In the early days of Word War II, before the United States joined in the fray, England’s European allies were quickly and systematically falling to the Nazi war machine. England, on its tiny island, was the David to Germany’s Goliath. Germany had an unparalleled advantage with an abundance of technological, industrial, and intellectual wealth at their disposal. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England in these dark days, had no illusions about the Nazis’ power and resolve, but he refused to bow to what so many of his fellow citizens thought was inevitable: the surrender of Great Britain’s sovereignty to Adolf Hitler. Mr. Churchill knew he was outgunned and outmanned, and he had few allies. The only way he and his nation were going to gain an edge over the Germans was through creativity.
One such occasion, Operation Postmaster, involved an island off the coast of West Africa that was under Spanish control. At that time, Spain was neutral in the war, and there were certain rules of what you could and couldn’t do in neutral territory. The Italians had parked a large ship in the island’s tiny bay and turned it into a listening post for German U-Boats to hunt and destroy England’s ships in those waters. Alongside the Italian ship were parked two German ships that acted as support. This was really a no-no, but the Spanish governor of the island looked the other way. It was absolutely critical that these ships and their operations be neutralized, but destroying them would be an act of war committed in a neutral territory – this would not help England’s cause. They chose a more piratical solution.
On an moonless evening, a small group of commandos slipped into the small island’s harbor aboard two tugboats. On shore, English spies threw a large party for the Italians and Germans so the ships were virtually unmanned. While the party was in full tilt, the commandos boarded each vessel, destroyed the moorings, and tethered the Italian ship to one tug and the two German ships to the second tug. On board the Italian ship was a small crew of men who had not gone ashore, and they were summarily taken prisoner. As the party continued into the small hours of the morning, the tugboats whisked the Axis ships away and towed them out to international waters where an English battleship commandeered them as spoils of war. No casualties, and no violation of the rules of war. If it could ever be proven, the worst the English could be found guilty of would be grand theft boat (is that a term?) or “piracy” – which would fit nicely with their heritage.
Creative thinking is crucial in this business. A gentleman excitedly called me recently to ask about a hard-money option to finance the purchase of a home that he wanted to fix and flip. When I told him about the terms, interest rate, and down-payment requirements of a hard-money loan, his excitement turned to gloom, and he almost hung up on me. I told him he actually had three other options that had better interest rates, better terms, and no down-payment requirements. Recently, I worked with a woman who is self employed and didn’t have close to the necessary income to purchase a home on her own, and a co-borrower wasn’t an option for her. I then told her about another option that would enable her to purchase a home in her current circumstances, and she was excited. What are these options at which I’ve hinted? They’re not secret, but they are creative – creative enough that a lot of other lenders wouldn’t think of them at all. Give me a call and let’s discuss your plan of attack!