Mobile Version 2020 - Volume 28 - Issue 4
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AACFB President's Message

By Cindy Downs

Greetings, 

With COVID-19 still sweeping the nation, the AACFB planned and held our first-ever virtual conference (hooray!), it was a grand success. I would like to thank all who attended and all those volunteers, Conference Planning Committee members, board members, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, attendees, and staff that made this happen. Very quickly, I might add!  

I do not know about you, but attending conferences always re-energizes me and gets me pumped about the future. I’m raring and ready to go. This conference was perhaps the most important we have ever had because we all need to be connected. Though we are competitors in the marketplace, we are also friends that support each other.  

I can’t tell you how many times I have come to a conference with a deal that I was having problems placing and left with a deal in funding. Conferences allow us to meet up with old friends and make new friends. Plus, there will always be some fun mixed in with the educational opportunities that are offered. This virtual event was so successful and showed that we can meet those in-person objectives, and more. There were great educational opportunities, knowledgeable speakers, morning yoga classes, a Women in Finance Happy Hour, and even a comedy show.  

What we had hoped for has come true. Conferences, whether it be virtual, or in-person give back what you put into them. So, I would like to challenge you. As they used to say in Mission Impossible (I may be dating myself here), your mission, should you choose [decide] to accept it, is to go back and listen to our fabulous speakers and email or call 10 contacts from the conference. Then, set up a zoom meeting. Your colleague's dog, cat, or bird may make an appearance, or you might meet their child on-screen. I know you will enjoy opening the door to interpersonal interactions with funding partners and brokers, all those connections that are so essential in our businesses. Reviewing the conference and getting involved with committees, calling new or old funding sources—and pinging a broker or two with a question or solution—will help you to get to know your colleagues in a whole new way.     

Ethan Hunt; As always, when your team is caught being successful, the AACFB will applaud you for your actions (instead of disavowing). This tape [article] will self-destruct in ten seconds (not really).  

I challenge you to take advantage of all the virtual conferences. For those members that have just joined our great association, you will have a chance to login to the virtual conference and listen to our fabulous speakers. Email headquarters at info@aacfb.org to take advantage of this offer.  

Our association continues to grow thanks in part to these truly wonderful events. I look forward to seeing you all at the next AACFB conference.   

Go out and be successful. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 . . .  

Sincerely, 


Cindy Downs
AACFB President
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AACFB Welcomes New Members

 

A big welcome goes out to all of our new members. Anyone wishing to contact a member can locate their information in the AACFB online directory.


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AACFB Benefit Spotlight

  

The AACFB has a vibrant online members only Community where members can post deals that need funding, share important industry information, or ask any questions they have regarding the commercial finance industry. The Community is truly an interconnected web of networking that can be searched for a wealth of information.


Visit the Members Only Section at www.aacfb.org under Community.
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Front and Center

By Leslie Brown, CLFP


 
This installment of Front & Center focuses on AACFB Executive Director, Monica Harper. Commercial Break correspondent Leslie Brown recently sat down with Monica virtually to find out more about her and her background. Click Here to view their chat.
 

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The ABCs of Bankruptcy

By Kenneth C. Greene, AACFB General Counsel


 
 
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, personal bankruptcies are expected to rise in 2021 as the stimulus ends (if it hasn’t already!). Similarly, the New York Times predicts a tidal wave of business bankruptcies next year. This should come as to no surprise to anyone, as the long-range impact of the coronavirus pandemic is virtually unprecedented and certainly unpredictable.
 
Consequently,  don’t be surprised if you receive a bankruptcy notice in the mail. This article is intended to provide you with a primer on what you should know and do to protect yourself if this happens to you.
 
1. The Automatic Stay
The filing of a bankruptcy petition stays, inter alia, the commencement or continuation of a judicial, administrative, or other action against the debtor that could have been commenced prior to the bankruptcy case, or to recover a claim that arose pre-petition, or the enforcement of a pre-petition judgment, or any act to obtain possession of property of the estate (a defined term). This list is by no means complete but it should give you a general idea that when a bankruptcy is filed, your collection and/or repo efforts must stop. Violation of the automatic stay may subject a creditor to damages.
 
2. Types of Cases
  • Chapter 7:  Liquidation
  • Chapter 11: Reorganization/Small Business Reorganization
  • Chapter 12: Family Famers Reorganization
  • Chapter 13: Wage Earner’s Plan 
 
3. Calendar Deadlines: DO THIS ASAP!
 
- Missing Schedules
The Bankruptcy Code requires that the debtor file voluminous documents at the commencement of a case. Many debtors, facing financial emergency or other exigencies, will file a “barebones” petition, which will generate a notice from the clerk to file the missing documents within a certain time (usually 14 days), or face dismissal. If the case is dismissed for this reason, the automatic stay is no longer in effect and you are free to pursue your usual collection and/or repossession actions.
 
- Meeting of Creditors
Every debtor must attend a Meeting of Creditors (“MOC”), usually scheduled within the first month or two after the bankruptcy is filed. The MOC is presided over by the trustee assigned to Chapter 7, 12, and 13 cases, and by a representative of the U.S. Trustee’s office in Chapter 11 cases. The MOC’s, particularly those under Chapters 7,12, and 13 are short, and, though creditors may ask questions, the time is usually quite limited. These meetings are generally designed to have the debtor provide proof of identity, and deal with issues like critical taxes, insurance, and bankruptcy rule compliance. 
 
- Proof of Claim Deadline
Unless it is a no asset case, you will probably want to file a Proof of Claim (“POC”).1 This establishes your right to a distribution if there is one. Until 2017, secured creditors did not have to file a POC. That has been changed, and now it is mandatory. In Chapter 7, 12 and 13 cases a POC must be filed within 70 days of the entry of the order for relief or the date of conversion of the case. In a Chapter 11 case, the Court will provide notice of the filing deadline.

- Discharge Deadlines
The clerk will provide notice of deadlines for certain other actions, like objections to discharge, objections to exemption claims, and the filing of a proceeding to determine the discharge ability of a particular debt.
 
- Chapter 11 Plan Deadlines
The clerk will also provide notice of other deadlines that are unique to Chapter 11 cases, like the deadline for seeking approval of a disclosure statement and submission/confirmation of a Chapter 11 plan.
 
4. Motions for Relief from Stay/Adequate Protection
If the debtor is a borrower under a loan agreement or EFA, is not making payments, and your collateral is depreciating in value or uninsured, you can ask the court to vacate the automatic stay to allow you to repossess. If the debtor shows the collateral is necessary for an effective reorganization, you might still be entitled to “adequate protection” payments.
 
5. Motions to Compel Assumption or Rejection of Lease/Admin Rents Payments
If the debtor is a lessee, your lease must be assumed or rejected within a certain time. If the lease is assumed, arrangements must be made for payment of arrears, and adequate assurance of future performance provided. If post-assumption payments are not made, you might have a priority claim against the estate. If the lease is rejected, you should get your equipment back. 
 
6. Cash Collateral issues
Another complicated issue beyond the scope of this article. For now, note that if your security interest includes cash, or cash equivalents, you have rights that the debtor must honor before it uses cash in its operations.
 
7. Unsecured Creditors Committee
You might be invited to join the unsecured creditors committee in a Chapter 11 case. If your claim is large enough, this is a wise move.
 
8. Disclosure/Confirmation Issues
The most important thing to note is that you have the right to vote on any kind of plan, whether it is Chapter 11, 12 or 13. This is an extremely complicated area of law and I recommend hiring experienced bankruptcy counsel to assist.
 
9. Preference Actions
The only thing worse that getting a bankruptcy notice is getting served with a complaint to recover preferences, generally defined as payments made by the debtor to you prior to bankruptcy which improve your position over other unsecured creditors. There are many defenses to preference actions and, again, a seasoned professional can help you navigate through these complex issues.
 
10. Fraudulent Conveyance Actions
Similarly, you do not want to be sued for the recovery of a fraudulent transfer, which is basically a transfer for less than equivalent value. Again, I recommend retaining competent counsel to deal with this type of claim.
 
11. Nondischargeability Actions
If you believe the debtor/lessee committed fraud which induced you to provide financing, you can sue to render the debt nondischargeable.
 
12. Objections to Discharge
Broader than a nondischargeability action, this is an action to deny the discharge of the debtor altogether, generally for fraud perpetrated upon the bankruptcy court. 
 
That’s a broad overview of an area of law about which literally hundreds of thousands of pages have been written. I’m not suggesting that following these guidelines will eliminate the pain of a bankruptcy, but it should enable you to protect yourself to the extent legally possible, and to minimize your losses.  
 
1 There is a jurisdictional issue attached to the filing of a POC which is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that the filing of a POC confers jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court upon the filer. If you believe this is an issue, you should consult independent counsel for further guidance.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kenneth C. Greene is an attorney based in Westlake Village, California. He has been representing lessors, brokers and others involved in the leasing and finance industry for almost 40 years. His practice entails documentation, licensing, compliance, litigation, and bankruptcy. He is currently General Counsel to the American Association of Commercial Finance Brokers as well as an Advisory Board member of Leasing News. 
 
This article is presented by the Law Office of Kenneth Charles Greene. All copyrightable text, the selection, arrangement, and presentation of all materials (including information in the public domain), and the overall design of this presentation are the property of the Law Office of Kenneth Charles Greene. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to download and reprint materials from this article for the purpose of viewing, reading, and retaining for reference. Any other copying, distribution, retransmission, or modification of information or materials on this site, whether in electronic or hard copy form, without the express prior written permission of Kenneth C. Greene, is strictly prohibited. 
 
