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Our Company

Founded in 1993, SMS Financial is a privately held financial services and investment firm specializing in the acquisition, recovery and servicing of performing and non-performing loans. We are an opportunistic note buyer across all commercial asset classes including CRE, C&I, judgments, deficiencies and charge-offs. SMS provides capital, experience and execution, along with the willingness to acquire and service any size or type of loan. We take pride in establishing and maintaining long standing relationships with each client. SMS understands the investment that institutions make to create and maintain political and social capital within a community and, as a result, does everything in its power to preserve it.

As a result of our national reputation and track record of success in collecting and servicing virtually every type of debt instrument, SMS was selected as Joint Venture Partner of the FDIC in 2012 to maximize recoveries on the defaulted portfolios of failed banks across the country.

SMS Financial is based in Phoenix, Arizona, but operates on a national scale. This, combined with over 20 years of experience and relationships allows us to move quickly and efficiently anywhere in the country. Since inception, SMS Financial has acquired, serviced and originated over $2.0 billion of commercial credit facilities across all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Partners
  • Jonathan Harris

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    Jonathan Harris

    A Member of SMS Financial since its inception in 1993, Mr. Harris’ duties include oversight of SMS Financial’s asset managers, litigation management, acquisitions and due diligence. A veteran of the real estate industry, his extensive experience in marketing, leasing and contract negotiations allows him to focus on the settlement and litigation of larger balance and complex assets. Mr. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arizona.

  • Jonathan Hoffer

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    Jonathan Hoffer

    Mr. Hoffer joined SMS Financial in 1998 and manages the day-to-day operations including acquisitions, financial oversight and planning, investor relations, corporate governance, and staffing. In addition to his management duties, Mr. Hoffer oversees settlement negotiations and coordinates his own portfolio of large balance and complex assets. Mr. Hoffer holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Arizona State University.

  • Ben Myers

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    Ben Myers

    A 26-year veteran of distressed bank assets and debt instruments, Mr. Myers was a founding partner of SMS Financial in 1993. He has extensive experience in banking, asset management, securitization, commercial portfolio transactions and structured transactions throughout the country. Mr. Myers directs SMS Financial’s strategic planning, manages a portfolio of large balance assets and assists senior asset managers in the recovery of their portfolios. Mr. Myers holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arizona.

  • Daniel Shorr

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    Daniel Shorr

    Mr. Shorr joined SMS Financial in April of 2004. In his current role as Partner and Managing Director, Mr. Shorr is responsible for achieving and sustaining the growth strategy for SMS. His directive includes oversight of all business development, underwriting analysis, portfolio metrics and profitability projections, as well as leading and managing the acquisitions team. During Mr. Shorr’s tenure managing the growth strategy of SMS, he has successfully assisted in closing acquisitions of over $1.3Billion in debt obligations spanning across all commercial asset classes. Mr. Shorr also has extensive experience in litigation oversight, foreclosure management, settlement negotiations and real estate liquidation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Rhode Island and an MBA from Bryant University.

Operational Leadership
  • Alexi Panagiotakopoulos

    Director of Strategic Initiatives

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    Alexi Panagiotakopoulos

    Mr. Panagiotakopoulos joined SMS Financial in August of 2013. As Director of Strategic Initiatives, he is responsible for all aspects of business development and acquisitions from cultivating new relationships and strategic partnerships to managing existing clients and developing a pipeline of capital placement opportunities. Mr. Panagiotakopoulos is also tasked with underwriting esoteric transactions, performing portfolio analysis on an asset-level basis and for executing strategic resolutions. Before joining SMS Financial, Mr. Panagiotakopoulos was a Senior Underwriter at STORE Capital, a publicly listed REIT. He has an extensive background in sourcing, credit analysis, underwriting and real estate finance, with over $750 million of transaction experience. Mr. Panagiotakopoulos attended the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Finance.

