loss or destruction of confidential, proprietary and other information of NTS or third parties with whom NTS deals, or otherwise disrupt our or our customers’ or other third parties’ business operations. It is critical to NTS’ business strategy that its facilities and infrastructure remain secure and are perceived by the marketplace to be secure. Although NTS believes it employs appropriate security technologies, NTS cannot guarantee that the security technologies (including data encryption processes, intrusion detection systems) it employs or, the comprehensive risk assessments it conducts, or its other internal control procedures will assure the security of its customers’ data. If NTS’ security measures are breached as a result of third-party action, employee error or otherwise, and as a result, its customers’ data becomes available to unauthorized parties, NTS and our other subsidiaries could incur liability and its reputation would be damaged, which could lead to the loss of current and potential customers. In addition, NTS will be required to expend significant capital and other resources to detect, remedy, protect against or alleviate breaches of its network and security, and it may not be able to remedy these problems in a timely manner, or at all. Because techniques used by outsiders to obtain unauthorized network access or to sabotage systems change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, NTS may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures. For example, in early 2018 following an unauthorized third party misappropriating three of NTS’ domain names, NTS’ management and forensic investigators determined that attackers compromised a portion of its shared webhosting system, and may have acquired certain customer information limited to its shared webhosting customers, and/or gained access to certain of its shared webhosting servers. In response, NTS took a range of steps designed to further secure its systems, enhance its security protections, enhance access controls, and prevent future unauthorized activity. For more information on risks relating to cybersecurity, see “Risks Related to Cybersecurity.”

NTS’ business depends on Microsoft Corporation and others for the licenses to use software as well as other intellectual property in the managed technology solutions business.

NTS’ managed technology business is built on technological platforms relying on the Microsoft Windows® products and other intellectual property that NTS currently licenses. As a result, if NTS is unable to continue to have the benefit of those licensing arrangements or if the products upon which its platform is built become obsolete, its business could be materially and adversely affected.
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RISKS RELATED TO OUR SUBSIDIARIES - NEWTEK INSURANCE AGENCY (NIA)

NIA depends on third parties, particularly property and casualty insurance companies, to supply the products marketed by its agents.

NIA contracts with property and casualty insurance companies typically provide that the contracts can be terminated by the supplier without cause. NIA’s inability to enter into satisfactory arrangements with these suppliers or the loss of these relationships for any reason would adversely affect the results of its insurance business. Also, NIA’s inability to obtain these products at competitive prices could make it difficult for it to compete with larger and better capitalized providers of such insurance services.

If NIA fails to comply with government regulations, its insurance agency business would be adversely affected.

NIA insurance agency business is subject to comprehensive regulation in the various states in which it conducts business. NIA’s success will depend in part upon its ability to satisfy these regulations and to obtain and maintain all required licenses and permits. NIA’s failure to comply with any statutes and regulations could have a material adverse effect on it. Furthermore, the adoption of additional statutes and regulations, changes in the interpretation and enforcement of current statutes and regulations could have a material adverse effect on it.

NIA does not have any control over the commissions it earns on the sale of insurance products which are based on premiums and commission rates set by insurers and the conditions prevalent in the insurance market.

NIA earns commissions on the sale of insurance products. Commission rates and premiums can change based on the prevailing economic and competitive factors that affect insurance underwriters. In addition, the insurance industry has been characterized by periods of intense price competition due to excessive underwriting capacity and periods of favorable premium levels due to shortages of capacity. We cannot predict the timing or extent of future changes in commission rates or premiums or the effect any of these changes will have on the operations of NIA.

If NIA fails to comply with government regulations, its insurance agency business would be adversely affected.

NIA insurance agency business is subject to comprehensive regulation in the various states in which it conducts business. NIA’s success will depend in part upon its ability to satisfy these regulations and to obtain and maintain all required licenses and permits. NIA’s failure to comply with any statutes and regulations could have a material adverse effect on it. Furthermore, the adoption of additional statutes and regulations, changes in the interpretation and enforcement of current statutes and regulations could have a material adverse effect on it.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR SUBSIDIARIES - NEWTEK PAYROLL AND BENEFIT SOLUTIONS (PMT)

Unauthorized disclosure of employee data, whether through a cyber-security breach of our computer systems or otherwise, could expose PMT to liability and business losses.