The materials available from this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to these materials does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Kenneth Charles Greene and the user or viewer. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author.   
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Getting Motivated to Prospect

By John Chapin

 
 
Recently I was in a sales meeting in which the owner of the company passed out an article on habits. We discussed good sales habits, how to acquire them, and what kind of habits it ultimately takes to be successful in sales. What was interesting was that we didn’t have any ah-ha moments or unearth anything new. Everyone had a pretty good idea of what it takes to be successful and yet, most weren’t doing those things. 
 
Something I’ve noticed over the years is that most people who aren’t doing what they need to do blame it on a lack of motivation. Many salespeople I encounter are constantly looking for motivation to go out and prospect and as a result, they struggle to make enough calls. Sure, most eventually get themselves to make some calls, but it’s rarely enough. Here’s the problem with motivation: if you’re waiting for positive motivation to “feel like” cold calling, it’s not coming. Do you wait for inspiration to strike before you take out the trash? In school, did you wait until you were excited to do your homework? Of course not. Why not? Because you knew it wasn’t coming. The same is true with cold calling. You’re never going to look forward to doing it. And, by the way, if right now you’re saying, “What?! I love to cold call!!”, you can stop reading this article. For the other 99.99999% of you, keep reading.
 
So, the first point here is don’t wait until you feel like, or are positively motivated, to prospect. It’s not going to happen. Second, avoid the trap many salespeople fall into when trying to avoid the discomfort of prospecting. It’s what I call ‘tricking yourself’ into ‘thinking’ you’re prospecting when you’re actually not. What do I mean by that? Anything other than in-person, over the phone, or other ‘live’ forms of prospecting where you are actually talking to a person who is a potential prospect, is not prospecting. The most common forms of false prospecting are: sending cold e-mails without an immediate phone call, messages on LinkedIn, hanging out on other forms of social media, and going to the same networking events where you see 95 to 100% of the same people every time. E-mails, LinkedIn messages and the like are fine for follow-up, but never as an initial prospecting contact. Look, at the end of the day, you simply need to figure out how many phone calls and/or in-person calls you have to make and then find a way to get yourself to make the calls. If this is something you struggle with, here are a few things you can try: 
 
Tip #1: Focus on the long-term pain of inaction versus the short-term pain of action. If you’re like most people, and assuming you’re a person of good character and integrity, you’re hard on yourself when you don’t make the necessary sales calls, which is what you get paid for, and ultimately what you promised to do when you accepted your job. You beat yourself up, talk down to yourself, your confidence and self-esteem take a hit, you feel guilty, you have a bad day because you didn’t live up to your obligations, and your lack of sales leads to depression. It’s painful all the way around and all those bad feelings suck. And by the way, you should feel this way if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do and what you promised to do when you accepted the job. That’s the long-term pain. All you have to do to avoid the long-term pain is make the calls and face the short-term pain of possible rejection. And by the way, stop kidding yourself, the short-term pain is never as bad as you think it will be. You’re not going to die, most people will not hang up on you, slam the door in your face, or scream at you and call you names, but even if some of them did, so what, what’s the worst that can happen? In fact, not only will the short-term pain not be as bad, you’ll also get a reward. All the negative things that happen when you don’t make the calls will flip. You’ll feel better about yourself, have more self-esteem, more self-confidence, and that in turn will flow positively into all the other areas of your life, oh, and you’ll be more successful and have a lot more money.
 
Tip #2: Calculate how much money you make per call, whether you talk to someone or not. Take the size of your average sale. Figure out how many calls you make to get a sale. Divide the amount of the sale by the number of calls. If you call and you get a busy signal, voicemail, someone says they aren’t interested, or any other number of things happen, just think to yourself, “Cool, I just made another $10 dollars.” Or, whatever number you came up with.
 
Tip #3: Related to the above, realize that every call gets you closer to a sale.
 
Tip #4: Focus on the intrinsic reward. Imagine the ultimate payoff. What are your goals and dreams? What does your perfect life look like 5, 10, 20 or more years down the road? The more calls you make, the faster you’ll move toward that reality. Procrastinating and wasting another day moves you further away from that and closer to the opposite of that, closer to pain and misery. You can also tie it to something important like being a good example for your kids. 
 
Tip #5: Take some caffeine, listen to motivational music, watch a video that motivates you.
 
Tip #6: Have someone hold you accountable. Tell someone how many calls you’re going to make and if you don’t make the calls, you have to write a check for $500 to or a political candidate you can’t stand or an organization you don’t like and would never support.
 
Tip #7: Make prospecting your #1 priority and get it done before you do anything else. Once you get your most difficult task out of the way, the rest of the day will be much easier.
 
Tip #8: Get completely sold on what you have to offer. The first sale is to yourself. People will hear your conviction. Know that you are helping people and making their lives better. 
 
Tip #9: Repeat several positive affirmations two or three times before making your calls.
 
Tip #10: Be prepared. Have a script that you’ve rehearsed well and know exactly what to do and what to say. 
 
Finally, don’t expect to be perfect and do expect to face rejection. If being a great salesperson and making a ton of money was easy, everyone would be doing it.  
  
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or to have him speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com  John has over 31 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. 
Contact John at 508-243-7359 or johnchapin@completeselling.com 
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What's the Plan for Commercial Collections in 2021?

By Shawn Smith


 
I am SO ready to get back to the way things were before COVID. You probably are, too. So many companies have been forced by COVID to live in the moment, to get by today, to stay in business today. Worrying about tomorrow has become a luxury that few can afford. But don't worry, COVID won't last forever….
 
The thing is, though, there are a lot of things that will happen before we get back to normal, and that means that there are a lot of things that you need to have a plan for. The question is, are you ready? If you're not, then you potentially risk millions in future profitability.
 
From my perspective, here is what COVID has done to funders and, by extension, to commercial collections:
 
Some funders have pulled back on underwriting and moved frontline employees to backroom collections in a noble attempt to avoid mass layoffs. These frontline employees, in turn, have been buried by customer service and collections activities from an ever-increasing pool of customers who are struggling with COVID.  
 
In fact, COVID has become many customers' go-to move, and the result has been a torrent of payment modifications, payment deferrals, and a scary number of accounts being warehoused with a label that reads "open later."    
 
Other funders have continued full steam ahead with their underwriting, interpreting COVID as an opportunity to steal market share and book future revenue streams. Unfortunately, many of these deals turn out to be with zombie borrowers (a term about which I have previously written) who have deferred their fleet maintenance and sold through their inventory and done everything else they can think of in an effort to keep their profitability, bank balances, and perceived repayment ability at acceptable levels.  
 
And the result? Internal collections departments have been buried by customer service and collections activities from an ever-increasing pool of customers who are struggling with COVID. Even in our own first-party portfolio servicing department, we see a daunting increase in the number of companies that "looked OK" just a few months earlier, received new funding just a few months earlier, and now look worse than the companies that have just been trying to get along with the funding that they already had before COVID hit.  
 
Not so surprisingly, all of this activity at the funding level has coincided with both a noticeable decline in funders' use of third-party collection agencies in an effort to "save the cost" and a resulting pullback in headcount at most third-party collection agencies in an effort to right size their own staffing.
 
To summarize:
 
  • Regardless of whether funders have cut back on underwriting or gone full steam ahead, their internal collections departments have been buried with tougher customers who require much more effort from much-higher-skilled collections professionals, while at the same time either laying off their internal collectors or converting frontline business development employees to collectors with training to happen "on the job."
  • At the same time, it is probable that funders' third-party agencies have reduced their staffing and lost the efficient and high-quality talent that is needed to deal not just with tougher accounts, but also with massive account volumes.
  • Funders' have invested significant capital to pay for suboptimal collections teams that keep modifications, deferrals, and tough accounts inhouse. 
  • Funders have warehoused or badly managed steadily increasing numbers of accounts, thereby reducing both the opportunity to work with companies earlier in the collections cycle and achieve more positive outcomes.
 
But, you might say, all is not lost! Once a vaccine becomes widely available, all will be forgiven and forgotten, and we will once again be back to normal.
 
Unfortunately, there is a lot that could happen between now and then. Consider the following:  
 
  • A number of recent surveys have determined that almost half of Americans would not consider taking a vaccine even if one were available.
  • Hope – in this case, hoping that a vaccine will allow us to return to "normal" is not a strategy.
 
So, what is likely to happen over the next 12 months?
 
Scenario #1
 
A vaccine is introduced, business activity increases (but not as quickly as expected), and the economy starts to open up. Funders that moved frontline business development employees to collections and customer service positions return them to business development. In addition, the remaining internal collectors remain buried with high levels of customer service, high levels of collections, and high levels of accounts that are currently paying either nothing or the bare minimum because of COVID-related payment modifications or deferrals.
 
The result is that, instead of addressing accounts immediately upon a missed payment, overworked internal collectors make contact every week or two, customers who have gotten used to lowered or deferred payments resist a return to normal terms, and warehoused accounts molder toward uncollectibility.
 
