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Banking and Commercial Finance

Last updated on September 24, 2021

Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot is preeminent among Alaska firms in the representation of financial institutions. Having represented lenders in both good economic times and bad, we’ve developed a complete and thorough understanding of complex commercial and financial issues. We also have substantial experience in commercial transactions through our representation of Alaska banks, public agencies, and private Alaska Native and non-Native business corporations. We are fluent with the latest statutes, regulations, and court decisions that affect our clients.

Our attorneys have negotiated, drafted, and interpreted all types of agreements associated with commercial loans, from the loan commitment through the preparation of the loan agreement, security agreements, deeds of trust, promissory notes, deeds of trust notes, assignments of deeds of trust, assignments of leases and escrow instructions. Several financial institutions entering the Alaska market have sought our expertise for guidance in establishing operations that conform to Alaska law on lending practices, consumer protection, and creditor remedies.

We also have broad experience with intercreditor relationships, including the negotiation, preparation, and review of servicing and participation agreements. Representative experience includes:

  • KeyBank National Association: Our firm has represented KeyBank and other qualified banks in the state of Alaska, including the multimillion-dollar Mount Roberts Tramway financing in Juneau, which involved many unique issues, including security interests in air rights and other assets specific to the tramway operation. Our firm also represented KeyBank in long-term loans and multimillion-dollar lines of credit to Alaska Native Corporations including Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which involved the analysis of special issues relative to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).
  • Alaska Communications Systems: Our firm represented ACS in its acquisition of the Anchorage Telephone Utility (ATU), including the due diligence review of ATU assets.
  • Petro Star’s Valdez refinery: Our firm represented Petro Star in the construction and financing of an oil refinery, including the negotiation and drafting of the documents for numerous lines of credit.
  • Municipality of Anchorage: Our firm represented the municipality of Anchorage in the due diligence analysis of the oil and gas leases to be purchased by Municipal Light & Power in the Beluga River Gas Field purchase as well as in the preparation of the title opinion for that purchase.
  • Cornell Corrections, Inc.: Our firm represented Cornell Corrections in the due diligence review on all real property to be purchased or leased in Alaska by this operator of private prisons, including advice on title exceptions, zoning compliance, survey issues and encroachment.
  • Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science (SAAMS): The firm represents SAAMS, the developer and operator of the Alaska SeaLife Center, including negotiations of the Agreement for Financing, Lease, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the Alaska SeaLife Center by and between the city of Seward and SAAMS.
  • Our firm represented a lender in connection with three Section 801 housing projects located on military reservations. These projects were developed by private developers and involve long-term leases with the U.S. government. Each of the loans on these projects was in excess of $30 million. The representation involved all aspects of construction financing and documentation, including negotiation with the government on the terms of the leases and perfection of the lender’s interests through deeds of trust, assignments of the leases and assignments under the 1940 Assignment of Claims Act.
  • Our firm represented a national investor in the purchase and financing of four mobile home parks and two medical buildings in Anchorage.

During our 40-year history, we have witnessed both prosperity and recession in Alaska’s economy. If there’s a silver lining to be found in the latter experience, it’s that we acquired expertise in negotiating, drafting and enforcing a library of documents related to loan restructurings, workouts and more and developed proven strategies to help lenders deal with defaulting borrowers and loan participants. Should the need arise again, we stand ready to protect our clients’ interests with a capability unequaled in Alaska.


Kathryn A. Black
Kristy A. Garrett