PMT collects and stores sensitive data about individuals in order to process the transactions and for other internal processes. If anyone penetrates its network security or the security of the third-party payroll processing platform in utilizes, or otherwise misappropriates sensitive individual data, PMT could be subject to liability or business interruption. PMT is subject to laws and rules issued by different agencies concerning safeguarding and maintaining the confidentiality of this information. Its activities have been, and will continue to be, subject to an increasing risk of cyber-attacks, the nature of which is continually evolving. Cyber-security risks include unauthorized access to privileged and sensitive customer information, including passwords and account information of PMT’ customers. While it subjects its data systems to periodic independent testing and review, PMT cannot guarantee that its systems or the systems of the third-party payroll processing platform in utilizes will not be penetrated in the future. Experienced computer programmers and hackers may be able to penetrate PMT’ network security or the security of its third-party payroll processing platform, and misappropriate or compromise our confidential information, create system disruptions, or cause shutdowns. As a result, PMT’ customers’ information may be lost, disclosed, accessed or taken without its customers’ consent. If a breach of these systems occurs, PMT may be subject to liability, including claims for impersonation or other similar fraud claims. In the event of any such breach, PMT may also be subject to a class action lawsuit. Any significant violations of data privacy could result in the loss of business, litigation and regulatory investigations and penalties that could damage PMT’ reputation, and the growth of its business could be adversely affected. For more information on risks relating to cybersecurity, see “Risks Related to Cybersecurity.”

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PMT is subject to risks surrounding Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) payments.

Credit risk in ACH payments arises when a party to a contract fails to deposit funds required to settle the contract. This can occur if a client of PMT suffers losses, enters into bankruptcy or defrauds PMT. In such an event, PMT could bear the financial burden of settling the customer’s contract.

PMT’s systems may be subject to disruptions that could adversely affect its business and reputation.

PMT’s payroll business relies heavily on its payroll, financial, accounting and other data processing systems. If any of these systems or any of the vendors which supply them fails to operate properly or becomes disabled even for a brief period of time, PMT could suffer financial loss, a disruption of its business, liability to clients, regulatory intervention or damage to its reputation. PMT has disaster recovery plans in place to protect its businesses against natural disasters, security breaches, military or terrorist actions, power or communication failures or similar events. Despite PMT’ preparations, its disaster recovery plans may not be successful in preventing the loss of client data, service interruptions, and disruptions to its operations or damage to its important facilities.

If PMT fails to adapt its technology to meet client needs and preferences, the demand for its services may diminish.

PMT operates in industries that are subject to rapid technological advances and changing client needs and preferences. In order to remain competitive and responsive to client demands, PMT continually upgrades, enhances and expands its existing solutions and services. If PMT fails to respond successfully to technological challenges, the demand for its services may diminish.

PMT could incur unreimbursed costs or damages due to delays in processing inherent in the banking system.

PMT generally determines the availability of customer (employer) funds prior to making payments to employees or taxing authorities, and such employer funds are generally transferred in to its accounts prior to making payments out. Due to the structure of the banking system however, there are times when PMT may make payroll or tax payments and not immediately receive the funds to do so from the employer. There can be no assurance that the procedures PMT has in place to prevent these occurrences or mitigate the damages will be sufficient to prevent loss to its business. In addition, PMT could incur unreimbursed costs or damages due to delays in processing customer payrolls or payroll taxes in a timely manner.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR SUBSIDIARIES - NEWTEK BUSINESS CREDIT SOLUTIONS (NBC)

An unexpected level of defaults in NBC’s accounts receivables or inventory portfolios would reduce its income and increase its expenses.

If NBC’s level of non-accrual assets in its receivable financing or inventory financing business rises in the future, it could adversely affect its revenue, earnings and cash flow. Non-accrual assets primarily consist of receivables for which the customer has not made timely payment. In certain situations, NBC may restructure the receivable to permit such a customer to have smaller payments over a longer period of time. Such a restructuring or non-payment by a receivables or inventory customer will result in lower revenue and less cash available for NBC’ operational activities.