If funders approach third-party agencies to offload this dramatic increase in tough accounts, rest assured that these third-party agencies will assert that they can handle a dramatic increase in placements, even though they may have previously reduced their staffing (and maybe even their own physical office space). These agencies will then work the easiest accounts, ignore the toughest accounts, increase their own profitability, and generally leave funders with older, weaker, and less-collectible accounts. 
Scenario #2
 
COVID-related issues remain a drag on the economy far longer than expected. Companies and entire industries continue to suffer from involuntary shutdowns. Virus hot spots continue to pop up. Zombie accounts continue to deteriorate/fail/shrink/die. Funders don't get back to their expected levels of new underwriting. Funders become forced to reduce staffing because expected economic improvements don't materialize, and funder capital has been wasted on a recovery that never arrived.  
 
If funders approach third-party agencies to help out, rest assured the results in Scenario #1 will once again be achieved.
 
Given these two likely scenarios, what should funders be doing now in order to plan ahead?
 
First, funders should recognize that collections is always a mission-critical business function and is even more so when an economy is recovering from a pandemic.  
 
Next, funders should adopt a formal method of selecting the agency or agencies that they want to work with, including a specific punch list of the attributes and the immediate capacities that any such agencies should possess. (This is also a topic about which I have previously written.)
 
In conjunction with adopting such a formal policy, funders should conduct a quick, personal assessment: When buying, say, an exercise bicycle for $3,000, would they be more likely to buy from a company with a five-star customer rating or a two-star customer rating, and if they choose the five-star company, then what are their reasons? Do they expect better service? Do they expect better results? Do they expect any problems that might occur to be handled better? Do they expect more ethical treatment? 
 
Next, funders should consider why choosing a third-party agency is any different from buying an exercise bicycle. I recently talked to a funder that spread half of its accounts to a five-star agency and the other half to a two-star agency but had never even considered how those two companies were going to conduct themselves and represent the funder's brand. It is remarkable to me that this funder had never considered how a two-star company would handle their accounts, present their brand to the marketplace (and regulators and attorneys and the FTC and…), or affect the funder's overall financial performance.
 
Finally, funders should develop a comprehensive waterfall strategy–before the need for collections become overwhelming–that addresses internal collections staff workload, how much capital the funder is willing to devote to internal collections versus business development and growth, and how much it will cost to increase their own internal overhead rather than paying only for performance using a contingency collections agency. Notice that collections should be integral part in this waterfall strategy rather than a leftover topic to be added when needed.
 
In summary, COVID has been a mess. Almost everyone has become focused on getting through the here-and-now, with an expectation (read hope) that a COVID vaccine will make everything better. Unfortunately, there are some very important things that funders need to consider now regarding their potential need for future collections how to make those resources available when they are needed. I often find myself telling my clients:  Make sure you know where the fire extinguisher is now so that you are ready to go when (not if) the 2021 fire hits.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Shawn Smith is chairman and CEO of Dedicated Commercial Recovery Inc. A pioneer of “Relationship” based commercial collections, Smith founded the company in 2015 with a vision to create a new kind of commercial collections company, with a new model based on connecting on a personal level with those in debt and a new, integrated corporate philanthropy model.
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How Can a Funding Source Keep Brokers Happy?

By Cindy Downs and Carrie Radloff, CLFP


 
  We have all read articles, and perhaps attended sessions at the AACFB conferences about how brokers can keep their funding sources happy. Brokers indeed have an accountability to their funding sources. Brokers must do their due diligence on each deal, include a write-up to help the funder understand the deal, and fully disclose all information they know or have on file.  However, in all great partnerships, both sides must do their part for the relationship to be successful. So how can a funding source keep their brokers happy? 
 
Being a commercial finance broker has had its share of challenges in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has been racing over the nation, funding companies have been tightening up on underwriting and funding requirements, customer’s credit has been declining, and many brokers transitioned to home offices. Brokers have had to jump through hoops they never imagined. Skilled brokers know to package  a deal and submit it to the funder with everything that is required. But do they really know what is required now? 
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, brokers received several emails a day with changes from various funding sources. How is a broker to keep those changes straight? How do funding sources relay these changes to the brokers and where can the broker look if they have questions on requirements? It is very helpful for funding sources to have a broker manual and current rate chart both emailed out and on their website for instant access. 
 
Many AACFB brokers utilize the AACFB’s searchable funding source directory on the website to help them place deals with specific demographics. It is very important and beneficial for the funding company to have their funder directory profile on the AACFB website filled out completely and to keep it up to date. So, funding sources, if you have not already done so, please update your funding directory profile.    
 
Along with the searchable funding source directory, many broker members also utilize the AACFB communities to post deals they need help placing. Funding sources, are you reading the community posts on a regular basis and reaching out to brokers who have a deal you can possibly help them fund? There is a setting on the community where you can sign up to receive posts via email either in real-time or in a daily digest. The AACFB community only allows AACFB funding source members to be referred to the broker community, which makes this a great place to pick up new deals and possibly new broker relationships.
 
Service levels are important for brokers as they build and maintain vendor and customer relationships. Brokers rely on funding sources to respond quickly to their applications, funding requests, emails, and phone calls, so they can keep their vendors and customers happy. With all the delays this year due to COVID-19, communication has been key. Funders need to communicate to brokers what the turnaround time is, so they can communicate that to their customer and vendor. Setting the expectation is important, and brokers rely on funding sources to help with that.
There is an AACFB Code of Ethics that all members are required to follow. Code #8 reads as follows: “Funding source members agree that they will not circumvent the broker in any transaction in which a broker refers a transaction which would otherwise entitle the broker to a commission.” Funding sources, do you protect your brokers? When a repeat customer calls in for another deal, do you refer them back to the originating broker? Do you track what deals come in from each broker? If you have a direct division, how do you keep your customer databases separate from your broker division versus your direct division? How do you communicate these details to your brokers? 
 
As you can imagine, when a broker brings a customer to a funding source, the broker trusts the funding source not to fund directly with that customer and effectively cut the broker out on future transactions. Keeping brokers partnerships on good terms means the funding source honors the relationship by informing the broker if their customer approaches them directly.
 
Broker agreements are another area where funding sources and brokers need to collaborate to ensure the details are beneficial and fair to both parties. Does your agreement include “to the best of broker’s knowledge and belief” verbiage? If you have a direct sales force, does your agreement protect brokers and their database of customers and vendors? In some situations, a funding source will run into a dual submission where two or more brokers submit the same transaction. How do you handle dual submissions and is that covered in your broker agreement?  
 
These are just a few of the key areas that funding sources can focus on to make their brokers happy. As Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” Funding sources and brokers are a team. A team works better when they work together and treat each other fairly and with mutual respect. 
Here is to overcoming the craziness of 2020 and to a bright and successful 2021!
 
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
 
Cindy Downs is a Business Marketing Manager for Heartland Capital Group, LLC, a small family owned business in North Dakota. She works with all aspects of the business including marketing, sales, credit processing and new business development. Cindy currently serves as the President of the AACFB Board of Directors.
 
Carrie Radloff is a Business Development Manager for American Financial Partners (AFP). She has been in the commercial finance industry for 21 years and attained her Certified Lease and Finance Professional (CLFP) designation in 2016. Carrie became involved with the association in 2013 and currently serves as the President-Elect of the AACFB Board of Directors.
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Interim Rent - Bad for the Broker, Bad for the Customer, Good and Bad for the Lender

By Bob Bell, CLFP


 
Before starting I need to make a confession; I detest interim rent. Before I sign up with a potential lender I always ask if they charge interim rent (IR). If they do, I request they waive it. If they won’t, I may still sign up with them, but they will not be a top tier lender in my wheelhouse.
 
Since there are a lot of newcomers to the industry, let me briefly explain how interim rent works and how it can affect your business. Generally speaking, it’s a daily fee charged by a lender from the time the customer accepts delivery until the first scheduled payment is due. For example, if a contract has a $900 monthly payment, the daily rate is $30.00 per day. If there are 15 days from acceptance until the due date, the IR will be $450 (30x15). So, instead of your customer paying the expected $900.00 monthly payment, they will be billed $1,350.00 on their first invoice. In essence, it is a ruse that allows a lender to receive extra revenue outside the enumerated amounts stated in the contract. If a lender is advertising an 8% rate and charges interim rent, their yield could go up 20% or more. Interim rent can be as little as a few days or almost an entire month of payments. Since many lenders are requiring ACH of funds, the lender is hoping this surcharge will slip through the cracks. Is it legal? Absolutely. 
 
After thirty years in the business, I feel strongly that being a successful Broker is all about developing, cultivating, and nurturing relationships. A mentor of mine once told me the best arrangement or contract is one in which none of the parties are ecstatic, but all are reasonably happy. That’s what we Brokers try to do, every day, keep everyone reasonably happy. When your lender is sneaking in interim rent, they may be ecstatic, but neither you nor the customer is reasonably happy.  
 
If you are a typical Broker, you have spent days, weeks, or months developing a relationship with your customer, and the last thing you want to say to them is, “Oh, by the way, on your first invoice you’re going to get a surprise charge.” Of course, the only worse thing is not warning them. Customers hate surprises, especially when it comes to their money. If it’s just a few days maybe it’s no big deal but they won’t like it. You can mitigate the impact of interim rent by scheduling the acceptance to fall within a few days of the payment due date.  
 
Here is a scenario that should scare the hell out of you. This repeat customer, who is the lifeblood of your business and one you have done several deals with, goes back to the vendor for more equipment. The vendor sales rep casually says, “The last time you financed your equipment purchase through Beat’m, Cheat’m, and Howe. Will you be using them this time as well?” Your former customer says, “Hell no! Those dirty rotten scoundrels put me with a bank who snuck in an extra month’s payment. We’re using Lowe, Bawl, and Slaughter this time. We learned our lesson the last time and checked. They don’t use lenders who try to scam us. You should talk to them.” What happened to your relationship with both the customer and vendor you spent months cultivating? You end up losing both of them. Good for the lender, not good for the Broker’s relationship with their customer or their vendor.
 
