Ray Kuate is a businessman who has survived adversity in his own country of Cameroon. He was partially paralyzed from legs down after having polio as a child. He received two MBAs—one from the University of California Berkeley, and the other from Columbia University—before settling in Canada to start the Vertamin company.
The company grew to be worth over $10.5 million by 2014, and Ray was pleased to provide employment to his small community of employees. Sadly, in 2014, TD Bank called in their $1 million line of credit loan, forcing Vertamin to have no other option but to declare bankruptcy. But Ray’s story doesn’t end here. He decided to fight back.
Why Did It All Go Wrong?
The lawsuit was filed on December 24, 2015, and formally announced on February 24, 2016 as: Raymond Kuate vs. the Toronto-Dominion Bank Case #: 15-66988, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In it, Vertamin alleges that TD Bank provided no warning about calling in the line of credit to this company, nor gave any warning, written, verbal, or otherwise.
In fact, in Canadian laws required by the Supreme Court of Canada, a business must be granted a reasonable length of time to repay a line of credit, even if it’s a bad situation. In this case it wasn’t, Vertamin expected to pay back its line of credit in future quarters.
With the demand to pay back the full amount of the $1 million line of credit, this guaranty also included the demand that it be paid immediately by the Vertamin Inc. corporation and Raymond Kuate, who was the guarantor. Unfortunately, there was little choice but to file for bankruptcy protection, as the business hadn’t even completed its most profitable quarter of the year yet. This led to Vertamin’s bankruptcy on Christmas Eve 2014.
Vertamin Inc. was a successful online video advertising network company based in Ottawa, Ontario who provided a unique niche in the world of business. It was the realization of Ray Kuate’s childhood hopes and dreams. It is evident of his great struggle to survive a handicap, realize his dream of studying in America, and then starting a successful business in Canada. How one bank can take this away from him is unthinkable.
Why do the banks of Canada have so much power? Even for businesses who are truly struggling, it should not be up to one executive at a bank to decide to call in a loan or a line of credit, without even any form of communication to the business owner.
Canada stands for freedom, equality, and diversity. TD Bank has just demonstrated to the entire country that it stands apart from these values, and can and will do what it wants.
About the Lawsuit
In the court documents, they state that at the time of TD Bank’s formal demands, the corporation of Vertamin Inc. was being led by their CEO, Raymond Kuate. He had formal education from Columbia University and the University of California, where he obtained an MBA. He then started a successful online video advertising network company.
In Ray’s official statement he talks about how no bank, no matter their size or power, should ever “be allowed to prey on a business, ending its viability in one fell swoop and without reasonable time to pay back, not in accordance with law, but simply because they can”.
As a result, the business had to shut down its operations, and lay off all of its staff. Ray was heartbroken. He said Vertamin was one big family, and he was devastated that he let so many people down. From the beginning, he had made many promises to staff that he would not let them or their families down. Many of his staff left other jobs so they could work with him. It was also equally devastating to have to deliver the news on Christmas Eve.
In times of when many corporations care nothing about their employees, it has been refreshing to see one who did truly care about their staff. Ray likened what happened to his company as what could happen to an individual.
He talked about how you could imagine that you’d wake up one day to find that your bank wanted the full amount of your car loan back, or payment in full for the mortgage you had with them, or even the line of credit you had with them. And imagine that they give you no notice to even get your affairs in order. How would you cope? Where would you live the next day?
Ray Kuate has decided to fight back by filing the lawsuit against TD Bank. Don’t let other small businesses suffer because one person signed a slip of paper without considering consequences.
Fundraising Efforts to Help Ray Kuate
A fundraiser on GoFundMe has been started by Ray Kuate to help him raise money to pay the legal costs which will be required to fight TD Bank. You can find the fundraiser and more information about the process at Ray Kuate & Vertamin vs. TD Bank Gofundme account.
Ray Kuate has made the affirmation that he believes in hard work and no short cuts. Help him to stop TD Bank from shutting down other high-profiting businesses without just cause.
Let’s Give All Small Business Owners the Support They Need
I for one, am supporting Ray Kuate, and am extremely glad that he has brought this case before the Supreme Court of Canada. Perhaps together, we Canadians can fight against the power that the banks hold in Canada.
If Ray’s fight can keep another successful business from having to declare bankruptcy, it will have been worth it.
To Learn More About the Lawsuit
You can find out more information from the following links.
Here are some media contacts, should you wish to learn more, or have some information to offer.
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone : (613) 897 8526 or (343) 777 0268