Coleman Report – FLASH! John C. Ponte Response & Catanzaro Clarification

April 7, 2023

Delaney Sexton
Contributing Editor

Coleman Report – FLASH! John C. Ponte Response & Catanzaro Clarification

Earlier today, Coleman Report received further communications regarding the FDIC Notices.

The following information was provided by a spokesperson for Mr. Ponte.

John C. Ponte: On the Record Statement to FDIC Notice of Charges 

“I strongly dispute the inaccurate and unfounded allegations in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (“FDIC”) Notice of Charges filed against me, and others. Simply put, these charges are contrary to the documentary evidence available in this matter.

The FDIC has chosen to ignore the facts. As recently as earlier this week, I provided the FDIC, once again, with evidence discrediting certain of the allegations in the Notice of Charges.

For example, the Notice of Charges alleges certain conduct that the FDIC suggests constitutes forgery and/or fraud. This is not the case. The instrument referenced in the Notice of Charges was merely a wire transfer request and not a confirmation as alleged. The subject request was canceled as Independence Bank modified its closing conditions, including a prior requirement that a UCC Termination be obtained prior to closing and funding. No such termination was ever obtained by the bank as it altered its own closing conditions – I had nothing to do with this process. It seems that an FDIC-insured and regulated financial institution would know the difference between a request and a confirmation.  

The allegations contained in the Notice of Charges are the result of an organized effort by Independence Bank’s former senior management to deflect its failure to comply with certain banking guidelines and procedures. The bank’s objective was to scapegoat me for its lack of sound lending practices, as well as to cover up its lack of adherence to well-established standards of practice in its SBA loan program, and failure to report accurate information to the FDIC. 

More specifically, certain individuals formerly and/or currently affiliated with Independence Bank waited for an opportune time to shift blame away from their shortcomings and place it on me. This includes impugning my professional and personal business reputation by making scurrilous and unsubstantiated attacks on my character. Rather than terminate its relationship with me and my firm, Independence Bank appears to have been motivated by greed despite the fact that it now alleges I was such a bad person to conduct business with. This entire situation boils down to a clear lack of control in Independence Bank’s compliance department, which wholly failed in its charge.

I did not cause any harm to any clients of the SBA loan program.

Independence Bank has routinely been cited by the SBA for deficiencies in its underwriting, securitization, servicing and/or collections, which resulted in the loss of its authorization as an SBA lender because of its prior conduct. Neither myself nor my firm has ever been the subject of any adverse action by the SBA, and we continue to responsibly and ethically originate potential SBA loan applications for SBA lenders pursuant to each individual lenders’ guidelines or policies.

The information the FDIC is relying on came from the bank, and the bank has been cited repeatedly for its servicing and collection practices. The 89 loans of the total 201 MCA financing that are alleged to have lost monies for the SBA and the bank is incorrect. The facts are, of the 89 loans – 19 closed during or after covid – the remaining  70 are still open and have either received PPP or EIDL loans, which they would not have qualified for if they were not in good standing with the SBA.

The responsibility to disclose the required information to the SBA and/or the FDIC exclusively belongs to Independence Bank as the regulated financial institution, and not me or my firm. Independence Bank’s compliance failed to serve its “two masters”, namely the SBA and the FDIC, as otherwise required. Neither I nor my firm has any direct relationship with the SBA or the FDIC. All of the required information on borrowers my office referred to Independence Bank was disclosed as mandated or otherwise directed. Any failure to provide this information to the SBA and/or the FDIC was a result of Independence Bank’s malfeasance.

Neither I nor my firm was an institution-affiliated party to Independence Bank, or any other lender. We are an independent third-party ISO and are not responsible for Independence Bank’s non-compliant conduct in its SBA lending program. 

I will continue to cooperate with the FDIC and to work collaboratively in an effort to achieve an amicable result, which I have been endeavoring toward right up until the filing of Notice of Charges. I am hopeful that I can resolve this matter with the FDIC.

It is mine and my company’s goal to continue to work closely with our clients and partners to help them secure financing to stabilize and expand their businesses during these challenging economic times.”

The following is a response to the Coleman Report Live! show from Robert A. Catanzaro.

I just wanted to make a clarification regarding today’s Coleman Report.

The respondent to the FDIC Notice and CEO of Independence Bank is Robert S. Catanzaro, who is my father. I am Robert A. Catanzaro, and I resigned as President of Independence Bank in April 2019.

I would appreciate a clarification on this point as your viewers may not know the difference.