Not too long ago I signed on with a lender who agreed to waive the interim rent provision for my customers. I sent them three deals for the same customer over a several month period. They waived interim rent on the first two, but on the third one I got “the call” from the customer asking me about the “interim rent” charge on their invoice. Assuming it was an oversight, I contacted the lender to request a reversal of the charge. They refused. I appealed. They still refused. What did I do? I did what any good broker would do in this situation, I wrote my customer a check for $815.04. My yield went down, the lender’s went up. It was my fault for not getting their commitment in writing not to charge interim rent. There’s a saying on Wall Street, “Bulls make money, Bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.”
 
By now you’re saying to yourself, “This is great for the lenders. How can it be bad?” I’ll tell you. If you ask any lender how much they made off of interim rent last year most likely they can tell you to the penny how much they made. For argument’s sake let’s say there are 3,000 finance brokers in the US. If only 20%, then 600 of them feel the same way about interim rent as I do, and these Brokers each withheld just $250,000 of their annual production from interim rent lenders, the IR lenders are leaving 150 million dollars’ worth of business on the table each and every year! Remember the lender who reneged on the interim rent for me above. Those three deals totaled about 100K and they’ve not seen another application from me since. Interim rent lenders, are you paying attention?
 
Finally, there are a lot of lenders out there who really want to do business with independent brokers like us.  We’re a real bargain in that we act as an unpaid salesforce for them. We’re only compensated when we bring them a transaction that fits their business model. They don’t have to pay our overhead, travel expenses, employees, Social Security or Medicare taxes, federal or state unemployment, workman’s comp, health insurance, or pay into a 401K. Heck, they don’t give us a vacation or even a Christmas bonus. That being said, we can pick and choose who we do business with. Why choose a lender whose policies don’t mesh with our goals?
 
Lastly, we Brokers get blast e-mails every day from lenders promoting lower rates, nano second turnarounds, higher commissions, volume bonuses, no doc fees, etc. Why aren’t the lenders who don’t charge interim rent promoting that?
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob’s background in leasing began by using finance as a sales tool (F.A.S.T.) to sell computer systems, then he spent time with a New York Stock Exchange Firm syndicating leasing limited partnerships, and finally as a lease broker for over 25 years. He is a CLFP, past president of NAELB/AACFB and past board member of the CLFP Foundation.
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Agile Equipment Financing Works Hand-in-Hand with Relief Funding Programs

By Ed Testa



"During the gold rush," Mark Twain wrote, "its a good time to be in the pick and shovel business." Stock traders have built massive portfolios on that ideal – investing in companies that supply specific industries. While its far from the gold rush era for many American businesses, equipment leasing companies find themselves in a period of time where funding purchases can help mine the vein of public assistance money being pumped into the economy by state and federal governments. In doing so, they not only add to their portfolio but also help businesses to emerge stronger on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
On March 27, 2020, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill. Inside that bill are monies designed to keep a myriad of businesses open, with some of those programs incentivizing businesses to invest in equipment and infrastructure. That is where the nimble, creative financing offered by equipment leasing companies comes into play, allowing businesses to quickly leverage the assistance being offered and help fortify them for the future. 
 
A Real World Example
About an hour west of Nashville, Gutter Bound Distillery was just six months old when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Gutter Bound quickly pivoted to make hand sanitizer, albeit just three gallons a day. Gutter Bound soon realized they needed to invest in additional equipment to increase production.
Under the CARES Act, the state of Tennessee set up a grant program (Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business Fund) that awarded money to food and value-add production businesses like Gutter Bound Distillery. The issue for Gutter Bound was that the grant was a reimbursement program, meaning the 6-month old company needed to pay upfront around $200,000 in order to buy a mash tun, fermentation tanks, control boxes, and other equipment.
"Here was this great opportunity to get what we needed, expand our business and help out the community – dangling like a carrot in front of us," said Jess Markham, co-owner of Gutter Bound. "The problem was we couldn't qualify for the money since we needed to pay it up front."
 
Gutter Bound got creative. They worked with the Vermont-based North Star Leasing Company to procure the short-term financing they needed to buy the equipment. The leasing company was then to be repaid when the state reimbursed the distillery. With the additional capacity for hand sanitizer (about 15 gallons a day) and liquor production, Gutter Bound now stands prepared to push higher as consumers settle into what is becoming the new but ever-changing normal.
 
Help Build Bridges
 
Congress will be under enormous pressure in January to find additional funding to keep the economy afloat. It seems likely that some of that money will be channeled again through grant programs designed to assist businesses. Equipment leasing companies can assist by providing rapid financing for "picks and shovels" in situations where government money may require some time to move through the bureaucratic process.
Keep an eye out for these opportunities. They'll come from organizations both large and small. Under the CARES Act, for instance, the city of El Monte, California had grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses to invest in any equipment needed to continue operations. The state of Connecticut administered grants up to $75,000 for companies to buy equipment that produced critical supplies needed to combat the virus. Florida's Seminole County offered grants for equipment purchases needed for companies to reopen safely. Hawaii Electric oversaw a grant program that allowed for the replacement of commercial kitchen equipment with new, more efficient models.
Businesses are going to be enticed to adapt and grow in this new normal. For many, that includes investing in equipment. For those leasing companies that are paying close attention to the programs being put in place at all levels of government, that means increased opportunities.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
With more than 36 years in the equipment financing industry, Ed Testa is the Vice President of New Business for North Star Leasing. He is based in Hudson, NH.
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Managing Financials for the Long Haul

By Janet Leung


 
Earlier this year, businesses held their breath as many economies slowed. Some predicted that COVID-19 would have a short-term effect, and some predicted that it would affect economies well past next year. Although there is no way to know for certain how long COVID-19 will stagnate the economy, we can shore up our own businesses to hold on as long as possible. Have we done all we can to weather the storm in this environment?
 
During these unprecedented and very difficult economic times, many industries are faced with what seem to be dire business decisions, but we suggest many need to adapt, adjust, and prepare during these times. For example, many businesses have shifted to become more online focused and have even pursued unconventional sales strategies in recent months, which have helped the businesses maintain stable P&Ls. Business owners are preparing on how they will adapt to the “new normal”. 
 
It is important during this time to revise your budget or review your latest profit and loss statements (P&L). The reality is that your budgets need to be tighter than ever. 

 
Most businesses have already felt the revenue loss either from lower consumer spending or shifting consumer priorities. With millions of job losses, how many customers will prioritize spending? First, look at the most recent, past revenue in your business P&L and what you expect it to look like in your post-closing budget. 
 
- Is your business currently bringing in enough revenue to mitigate your costs?
  • If so, are there easy smaller opportunities that your business needs to identify and pursue? Every little thing adds up in these economic times!
  • If not, what is your projected revenue ceiling each month as the economy slowly recovers?
  • Can your business partner with other complementary businesses to utilize marketing synergy to market to a larger base?
  • Are there opportunities to merge with other companies to solidify and streamline sales efforts?
  • Is your business behind the times in marketing? Can your business utilize free services such as social media to engage more consumers or at the very least stay at the forefront of their minds?
  • Have you surveyed your consumers on product relevancy and satisfaction? Consumer feedback can often provide excellent ideas for your business!
 
For the expense side of your profit and loss statements, have you looked at each expense line to see where your business may have unnecessary costs? Can you justify those expenses for the long-term?
 
- If the economy continues at the same rate, can you make enough revenue to cover your fixed costs such as rent, electricity, water, etc.? 
  • How much more sales does your business need to justify your fixed costs? Is it achievable with your current strategy?
  • If you require rented space, is your landlord willing to work with you on free or lower rent for a period of time? Say 6 months to a year? Can you work with your landlord on cutting back on rented space? 
  • Will utility providers provide special terms to you? Your insurance provider? 
 
- If your business is being financed, have you spoken with your lenders regarding deferred payments? Lower payments? Are your lenders willing to forgive a portion of the debt or to reduce repayments to zero interest costs without negative reporting?
 
- Knowing that sales may not improve dramatically in the near future, is your staff the appropriate size? 
  • Should you change your pay structure for new employees to account for your business’ future viability?
- Are you paying for subscriptions or other features that are attractive extra benefits that you can cut back for the time being until your revenue re-builds? 
 
- Since grocery stores and other businesses have cut back on hours, should you consider your hours of operation? 
 
- Have you looked into whether your business qualifies for any local or national government programs that can buoy the operations? Especially programs that can be forgiven and those that have lower payback over time?
 
- Have you discussed potential tax loopholes with your CPA that you have not previously had the time to pursue?
 
Your business can take advantage of the quieter times to evaluate where it stands and what makes sense for profitability. Looking at a P&L or budget can be overwhelming, but there is no better time than now. 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Janet Leung is the Vice-President and Managing Member of Affiliates Capital, providing financing programs to many industries especially in Health & Fitness. Leung, who is also currently a ACSM certified personal trainer and NASM certified nutrition coach, has previously worked in financial and operational analytics and pricing for Gold’s Gym International, the franchisor of fitness franchises.
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Increase Your Approvals by Understanding Changes in Credit During COVID

By Jessica Rucker


 
When we look at the devastating economic impact of the shutdowns and COVID, it would be natural to assume that conditions are bad across the board. It would be logical to think revenues are down in almost all non-tech, non-home delivery industries. A GDP shrinkage of -31% in the 2nd Quarter is terrible. While we know some obvious sectors are suffering, that’s not true for all businesses.
 
