Both Wells Fargo Restaurant Finance and U.S. Bank said this week they had each developed financing programs for McDonald’s U.S. franchisees.

Both lending programs will include financing options for restaurant acquisitions, unit rebuilds or relocations, equipment purchasing, and other restaurant improvements. Most recently, McDonald’s franchisees have been working to introduce the McCafe specialty coffee program, which requires new equipment. McDonald’s system totals about 32,000 locations, including 14,000 in the United States.

Wells Fargo’s program is available to franchisees nationwide, as the restaurant financing division is part of Wells Fargo & Co., a national financial services firm with $1.3 trillion in assets. U.S. Bank’s program is available to McDonald’s franchisees located in the 24 states that the division of U.S. Bancorp serves. U.S. Bancorp holds $266 billion in assets.

“The shortage of capital in general is what sparked this opportunity for Wells and McDonald’s,” said Nick Cole, head of Wells Fargo’ restaurant finance division. “McDonald’s is performing well in this recession, certainly that helps. But I look past the current results … and see the history of success in lending to McDonald’s franchisees.”

Late last year the credit freeze hit the restaurant industry hard as major lenders like GE Capital and Bank of America stalled lending programs. Today, capital is still difficult to secure for some, and the cost of lending has grown. In general, the lending community has favored quick-service restaurants, which are holding up better than other restaurant segments during the recession.

Lending was also hurt by the meltdown of some financial services firms, and the consolidation of banks that resulted. At Wells Fargo, however, capital is available and the restaurant division is busy, Cole said.

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