  • Kyler Kienholz

    Director of Real Estate

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    Kyler Kienholz

    Mr. Kienholz joined SMS Financial in April of 2011. With over 15 years of experience in commercial Real Estate sales, marketing, banking and finance, Mr. Kienholz manages an extensive portfolio of complex assets including negotiation and settlement at the note level as well as litigation, property management, marketing and liquidation of Real Estate Owned. Mr. Kienholz holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Colorado State University.

  • Robert L. Stewart Jr., Esq.

    In-House Counsel

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    Robert L. Stewart Jr., Esq.

    Mr. Stewart, Esq. has represented SMS Financial since 1998 and formally joined the firm as In-House counsel in 2016. Over the past three decades, Mr. Stewart has represented a wide array of financial institutions in all aspects of commercial lending including loan origination, loan workouts and restructuring, pre-judgment provisional remedies, post-judgment collection, lien enforcement, foreclosure, deficiency enforcement, and all aspects of creditor’s rights and bankruptcy litigation. He has marshaled thousands of creditor claims to successful resolution. Mr. Stewart’s representation of SMS Financial and other creditors has focused on professional, cost effective, and efficient resolution of complex commercial matters in multiple state jurisdictions, federal court, and bankruptcy court through trial and the appellate process. Mr. Stewart is a fourth generation Arizona native and holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Arizona State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona.

  • Melvin Sternberg, Esq.

    Of-Counsel

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    Melvin Sternberg, Esq.

    Mr. Sternberg has been practicing law in Arizona since 1961 after being the youngest attorney to pass the bar at the time. While practicing law, he was a co-founder of SMS Financial in 1993. Mr. Sternberg serves as an advisory member, providing strategic guidance on all facets of SMS’ operations. He has a broad background in all aspects of litigation, dispute resolution, real estate management and development and business valuation. Additionally, his extensive experience in forensic accounting and finance has proven to be invaluable, with the resolution of numerous complex and high balance assets. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Sternberg has served as Judge Pro Tempore in Maricopa County Superior Court since 1977. Mr. Sternberg holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Arizona State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona.

  • Christopher Kahler

    Senior Asset Manager

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    Christopher Kahler

    Mr. Kahler has been with SMS Financial since 2002, managing a large portfolio of assets and negotiating settlements on a wide variety of debt instruments, including commercial, consumer, real estate secured and post-judgment collection. Mr. Kahler’s experience includes sales, marketing, business operations and executive level management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

  • Scott Weinflash

    Senior Asset Manager

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    Scott Weinflash

    Mr. Weinflash joined SMS Financial in 2011 and is responsible for effectively managing a large portfolio of varying types of distressed assets, specializing in the evaluation of corporate financials of operating businesses. Mr. Weinflash is also responsible for performing analytics to ensure portfolio profitability is achieved. Mr. Weinflash has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including small business lending and credit servicing and analytics, most recently with Bank One and American Express. Mr. Weinflash holds a bachelor of science degree from The University of Arizona.

  • James Kaplan

    Senior Analyst

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    James Kaplan

    Mr. Kaplan joined SMS Financial in April of 2009.  His responsibilities primarily focus on all aspects of the acquisitions and due diligence process while also managing a portfolio of distressed assets. Mr. Kaplan has extensive experience in real estate lending and analysis, borrower negotiations and collateral liquidation.  Mr. Kaplan holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona.

  • Tyler Tocco

    Senior Analyst

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    Tyler Tocco

    Mr. Tocco joined SMS Financial in 2009.  As a Senior Analyst, Mr. Tocco has underwritten over $500MM in distressed debt acquisition opportunities.  As a senior member of the acquisitions team, Mr. Tocco regularly participates in business development, strategic analysis and portfolio management.  In addition to Mr. Tocco’s role as an Analyst, he also maintains the role of Asset Manager for a portfolio of acquired loans.  Within this role, he is responsible for maintaining borrower relationships, litigation oversight and real estate liquidation.  Mr. Tocco holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the W.P. Carey School Business at Arizona State University.

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