Why is that and what can you do to get your deals approved and funded?
 
How are small businesses really doing and what’s the opportunity for brokers and funders in the current uncertain conditions?
 
Businesses Are a Mixed Bag
While consumers benefited from direct stimulus, businesses had the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from the SBA to help them. Unfortunately, many agree it wasn’t effective. As this Business Insider article on the PPP reports, the requirements were complex. The loan forgiveness parameters were “murky” meaning many businesses did not apply that may have been eligible. In fact, $134 billion remains undrawn of the allocated funds for the two tranches of the program.
 
Even before the pandemic hit, small businesses did not have enough cash on hand. This was despite the fact that 56% of firms reported higher revenues in 2019, according to a comprehensive study of more than 3,200 firms about Small Business Credit and Economic Performance by the NY Fed. 
 
The NY Fed study, in which 2/3 of the businesses had 5+ years’ time in business, showed that 29% of businesses considered themselves at risk or in a distressed position, and only 35% considered themselves healthy. 86% of businesses would have to receive additional funding or cut expenses despite only a 2-month loss in revenue. Interim financial statements for 2020 have never been more important and will surely look very different from 2019 corporate tax returns or reviewed financial statements.
 
The opportunity for brokers and funders is that only 44% of firms in the study used bank funding, meaning many wanted more credit than they had access to from their sources. 
 
Distressed credits, custom financing structures, even debtor in possession (DIP) financing are opportunities now. Many firms across industries and credit grades need more financing help than they are getting.
 
Industries Most Affected by COVID
 
When it comes to the industries most affected by COVID, airlines, leisure, restaurants, oil and gas, and auto parts and equipment are the top 5 according to S&P Global.
 
But for you, the broker, how exposed are your customers to these industries? Most of you are specialists, and you know your equipment types and your customers. However, right now, that’s not enough. We all must ask who are their customers?
 
It’s pretty easy to think if you finance phone systems or copy machines that you aren’t that exposed to airlines or to the oil industry. The truth is that you might not know who your customer’s customers are and it’s vital that you find out. 
 
In our example of a Commercial Credit lease for phone systems, it would be normal to care most about:
  • the cost of the system and customer’s monthly payment
  • how their bank statements, financials, and tax returns support the deal
  • the credibility of the vendor
  • how essential the equipment is to the customer’s business
 
These would be the normal questions to find out as you learn more about your customer. Who their customers are has not been a factor, right? But now, if the products or services your customer sells are to restaurants, then that’s something your credit analyst needs to know. It’s one risk that we can control by understanding what types of businesses are buying from your customers.
 
If you have not been asking this question of your customers because you think you are not exposed to COVID-affected industries, then you need to add this to your customer interviews. You will get faster approvals and a better understanding of changes in underwriting if you do.
Leasing Opportunity During COVID
What most companies need now is money more than equipment. Those who finance in heavy equipment industries like construction often have high dollar value equipment to borrow against by doing a sale/leaseback.
 
This is something unique that you can offer to your customers.
 
For new equipment needs, you have more options for your customers with B, C or Alt credits than other conventional lending options, especially if credits get worse.
 
44% of the distressed or at risk businesses in the NY Fed Study said they would use debt if they could to help stabilize their businesses. Banks aren’t doing that business, so that’s an opportunity if you and your funding sources understand how to work with these kinds of businesses.
 
Equipment lenders are tightening their underwriting, decreasing App Only limits, and adding documentation requirements before approving deals more so than they did a year ago. This is the reality, but other lenders are tightening their credit standards even more.
What’s the competition doing?
 
Our toughest competition is likely not from an equipment lender but from loans like the PPP. But as stated above, it wasn’t an effective loan program.
 
Many of the biggest PPP lenders are the nation’s biggest banks, who left many small businesses locked out because they focused on their existing customers. Specialty fintech lenders in the program like PayPal or Square only lent to their payment processing customers. That ignores the needs of many eligible businesses including many of our prospects and clients.
 
The SBA states that the average PPP loan size was $107,000. Less than 6% of all loans in the program were for more than $350,000. The program proved to be very restrictive. Many mid-size and small customers received little if any benefit from this program.
 
But these restrictions are an opportunity we can take advantage of with our prospects. 
 
Brokers might even be able to move upmarket and attract bigger and better clients. Many lenders ignore the small businesses that are at the heart of equipment leasing, PPP or not. You could get some of the A and Alt A credits that you couldn’t before just by having flexible options from many lenders and lessors to offer.
 
Conclusion
 
The credit environment is much more challenging now for our guarantors and their businesses. 
You can navigate these changes by:
  • Getting more documents with your apps to prove they’ve been paying their 2020 bills even when not required
  • Understanding who your customer’s customers are to see if you are more exposed to hard hit industries
  • Having funding options for sale/leaseback, DIP financing, and other creative solutions especially for B and C credits
  • Taking advantage where you can move upmarket
 
And lastly, expect these problems before they come up and talk to your Credit people about it. Analysts at funding sources want to help you get your deals done.  
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Rucker is a Senior Credit Analyst at NFS Leasing. Ms. Rucker graduated from Bentley University in 2018 with a Degree in Economics and Finance. Before NFS, she held roles as an Associate, supporting multiple senior analysts in the underwriting of fixed income securities in the healthcare and telecom sector. At NFS, Ms. Rucker is focused on supporting credit decisions and underwriting new transactions.
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Telling Your Client's Story

By Bill King, CLFP


 
2020 has been a tough year for everyone. Luckily, with new challenges come new opportunities. The tightening of credit boxes across the board has led to an increase in demand for broker services. One of the biggest frustrations I hear from funders is the low quality of loan packages they receive from many brokers. Incomplete and inaccurate files slow down the process and frustrate your client, the lender, and yourself. Prior to going out on my own, I spent 20 years in banking lending money to businesses, managing lenders, and making credit decisions. I trained my loan officers to follow a few rules that helped get their requests through.    
 
As brokers we need to start asking ourselves who we are selling to when trying to get loans/leases approved for our clients. It is not who you would expect. Though the loan officer, and their bosses are important, the true initial decision maker is someone else entirely. The answer is the Credit Analyst/Underwriter. Often, we focus the attention on the wrong people and do not take into consideration how they think.  
 
In my opinion, the Analyst is the most significant part of the approval process, especially on larger deals. Having a strong deal summary on your clients is crucial. It needs to be a complete accurate report with the strengths highlighted, risks revealed, and weaknesses mitigated. They will see through everything, so do not try to BS them. 
 
These Banker/Analysts look for five major things in a deal known as the Five C’s of Credit. Knowing these factors makes them more comfortable proceeding with the deal. Here is a brief rundown of what they look for in a strong deal summary.
 
1) CHARACTER - Who are we dealing with and why should we trust them with our money? There is more to this than just the credit score. Your deal summary needs to help the reader understand a little about who they are dealing with.  
 
2) CAPACITY - Can they pay back the loan? Depending on the deal type and size, you may be looking at full doc, low doc, or app only.  
 
  • If looking at full docs, ask if historical tax returns and financial statements support the request. If not, do we have a good story as to why?
  • If fully dependent on project revenue, are we targeting the right lending source and deal type? (i.e., SBA, collateral based lenders, etc.)
  • Does the client know where they stand? I call this a reality check. Does the client understand that their deal may be tough to place and what type of pricing they are in for?
  • If full doc shows weakness, is there an app only low doc option?
  • In my company I usually require full doc with clients to know what I am dealing with. If the numbers do not support the request, I will likely focus on a low doc/app only sources or have a good, well documented story of the weaknesses. 

3) CAPITAL - Tell the story of the business and guarantors balance sheet and PFS.
  • How does their liquidity and current ratio look?
  • Total assets vs total liability - is there a deficit net worth?
  • Does the guarantor help or hurt? 
  • Is the balance sheet normal given their industry?
 
4) COLLATERAL - Give the details. 
  • Purchase vs refinance, new or used.
  • Is additional collateral available to mitigate any weaknesses?
  • How much is the borrower contributing? Do they have skin in the game?
  • Is the collateral crucial to the business and how will it make the business more profitable?
  • Does the requested amortization match the useful life? I see this all the time. A borrower is requesting an 84-month amortization on 36-month collateral. You need to straighten this out with the borrower before you go to market.  
 
5) CONDITIONS
  • Economy as it relates to the client’s business. Pre-COVID, during COVID and going forward. This is crucial to know during this time.
  • Industry - It may seem repetitive but drill down on this issue. Talk about what makes the client exceptional and how they are dealing with challenges.
  • Business Conditions – Get information on the management team and how the business was doing pre COVID-19. How did they adjust and how they will they be better prepared for an unexpected economic event in the future? (On SBA deals we must do a specific questionnaire about this, but most funders are asking these questions)
  • Conditions of your financing source. Truly ask yourself what credit types does this source like? What industries and collateral categories are they are comfortable with? Is the deal in the source’s geographic footprint? If you pick a source that does not like your client’s industry (collateral type or deal type/size) you are setting yourself up for failure.
 
I know I have given you a lot to think about but keeping all of these things in mind will put you ahead of the game and earn you brownie points with the analyst working the deal. Your summary should be 1 -2 pages long and should at least touch on each of the Five C’s. 
 