NBC’s reserve for credit losses may not be sufficient to cover unexpected losses.

NBC’s business depends on the behavior of its customers. In addition to its credit practices and procedures, NBC maintains a reserve for credit losses on its accounts receivable and inventory portfolios, which it has judged to be adequate given the receivables it purchases. NBC periodically reviews its reserve for adequacy considering current economic conditions and trends, charge-off experience and levels of non-accrual assets, and adjusts its reserve accordingly. However, because of recent unstable economic conditions, its reserves may prove inadequate, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.
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RISKS RELATED TO OUR CAPCO BUSINESS

The Capco programs and the tax credits they provide are created by state legislation and implemented through regulation, and such laws and rules are subject to possible action to repeal or retroactively revise the programs for political, economic or other reasons. Such an attempted repeal or revision would create substantial difficulty for the Capco programs and could, if ultimately successful, cause us material financial harm.

The tax credits associated with the Capco programs and provided to our Capcos’ investors are to be utilized by the investors over a period of time, which is typically ten years. Much can change during such a period and it is possible that one or more states may revise or eliminate the tax credits. Any such revision or repeal could have a material adverse economic impact on our Capcos, either directly or as a result of the Capco’s insurer’s actions. Any such final state action that jeopardizes the tax credits could result in the provider of our Capco insurance assuming partial or full control of the particular Capco in order to minimize its liability under the Capco insurance policies issued to our investors.

Because our Capcos are subject to requirements under state law, a failure of any of them to meet these requirements could subject the Capco and our shareholders to the loss of one or more Capcos.

Despite the fact that we have met all applicable minimum requirements of the Capco programs in which we still participate, each Capco remains subject to state regulation until it has invested 100% of its funds and otherwise remains in full legal compliance. There can be no assurance that we will continue to be able to do so. A major regulatory violation, while not fatal to our Capco business, would materially increase the cost of operating the Capcos.
We know of no other publicly-held company that sponsors and operates Capcos as a part of its business. As such, there are, to our knowledge, no other companies against which investors may compare our Capco business and its operations, results of operations and financial and accounting structures.

In the absence of any meaningful peer group comparisons for our Capco business, investors may have a difficult time understanding and judging the strength of our business. This, in turn, may have a depressing effect on the value of our stock.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR SECURITIES

As of December 31, 2023, our CEO beneficially owns and has shared voting power over approximately 5.3% of our common stock, and may be able to exercise significant influence over the outcome of most shareholder actions.

Because of his ownership of and shared voting power over our stock, Barry Sloane, our Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, may be able to exercise significant influence over actions requiring shareholder approval, including the election of directors, the adoption of amendments to the certificate of incorporation, approval of stock incentive plans and approval of major transactions such as a merger or sale of assets. This could delay or prevent a change in control of the Company, deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a change in control and have a negative effect on the market price of our common stock.
Our common stock price may be volatile and may decrease substantially.
The trading price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially. The price of our common stock may be higher or lower depending on many factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;
investor demand for our stock;
significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of other companies in our sector, which are not necessarily related to the operating performance of these companies;
changes in regulatory policies or tax guidelines with respect to financial holding companies;
any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by investors or securities analysts;
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changes, or perceived changes, in the value of our investments;
departures of key Company personnel;
operating performance of companies comparable to us; or
general economic conditions and trends and other external factors.

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Due to the potential volatility of our stock price once a market for our stock is established, we may become the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business.
Future issuances of our common stock or other securities, including preferred shares, may dilute the per share book value of our common stock or have other adverse consequences to our common shareholders.