Whether your deal is Big or Small, SBA, equipment finance, CRE, working capital etc., these core questions are in the back of the minds of the people who write the checks. You will be appreciated by your funding sources, who in turn will want to do more deals with you. Tell your clients story the way it needs to be heard to get those deals done.   
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                        
 
Bill King is the owner and Chief Commercial Finance Consultant of 4 Kings Capital. Before starting his own business, he was in banking for 20 years receiving various awards including The SBA Financial Services Champion (Oklahoma). He earned a Bachelors in Business Management and is also a graduate of the SW Graduate School of Banking. He holds numerous licenses and certifications including his CLFP, CLBB and is an Accredited Small Business Consultant (AASBC), speaker, and writer. He is currently writing a book called No Bull$hit Business Finance Guide focused on helping business owners navigate the uncertain process of applying for funding.  (Expected release early 2021)For more information go to NoBullShitBusinessFinanceGuide.com or email me Bill@4KingsCapital.com 
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In a Slow Economy - Avoid this Mistake

By Brian Gurney


 
In every economic slowdown one of the first industries negatively affected is the finance industry. As a growing number of customers break covenants and are past due with payments financial companies focus on stopping the bleeding and turn the lights off in the sales department.  
 
Successful financial institutions that have survived multiple recessions have learned that the challenges presented during a recession also offer many opportunities. In a down economy savvy business owners will want to take advantage of lower interest rates, refinancing existing loans and starting new projects.
 
HOW TO PROMOTE YOURSELF DURING A SLOWDOWN
 
  • You already know to never stop selling, especially during an economic slowdown. Companies that succeed in a down economy keep marketing and promoting their products and services. As competitors focus on cutting back, continue to pursue new customers, bring back old customers, and build new business with existing customers.
  • Change what you sell. Now is the time to help your customers who may be suffering financially. By offering deferred or reduced payments you will build loyalty while reducing your customers’ stress.  
  • Communicate optimism. In a tough economy people are attracted to companies that have a positive outlook. Positive thinking must start with ownership to really affect the whole company. 
  • Reinforce trust with existing customers. Show your customers that you care about their health and safety.  Let your customers know that you are carefully adhering to all CDC guidelines. As much as possible conduct all transactions virtually. Have a secure portal for your clients to log in to their account.
  • Just keep swimming. Interest rates are at a record low. Many companies will want to take advantage of these low rates and refinance existing debt. Every economic slowdown has a recovery. With hard work and grit, we will get through this together. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Brad Gurney is a Co-Owner and Senior Vice President of American Receivable Corporation, which assists small to medium sized companies by buying their commercial accounts receivable and speeding up their cash flow. Brad advises businesses on ways to cut down on costs of financing, risk management with their debtors, just to list a few.
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5 Best Practices for Closing Your Next Equipment Finance Deal

By G. Paul Fogle, CLFP and Mae Philpott, CLFP


 
Few things are more frustrating than putting in days or weeks of work on a deal only to have your customer back out just before funding. As a Third-Party Originator (TPO), every transaction that crosses your desk utilizes your valuable time and resources. A primary function of your job is to efficiently conserve those limited resources while still ensuring you earn the highest return for your efforts.  While there are hundreds of reasons why a deal may not close within the Equipment Finance (EF) space, there are five best practices you can employ on every deal that will save time and energy and increase your overall closing ratio. These best practices—which are similar across third-party representation lending—will make you more productive, more efficient, and (most importantly) more profitable.
 
1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Generally speaking, as the dollar amount of the transaction increases, the more you should know about your customer. It is important to not only understand your customer’s business history, financials, and credit profile, but you also need a clear picture of how the financed equipment will increase revenue or conserve capital. Is it replacement equipment or used for expansion? Find out your customer’s hot buttons. Is she or he more concerned about payment, effective rate, overall payback, or tax benefits? What kind of payments are they expecting to make? Knowing where your customer’s business has been, where he or she would like to grow, and addressing their primary concerns will help you demonstrate why your equipment financing offer is the right one for them and their company.
 
2. KNOW YOUR FUNDING SOURCE
A TPO should have a general idea of what types of equipment and customers their lenders are looking to finance.  Most lenders have published guidelines covering which asset types, credit profiles, deal sizes, and pricing ranges they cover. This information is also readily available from company web sites, online forums, and industry publications. When in doubt, pick up the phone and speak with a salesperson directly. Submitting deals that are not in your lender’s wheelhouse will only lead to frustration for you, deal fatigue for your customer, and a lower approval ratio, which can damage the relationship with your funder. Take the time to learn about your funding sources now so you can close the right deal with the best-fitting lender later.
 
3. KNOW THE SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
Every funding source has a checklist outlining which documentation is required for a submission. Gathering all required information from your customer and (actually) reviewing it for clarity and accuracy will prevent a myriad of headaches down the road. Communicating clearly with your customer and/or vendor on what items your lender needs and why, then submitting a complete file to your funding source will save you hours of time and energy in the long run and cut out the dreaded back-and-forth that frustrates so many customers. The more attention you give your submission, the faster your deal can be approved, underwritten, and closed.
 
4. MANAGE EXPECTATIONS
So now you’ve learned what your customer wants, what your lender needs, and what you actually have to work with… the next step is to manage expectations appropriately. Review the customer’s submission information with him or her and point out the pros and cons of the profile as it pertains to your lenders’ underwriting criteria. Conservatively estimate monthly payments and explain why you believe this/these lender(s) will be the best fit for your customer. Communicate clearly and accurately using fact-based information. Don’t over-promise or under-deliver. Do be honest and transparent and watch how quickly you build loyalty and trust with your customer—two key features necessary for keeping a customer and closing any deal. 
 
5. DO THE WORK
All the knowledge, expertise, and sales skills in the world will only take you so far. You must actually put in the work to get the job done. Many people are compelled to take the easiest route, but in today’s unprecedented pandemic environment, the easy route is often a dead end. Nothing turns off lenders more than throwing deals against the proverbial wall to see what sticks when it clearly doesn’t fit their requirements. Nothing turns off customers more than the idea that their rep didn’t do their best for them. Cutting corners may save time initially, but it will cost you more time and frustration fixing issues down the road. To set yourself up for success every time, just do the work.  
 
GET GOING
As you start to work with various lenders, you will become more familiar with their programs and processes. You will become more efficient at taking a transaction from submission through commission. There are so many different lenders and requirements, it would be impossible to work with all of them. We recommend that you choose a small number to consistently work with to ensure familiarity and results. The more you close the more confident you’ll be in communicating with your customers and the more comfortable your lenders will become working with you. Learning about your EF funding sources, understanding your customer, building a solid submission, and managing expectations appropriately are the keys to successfully closing your next Equipment Finance deal.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
 
G. Paul Fogle, CLFP is the Managing Director of Quality Leasing Co., Inc. based in Indianapolis, IN. He has been in the commercial lending business for more than 30 years and joined Quality in 2012. 
 
Mae Philpott, CLFP is a Senior Leasing Consultant for Quality Leasing Co., Inc. and is based in Charlotte, NC.  She has been in equipment leasing for more than 15 years and joined Quality in 2016.
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Member News


MAKING STRIDES FOR A GOOD CAUSE

This October, AACFB Past President, Joan Modes participated in a virtual half-marathon to benefit World Vision, the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the world.
 
Joan stated, "They go into some of the toughest places there is to be a kid. They bring sanitation, medical assistance, education, and sanitary water. It's hard enough living in a pandemic in a first world country. I cannot imagine having to do so where there is no access to sanitary water and where 1 in 5 kids will not survive to age 5. World Vision is changing lives and I am proud to help."
 
WAY TO GO JOAN! 


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Industry Buzz in the Biz

 

CLFP Foundation Adds 24 New CLFPs

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020 - NORTHBROOK, IL - The Certified Lease & Finance Professional (CLFP) Foundation is pleased to announce that 24 individuals who recently sat through the 8-hour online CLFP exam.  They are: 
 
  1. Christopher Bakos, CLFP – Senior Vice President, Univest Capital, Inc.
  2. Russell Bass, CLFP – Software Engineer, Ivory Consulting Corporation
  3. Lexi Clayton, CLFP – Assistant Vice President, Project Manager, First American Equipment Finance
  4. Jamie Engle, CLFP – Assistant Vice President, Project Manager, First American Equipment Finance
  5. Gillian Foster, CLFP Associate – Vice President, Learning and Development, First American Equipment Finance
  6. Lisa Hartley, CLFP – Vice President, Sales, Univest Capital, Inc.
  7. Robert Hoffkins, CLFP – Assistant Vice President, First American Equipment Finance
  8. Katie Jones, CLFP – Equipment Finance Sales Support Specialist, Arvest Equipment Finance
  9. Katie Lewis, CLFP Associate – Systems Analyst, First American Equipment Finance
  10. Timothy Kehoe, CLFP – Regional Finance Manager, Presidio Technology Capital LLC
  11. Timothy McConnell, CLFP – Sales & Marketing Representative, Navitas Credit Corp.
  12. Justin McIntyre, CLFP Associate – Director of Information Security and Engineering, First American Equipment Finance
  13. Conor McKenna, CLFP – Assistant Vice President, Project Manager, First American Equipment Finance
  14. Nicole Miller, CLFP – Senior Business Development Manager of Broker Services, NewLane Finance
  15. Rosalynn Ostler, CLFP – Assistant Vice President, Asset Management, Crestmark Equipment Finance
  16. Robert Quinn, III, CLFP – Vice President, First American Equipment Finance
  17. Scott Ruettgers, CLFP – Healthcare Wholesale Leasing Manager, Key Equipment Finance
  18. Cody Sanguinetti, CLFP – Business Development Manager, Great American Insurance Group
  19. Linda Schenkel, CLFP – Vice President, Loan and Lease Documentation, The Pitney Bowes Bank, Inc.
  20. Galit Shkurenko, CLFP Associate – Accounting Supervisor, ECS Financial Services, Inc.
  21. Robert Smith, CLFP – Senior Vice President, Director of Capital Markets, Univest Capital, Inc.
  22. Alison Stromberg, CLFP Associate – Assistant Vice President, First American Equipment Finance
  23. Stephanie Williamson-Horn, CLFP – AVP – Project Manager, First American Equipment Finance
  24. Kyle Zaffuto, CLFP – Project Manager, First American Equipment Finance
 
Ms. Schenkel attended the online ALFP hosted by Great American Insurance Group in August and states, “As a professional dedicated to the equipment leasing and finance industry, I am always eager to continue my education in all aspects of the industry. I chose to pursue the CLFP designation as an opportunity to join an elite group of peers who have demonstrated broad industry knowledge and a commitment to high standards. 
 
Ms. Ostler attended the online ALFP hosted by IDS earlier this month and noted, “Throughout my career, I have worked in several areas of the equipment leasing and finance industry, including Asset Management, Pricing, Documentation and Collections. Earning the CLFP designation has allowed me to further broaden my knowledge and skills. This designation has also provided me the opportunity to join an elite network of professionals who have gained mastery in all aspects of the industry.” 

NFS Leasing, Inc. Demonstrates Continued Focus and Commitment as The Story Lender adding Michael Johnson, Chief Restructuring Officer 

SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 - BEVERLY, MA - Michael Johnson has joined NFS Leasing, Inc. as Chief Restructuring Officer, Equipment Finance. The move demonstrates NFS Leasing. Inc’s. continued focus and commitment as THE Story Lender serving the challenged credit customer, throughout the entire customer lifecycle.  
 
“We’re pleased to welcome Mike Johnson to our leadership team. As a story lender, listening to the customer story and situation to find a customized finance solution, is what we do every day. Carrying that approach through each aspect of the business, including restructuring, is critical to serving our customers in the most difficult of times,” said Cliff Rucker, Chief Executive Officer, NFS Leasing, Inc.
 
Michael Johnson is an accomplished legal executive with a proven track record of structuring, managing, and closing business acquisitions, asset-based financing, and complex corporate debt financings. Prior to joining NFS Leasing Mike served as Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer at Beacon Rail Leasing, Inc. Earlier in his career he was Managing Director at Amherst Advisors PLLC and Vice President, Senior Counsel at BTMU Capital Corporation.  
 
Mike Johnson can be reached at michaelJ@nfsleasing.com or 978-564-3961.
 
To contact NFS Leasing, Inc. for a custom finance solution, visit their website here: https://nfsleasing.com/contact

North Mill Hit New Record in 2020 as Q3 Originations Reach All-Time High

OCTOBER 5, 2020, NORWALK, CT – North Mill Equipment Finance LLC (“North Mill”), a leading independent commercial equipment lender, announced today that the company posted record originations for the third quarter of 2020, the best three months in the firm’s history. Representing a growth rate of approximately 15% over the same period last year, funded volume for the quarter came in at just under $50 million.  
 
“North Mill has emerged stronger on the other side of this tragic pandemic,” explained David C. Lee, Chairman and CEO of North Mill. The organization’s ability to pivot and meet changing needs in a precarious market is paying off. At the close of the third quarter, North Mill’s number of funded transactions increased by about 20% from the same period the year prior, and weighted average FICO improved to 720, all while maintaining our yield targets and industry diversification goals.
 
While part of the growth in 2020 is attributed to other lenders reducing their activity in the market, North Mill’s unwavering commitment to its referral partners has had a resounding effect. “Our strategy has been and continues to be 100% reliant upon our referral partners. They represent our salesforce, and we consider them members of the team. The relationship brokers forge with their vendors and borrowers is sacred. We would never breach that bond by soliciting their customers or circumventing our brokers in any way,” he said. 

NFS Leasing, Inc’s. Story Financing Transforms Scrap Metal Processing Business Twin Salvage, with $8 Million Agreement 

OCTOBER 7, 2020 - BEVERLY, MA - Twin Salvage launched its scrap metal processing business in 2017, where it began cutting up and liquidating large metal structures such as oil drilling rigs, trailers, and steel buildings. Through new partnerships, Twin Salvage continued to grow allowing it to significantly expand its inventory. While an exciting expansion, this required a hefty $8 Million equipment expense. The sizable equipment investment would allow Twin Salvage to build up and support the growth, immediately transforming it into a considerably larger company with a multitude of possibilities. 
 
NFS Leasing, Inc. specializes in complex equipment finance agreements such as the one Twin Salvage presented. NFS Leasing worked attentively with Twin Salvage, listened to their story and determined what their needs were to find a flexible and mutually beneficial equipment finance agreement. This financial partnership allowed Twin Salvage to purchase the equipment immediately, while avoiding heavy monthly fees, something that would help the company more than expected as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 
 
“No two companies are the same and that means no two NFS Leasing agreements are the same. This was certainly a unique partnership,” says Jon Preiser, Vice President of Business Development at NFS Leasing. “But NFS likes a good challenge and we approach each situation as unique and provide a custom solution. We will continue in partnership with Twin Salvage and look forward to seeing their growth and achievements, immediately, through the pandemic and well into the future.”
 
“The partnership with NFS Leasing has added incredible value to our business,” states Kile Brendle, President of Twin Salvage. “The equipment we financed, will be transformative, allowing us to go above and beyond our original goals. This transformation is only possible thanks to the NFS Leasing team and the support they provide.”

Meridian Updates Guide to Export Financing Options

OCTOBER 2, 2020 - LOS ANGELES, CA - At last month’s virtual 2020 AACFB annual conference, Meridian Finance Group moderated a roundtable discussion about international trade finance. The roundtable participants asked some good questions, which led Meridian to update its guide to Export Cross-Border Financing Options. 

Historically Meridian dealt mostly with financing for U.S. vendors’ export sales where the buyer/lessee, credit risk, and equipment location were all in another country. Over time, however, the company has encountered more deals where (a) the credit risk is in the USA but the equipment is located elsewhere or (b) the lessee (or guarantor) is overseas but the equipment is here in the USA.
 
For transactions with equipment in other countries, getting deals done may rely on political risk insurance to protect the assets against expropriation, unfavorable government actions, and other political risks. For deals with foreign credits, export credit insurance can be employed to protect payment streams against insolvencies, cash flow shortfalls, bad faith, and other nonpayment risks.
 
In addition to arranging international trade finance, Meridian has specialized for more than 25 years in brokering these kinds of insurance. Not only for its own deals but also for vendors, banks, funding sources, captive lenders, etc.
 
Deals where the buyer/lessee, credit risk, and equipment location are all in another country require even more underwriting. When the risk is too great for any insurance company in the private sector, Meridian obtains coverage from the U.S. government agency EXIM Bank.
 
For export deals that are too small to be eligible for multiple-year financing, Meridian provides tools that enable vendors to offer shorter payment terms (up to 180 days) with no minimum deal size. Not the five years to which leasing brokers are accustomed domestically, but way more competitive than vendors insisting on cash in advance or letters of credit.
 
Check out Meridian’s new guide to Export Cross-Border Financing Options below or you can download the guide here: http://www.meridianfinance.com/cross-border-financing-options.
 

Maxim Commercial Capital Funds Deals in 32 States During 3Q 2020

Hard asset-secured lender experienced stabilized funding and low delinquencies 
 
OCTOBER 13, 2020 - LOS ANGELES, CA - Maxim Commercial Capital is pleased to report it funded hard asset-secured financings for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in 32 states during the third quarter of 2020. Despite the year’s exceptional challenges, Maxim has not wavered in its commitment to support the capital needs of existing and prospective borrowers. Maxim lends from $10,000 to $3,000,000 to SMBs nationwide, secured by heavy equipment and real estate, to facilitate asset purchases, working capital and to refinance expensive short-term debt.
 
“We are indebted to our loyal customers, equipment vendors and finance brokers for their support in these trying times,” said Behzad Kianmahd, Chairman and CEO. “Through our committed staff and managers’ great teamwork, we are continuing to fulfill the needs of our customers while also improving operations through technology investments and new policies and procedures. We leveraged the work-from-home conditions to accelerate these initiatives, benefitting our team and the communities we serve.” 
 
While the credit markets remained tight during the period, Maxim experienced stabilized funding volume while maintaining its credit discipline. Additionally, the company’s delinquencies neared historically low levels as the country emerged from the shelter-in-place orders mandated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Transactions funded in the third quarter included a $52,100 app-only loan secured by a 2019 Chevy 6500HD Rollback Tow Truck; $33,750 for the purchase of a 2016 Case 580 Super N Excavator; $30,600 for a Utah-based owner-operator to replace his truck with a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia; and, $35,600 for a California-based owner operator with a 458 FICO and 12 collection accounts to purchase a 217 Kenworth T680.
 