Our Board has the authority, without the action or vote of our shareholders, to issue all or part of the approximately 175,319,600 authorized but unissued shares of our common stock. Our business strategy relies in part upon the acquisitions of businesses using the resources available to us, including our common stock. Additionally, we anticipate granting additional options or restricted stock awards to our employees and directors in the future pursuant to the 2023 Stock Incentive Plan, which was approved by the Board in April 2023 and the Company’s shareholders on June 14, 2023. The 2023 Stock Incentive Plan reserved a maximum of 3,000,000 shares of common stock for issuance to our employees and directors, and 2,917,523 shares of common stock remain available for issuance as of December 31, 2023. Option holders may exercise their options at a time when we would otherwise be able to obtain additional equity capital on more favorable terms.

We may also issue additional securities, through public or private offerings, in order to raise capital. Future issuances of our common stock will dilute the percentage of ownership interest of current shareholders and could decrease the per share book value of our common stock.

Pursuant to our amended and restated charter, our Board is authorized to classify any unissued shares of stock and reclassify any previously classified but unissued shares of stock of any class or series from time to time, into one or more classes or series of stock, including preferred stock. If we issue preferred stock, the preferred stock would rank “senior” to common stock in our capital structure, preferred shareholders would have separate voting rights on certain matters and might have other rights, preferences, or privileges more favorable than those of our common shareholders, and the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in your best interest. If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, then the percentage ownership of our shareholders at that time will decrease, and shareholders may experience dilution.

The authorization and issuance of “blank check” preferred shares could have an anti-takeover effect detrimental to the interests of our shareholders.

Our certificate of incorporation allows our Board to issue preferred shares with rights and preferences set by the Board without further shareholder approval. The issuance of these “blank check” preferred shares could have an anti-takeover effect detrimental to the interests of our shareholders. For example, in the event of a hostile takeover attempt, it may be possible for management and the Board to impede the attempt by issuing the preferred shares, thereby diluting or impairing the voting power of the other outstanding common shares and increasing the potential costs to acquire control of us. Under our certificate of incorporation, our Board has the right to issue any new shares, including preferred shares, without first offering them to the holders of common shares, as they have no preemptive rights.
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Our business and operation could be negatively affected if we become subject to any securities litigation or shareholder activism, which could cause us to incur significant expense, hinder execution of investment strategy and impact our stock price.

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Stockholder activism, which could take many forms or arise in a variety of situations, has been increasing recently. While we are currently not subject to any securities litigation or shareholder activism, due to the potential volatility of our stock price and for a variety of other reasons, we may in the future become the target of securities litigation or shareholder activism. Securities litigation and shareholder activism, including potential proxy contests, could result in substantial costs and divert management’s and our board of directors’ attention and resources from our business. Additionally, such securities litigation and shareholder activism could give rise to perceived uncertainties as to our future, adversely affect our relationships with service providers and make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified personnel. Also, we may be required to incur significant legal fees and other expenses related to any securities litigation and activist shareholder matters. Further, our stock price could be subject to significant fluctuation or otherwise be adversely affected by the events, risks and uncertainties of any securities litigation and shareholder activism.

Provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law and of our charter and bylaws could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.

The Maryland General Corporation Law and our charter and bylaws contain provisions that may discourage, delay or make more difficult a change in control of Newtek or the removal of our directors. We are subject to the Maryland Business Combination Act. Our Board has adopted a resolution exempting from the Business Combination Act any business combination between us and any other person, subject to prior approval of such business combination by our Board, including approval by a majority of our independent directors. If the resolution exempting business combinations is repealed or our Board does not approve a business combination, the Business Combination Act may discourage third parties from trying to acquire control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating such an offer. Our bylaws exempt from the Maryland Control Share Acquisition Act acquisitions of our stock by any person. If we amend our Bylaws to repeal the exemption from the Maryland Control Share Acquisition Act, the Maryland Control Shares Acquisition Act may make it more difficult for a third party to obtain control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating such a transaction.

We have also adopted measures that may make it difficult for a third party to obtain control of us, including provisions of our charter classifying our Board in three classes serving staggered three-year terms and authorizing our Board to classify or reclassify shares of our stock in one or more classes or series, to cause the issuance of additional shares of our stock, to amend our charter without shareholder approval and to increase or decrease the number of shares of stock that we have authority to issue. These provisions, as well as other provisions of our charter and bylaws, may delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our shareholders.

Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market may have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.

All of the common stock held by our executive officers and directors, represents approximately 1,663,000 shares, or approximately 7% of our total outstanding shares as of December 31, 2023. Such shares are generally freely tradable in the public market. Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or the availability of such common stock for sale, could adversely affect the prevailing market prices for our common stock. If this occurs and continues, it could impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of securities should we desire to do so.

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RISKS RELATED TO OUR NOTES

The 2024 Notes, the 2025 Notes the 2026 Notes, and the 2028 Note, together, the “Notes,” are unsecured and therefore are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we have outstanding or may incur in the future.

In July 2019, February 2021 and May 2021, we issued $63.25 million, $5.0 million and $10.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2024 Notes, respectively. In December 2021, we redeemed $40.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2024 Notes. In January 2021, we issued $115.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2026 Notes. In November 2020, we issued $5.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2025 6.85% Notes and in January 2021 we issued an additional $10.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2025 6.85% Notes. In May 2022, we redeemed $15.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2025 6.85% Notes. In March 2022, we issued $15.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2025 5.00% Notes and in May 2022 we issued an additional $15.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2025 5.00% Notes. In January 2023, we issued $50.0 million aggregate principal amount of the 2025 8.125% Notes. In August 2023, we issued $40.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2028 8.00% Notes. The Notes are not secured by any of our assets or any of the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, the Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we or our subsidiaries have outstanding or may incur in the future (or any indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security). In any liquidation, dissolution, bankruptcy or other similar proceeding, the holders of any of our existing or future secured indebtedness and the existing or future secured indebtedness of our subsidiaries may assert rights against the assets pledged to secure that indebtedness to receive full payment of their indebtedness before the assets may be used to pay other creditors, including the holders of the Notes.

The Notes are structurally subordinated to the indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries.

The Notes are obligations exclusively of the Company and not of any of our subsidiaries. None of our subsidiaries is a guarantor of the Notes and the Notes are not required to be guaranteed by any subsidiaries we may acquire or create in the future. Any assets of our subsidiaries will not be directly available to satisfy the claims of our creditors, including holders of the Notes.

Except to the extent we are a creditor with recognized claims against our subsidiaries, all claims of creditors (including trade creditors) and holders of preferred stock, if any, of our subsidiaries will have priority over our equity interests in such subsidiaries (and therefore the claims of our creditors, including holders of the Notes) with respect to the assets of such subsidiaries. Even if we are recognized as a creditor of one or more of our subsidiaries, our claims would still be effectively subordinated to any security interests in the assets of any such subsidiary and to any indebtedness or other liabilities of any such subsidiary senior to our claims. Consequently, the Notes are structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other liabilities (including trade payables) of any of our subsidiaries and any subsidiaries that we may in the future acquire or establish as financing vehicles or otherwise.

The indentures under which the Notes were issued contains limited protection for holders of the Notes.

The indentures under which the Notes were issued offers limited protection to holders of the Notes. The terms of the indentures and the Notes generally do not restrict our or any of our subsidiaries’ ability to engage in, or otherwise be a party to, a variety of corporate transactions, circumstances or events that could have a material adverse impact on your investment in the Notes. In particular, the terms of the indentures and the Notes generally do not place any restrictions on our or our subsidiaries’ ability to:

issue securities or otherwise incur additional indebtedness or other obligations, including (1) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be equal in right of payment to the Notes, (2) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be secured and therefore rank effectively senior in right of payment to the Notes, (3) indebtedness of ours that is guaranteed by one or more of our subsidiaries and which therefore is structurally senior to the Notes and (4) securities, indebtedness or obligations issued or incurred by our subsidiaries that would be senior to our equity interests in our subsidiaries and therefore rank structurally senior to the Notes with respect to the assets of our subsidiaries, in each case other than an incurrence of indebtedness or other obligation that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions, but giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC, pursuant to the indentures under which the 2024 and 2026 Notes were issued. Currently, these provisions generally prohibit us from making additional borrowings, including through the issuance of additional debt or the sale of additional debt securities, unless our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 150% after such borrowings. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors -Risks Related to Our Notes - We are subject to 150% asset coverage requirements due to covenants contained in the indentures under which the 2024 and 2026 Notes were issued;”

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pay dividends on, or purchase or redeem or make any payments in respect of, capital stock or other securities ranking junior in right of payment to the Notes, including subordinated indebtedness;

sell assets (other than certain limited restrictions on our ability to consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets);

enter into transactions with affiliates;

create liens (including liens on the shares of our subsidiaries) or enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

make investments; or

create restrictions on the payment of dividends or other amounts to us from our subsidiaries.

In addition, the indentures do not require us to offer to purchase the Notes in connection with a change of control, asset sale or any other event. Furthermore, the terms of the indentures and the Notes do not protect holders of the Notes in the event that we experience changes (including significant adverse changes) in our financial condition, results of operations or credit ratings, as they do not require that we or our subsidiaries adhere to any financial tests or ratios or specified levels of net worth, revenues, income, cash flow or liquidity. Our ability to recapitalize, incur additional debt and take a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the Notes may have important consequences for holders of the Notes, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to the Notes or negatively affecting the trading value of the Notes.

Other debt we issue or incur in the future could contain more protections for its holders than the indentures and the Notes, including additional covenants and events of default. The issuance or incurrence of any such debt with incremental protections could affect the market for and trading levels and prices of the Notes.

If we default on our obligations to pay other indebtedness that we may incur in the future, we may not be able to make payments on the Notes.

In the future, we may enter into agreements to incur additional indebtedness, including a secured credit facility. A default under such agreements to which we may be a party that is not waived by the required lenders or holders, and the remedies sought by the holders of such indebtedness could make us unable to pay principal, premium, if any, and interest on the Notes and substantially decrease the market value of the Notes. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow and are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on such future additional indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants, including financial and operating covenants, in the instruments governing such future additional indebtedness, we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lenders of other debt we may incur in the future could elect to terminate their commitments, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we are unable to repay debt, lenders having secured obligations could proceed against the collateral securing the debt. Because any future credit facilities likely will have customary cross-default provisions, if the indebtedness under any future credit facility is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due.

We may choose to redeem the Notes when prevailing interest rates are relatively low.

We may choose to redeem the remaining 2024 Notes, as well as the 2025 5.0% Notes, 2026 Notes and 2028 Notes outstanding, especially if prevailing interest rates are lower than the respective interest rates on the 2024 Notes, 2025 Notes, 2026 Notes or 2028 Notes. If prevailing rates are lower at the time of redemption, holders of the Notes may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as the interest rate on the Notes being redeemed. Our redemption right also may adversely impact your ability to sell the Notes as the optional redemption date or period approaches.

On February 22, 2021, the Company redeemed all $57.5 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2023 Notes on the redemption date at 100% of their principal amount ($25 per Note), plus the accrued and unpaid interest thereon from December 31, 2020 through, but excluding, the redemption date.

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On December 29, 2021, the Company partially redeemed $40.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the $78.25 million of 2024 Notes outstanding at 100% of their principal amount ($25 per Note), plus the accrued and unpaid interest thereon from November 1, 2021 through, but excluding, the redemption date.

On March 31, 2022, the Company redeemed all $15.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2025 6.85% Notes on the redemption date at 100% of their principal amount ($25 per Note), plus the accrued and unpaid interest thereon from February 28, 222 through, but excluding, the redemption date.

The trading market or market value of our publicly traded debt securities may fluctuate.

The 2024, 2026 and 2028 Notes are new issues of debt securities listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbols “NEWTL,” “NEWTZ,” and “NEWTI,” respectively. Although the Notes are listed on Nasdaq, we cannot assure you that a trading market for our publicly issued debt securities will be maintained. In addition to our creditworthiness, many factors may materially adversely affect the trading market for, and market value of, our publicly issued debt securities. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

the time remaining to the maturity of these debt instruments;
the outstanding principal amount of debt securities with terms identical to these debt securities;
the ratings assigned by the national statistical rating agencies;
the general economic environment;
the supply of debt securities trading in the secondary market, if any;
the level, direction and volatility of market interest rates generally; and
market rates of interest higher or lower than rates borne by the debt securities.

You should be aware that there may be a limited number of buyers should holders of the Notes decide to sell the securities. This too may materially adversely affect the market value of the debt securities of the trading market for the debt securities.
We are subject to 150% asset coverage requirements due to covenants contained in the indentures under which the 2024 and 2026 Notes were issued.
The 2024 and 2026 Notes were issued pursuant to a base indenture, dated as of September 23, 2015 (the “Base Indenture”), and a fourth supplemental indenture (the “Fourth Supplemental Indenture”), dated as of July 29, 2019, and a Seventh Supplemental Indenture dated as of January 22, 2021, respectively, each between us and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee. The Fourth Supplemental Indenture and Seventh Supplemental Indenture include covenants requiring us to comply with (regardless of whether we are subject to) the asset coverage requirements set forth in Section 18(a)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act as modified by Section 61(a) of the 1940 Act (or any successor provisions), to comply with (regardless of whether we are subject to) the restrictions on dividends, distributions and purchase of capital stock set forth in Section 18(a)(1)(B) of the 1940 Act as modified by Section 61(a) of the 1940 Act and to provide financial information to the holders of the Notes and the Trustee if we should no longer be subject to the reporting requirements under the Exchange Act. As a result, we are subject to 150% asset coverage requirements under the 1940 Act even though, effective January 6, 2023, we are not regulated as a BDC.

Under these requirements we are only permitted to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of shares senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 150% immediately after each such issuance.
The ratio of our total assets (less total liabilities other than indebtedness represented by senior securities) to our total indebtedness represented by senior securities plus preferred stock, if any, must be at least 150%.

RISKS RELATED TO CYBERSECURITY

We could be adversely affected by information security breaches or cyber security attacks.

Our business operations and our subsidiaries’ business operations rely upon secure information technology systems for data processing, storage and reporting. Despite security and controls design, implementation and updating, such information technology systems could become subject to cyber-attacks. Network, system, application and data breaches could result in operational disruptions or information misappropriation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

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In addition, our business operations involve the storage and transmission of Newtek, customer and employee proprietary information. Our businesses rely on our digital technologies, computer and email systems, software, and networks to conduct operations. Our technologies, systems and networks may become the target of criminal cyber-attacks or information security breaches that could result in the unauthorized release, gathering, monitoring, misuse, loss or destruction of confidential, proprietary and other information of us or third parties with whom we deal, or otherwise disrupt our or our customers’ or other third parties’ business operations. Further, the use of AI by cybercriminals may increase the frequency and severity of cyber-attacks against us or our third-party vendors and clients. It is critical to our business strategy that our facilities and infrastructure remain secure and are perceived by the marketplace to be secure.

Although we believe we and our IT providers employ appropriate security technologies (including data encryption processes, intrusion detection systems), and conduct comprehensive risk assessments and other internal control procedures to assure the security of our and our customers’ data, we cannot guarantee that these measures will be sufficient for this purpose. If our and our IT provider’s security measures are breached as a result of third-party action, employee error or otherwise, and as a result our or our customers’ data becomes available to unauthorized parties, we could incur liability and our reputation would be damaged, which could lead to the loss of current and potential customers. If we experience any breaches of our network security or sabotage, we might be required to expend significant capital and other resources to detect, remedy, protect against or alleviate these and related problems, and we may not be able to remedy these problems in a timely manner, or at all. Because techniques used by outsiders to obtain unauthorized network access or to sabotage systems change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures.

Additionally, the increased use of mobile and cloud technologies due to the increased amount of remote work resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could heighten these and other operational risks as certain aspects of the security of such technologies may be complex and unpredictable.

We maintain a cybersecurity risk management program that is overseen by the Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”) of NTS. The CISO is chiefly responsible for developing, maintaining, and enforcing cybersecurity and cyber risk-related policies; ensuring the Company and its subsidiaries satisfy requirements of relevant regulations, industry standards, and third-party risk assessment requirements; keeping abreast of