A substantial increase in retail prices of quality used trucks, caused in part by wholesalers / EOMs withholding inventory, has created an inventory shortage. Maxim believes current discrepancies between the retail and fair value of used trucks will stabilize in the fourth quarter, with financing volumes returning to pre-COVID 19 levels in early 2021.
 
“We welcomed the return of cautious optimism in the third quarter,” said Michael Kianmahd, Executive Vice President. “While concerns around the pandemic drove behavior in Q1 and Q2, our customers, many of whom are in essential industries, think the worst is behind us. As we continue toward a strong year end, we maintain our commitment to our customers, referral partners and team members, and look forward to 2021.” 

North Avenue Capital Closes $5 Million USDA Commercial Loan to Almond Brothers Lumber Company

OCTOBER 21, 2020 – PONTE VEDRA, FL - North Avenue Capital, LLC (NAC), a top provider of USDA-backed commercial loans, has secured a $5 million USDA Rural Development Business & Industry (USDA RD B&I) loan to Almond Bros. Lumber Co. in Coushatta, Louisiana.
 
Founded in 1947, the fourth-generation family-owned sawmill, located in rural Louisiana, produces high-quality Yellow Pine lumber for export to over 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and more areas around the world.
 
By providing the USDA RD B&I loan, NAC will help the company refinance its existing financing structure and make strategic equipment upgrades, which will allow the business to grow and improve operations and expand its export markets.
 
The plot of land which spans over 86 acres holds 26 buildings that include the main office, warehouse, machine shop, kiln control room, and more. With the loan in place, Almond Bros. will be able to upgrade the software of several key pieces of equipment, which will eliminate the downtime for repairs and increase the efficiency of its overall production capabilities.
 
Over the past 20 years, Vine, Will, and Winn Almond, relatives of the original Almond Bros. founders, have had extensive hands-on training in every aspect of the company’s operations and management. Using their experiences, the unique family-owned and operated business will be able to sell directly to their target markets, rather than their competitors who outsource their shipments through third-party companies.
 
North Avenue Capital’s hand in providing USDA-backed commercial loans to rural businesses have been beneficial to the small rural towns’ surrounding communities. As the largest private-sector employer within the area, Almond Bros. serves local businesses and residents by creating local above-market wage employment opportunities. The company has remained on the same property for over 70 years and provides more than 80 jobs to many long-term employees with deep roots in the community.

CLFP Foundation Adds 22 New CLFPs

OCTOBER 28, 2020 – NORTHBROOK, IL - The Certified Lease & Finance Professional (CLFP) Foundation is pleased to announce that 22 individuals who recently sat through the 8-hour online CLFP exam, have passed.  They are: 
 
  1. Vanessa Andel, CLFP – Vice President of Operations, Commercial Fleet Financing
  2. Matt Barrett, CLFP Associate – Assistant Vice President – Program Manager, First American Equipment Finance
  3. Lauren Blowers, CLFP – Assistant Vice President, Marketing, First American Equipment Finance
  4. Jennifer Dirkes, CLFP – Channel Development Director, Oakmont Capital Services, LLC
  5. Adam Domke, CLFP – Business Development Officer, Oakmont Capital Services, LLC
  6. Christine Durfee, CLFP – AVP, Credit Officer, First American Equipment Finance
  7. Betsy Egeberg, CLFP Associate – Portfolio Administration Support, AP Equipment Financing
  8. Jayme Gerads, CLFP – Business Development Officer, Oakmont Capital Services, LLC
  9. Joseph Guage, CLFP – Chief Financial Officer, First American Equipment Finance
  10. Christopher (Ryan) Hinton – Vice President, Regions Equipment Finance
  11. Chris Johnson, CLFP 
  12. Timothy Kinney, CLFP – Credit Analyst – Team Lead, AP Equipment Financing
  13. Connor McKeeve, CLFP – Credit Analyst, Wintrust Specialty Finance
  14. Cori Miller, CLFP Associate – Industry Marketing Specialist, AP Equipment Financing
  15. David Mullin, CLFP – Assistant Vice President, Data Strategy, First American Equipment Finance
  16. Shelley Peterson, CLFP Associate – Credit Analyst, AP Equipment Financing
  17. Chad Primus, CLFP – Business Development Officer, Oakmont Capital Services, LLC
  18. Adam Sobke, CLFP Associate – Staff Accountant, AP Equipment Financing
  19. Julie Stephens, CLFP – Senior Funding Specialist, Commercial Fleet Financing, Inc.
  20. Kelly Taran, CLFP – Chief Information Officer, First American Equipment Finance
  21. Sarah Uballez, CLFP – VP, Treasury and Accounting, AP Equipment Financing
  22. Morka Wolde, CLFP – Technical Implementation Consultant, IDS
 
Ms. Dirkes attended the online ALFP hosted by Tamarack Consulting in October and stated, “I have been in this industry for a long time and being a CLFP was always something I had in the back of my mind but continued to tell myself it wasn’t for me. I always knew being a CLFP was being amongst the best of the best in this industry. To be honest, truth be told I was always scared to take the leap and fail. With COVID-19 hitting, it’s been a long year for so many including myself. I needed to say I accomplished something, and I needed it to be big and to prove to myself I belong in this industry. So, I did just that, I went big and decided to take my CLFP Exam. I am truly honored to have learned from the best of the best and to be in a group of amazing people that truly love and cherish the Leasing and Finance profession as much as I do.” 

TimePayment Announces New Leadership Appointment

VanBuren to lead Business Development for Company’s Food & Beverage Finance unit
 
NOVEMBER 2, 2029 - BURLINGTON, MA - TimePayment, an award-winning FinTech company specializing in multi-channel equipment finance, has announced the appointment of Sandra VanBuren to the position of Director of Business Development for the company’s Food & Beverage Finance unit.  In this role, she will lead the development of new partner relationships and execute strategic initiatives focused on client marketing innovations and loyalty programs. 
 
Sandra joins TimePayment from her role as Director of Dealer Relations & Services at SEFA LLC, a national consortium of prominent restaurant equipment manufacturers, dealers, and suppliers. There, through strategic partnerships developed in technology, finance, and operations, she led the deployment of a professional services suite that dynamically improved both the operations and value of the SEFA member base. Earlier in her career, Sandra held positions with Arthur Anderson, Central Salt, Interoceanic Corp, JBFCS, and Glencore. She graduated from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University with a BBA in Accounting.
 
“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to be joining TimePayment at such an important time. The restaurant and food services industry is facing unprecedented challenges with COVID. Equipment sellers need the kind of help that an innovative and well-funded market leader like TimePayment can provide” said VanBuren. “And I am truly looking forward to working with the team of knowledgeable and talented professionals to bring real solutions to the market.”
 
Cory Damm, VP & General Manager of TimePayment’s Food & Beverage Finance unit, said, “Sandra is a great addition to our team of restaurant finance specialists. Her experience with SEFA brings a unique client-side perspective and, when combined with her finance and operations experience and acumen, she’s a perfect fit for this important role. Her appointment at this time underlines our strong and continuing commitment to provide financing and technology solutions to the restaurant and food services sector.  

NFS Leasing, Inc. Rises to the Challenge to support Crane and Machinery Rental Servicers Accelerated Demand

NOVEMBER 5, 2020 - BEVERLY, MA - NFS Leasing, Inc., and Longhorn Corp., have struck an $840K equipment finance agreement that will supply the crane and machinery rental servicer with the equipment needed to support its increase in demand. 
 
Longhorn Corp. provides superior lifting services in the New York Metropolitan area with a focus on safety and customer service. Operating in New York City requires increased insurance obligations and substantial capital investments. Longhorn’s access to both of those is crucial when expanding its business. Recently, its rental demand surged. Already having met the insurance requirements, Longhorn needed capital investment to purchase a supplementary crane to meet the rapid rental demands. This additional equipment would create a significant increase in Longhorn’s monthly revenue.
 
“At NFS, our success relies on our customer’s success,” says Brett Poteet, Vice President of Business Development at NFS Leasing. “Recognizing the impact this equipment would have on Longhorn’s business, we knew we had an opportunity to create an important partnership with a growing company.”
 
“It is always a bit exciting and scary when demand rises quickly,” Matt Maidenberg, CEO of Longhorn Corp. expresses. “We knew we had a significant opportunity, but we also knew we needed the right partner to understand our opportunity and allow us to reach it.  NFS Leasing did just that. Now with the new crane in house, we are ramping up our operations and are excited to provide more customers with safe, effective, and efficient cranes.” 

North Mill Appoints Five New Employees

NOVEMBER 4, 2020 - NORWALK, CT - North Mill Equipment Finance, LLC (“North Mill”), a leading, independent commercial lender in Norwalk, CT, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeffrey T. Schick as the company’s Operational Controller. 
 
Four additional employees have joined the organization including Elizabeth Arias-Hernandez as Portfolio Manager, Kimberly Merryfield as Account Manager, Yocasta Olivo as Title & Insurance Administrator and Maya Samad as Sales & Marketing Assistant. 
 
Reporting to the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Schick will have direct responsibility for a $300MM lease and loan portfolio. Managing a team of four portfolio accountants, he will oversee cash application and balancing, new originations, performance metrics and efficiency initiatives. Prior to joining North Mill, he was a consultant with Resources Global Professionals out of New York City. He also held various senior positions at GE Capital during which time he earned his Six Sigma Black Belt Certification. A graduate of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT, he received a BBA in accounting and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA. 
 
Ms. Arias-Hernandez joins North Mill as Portfolio Manager reporting to the company’s AVP of Legal. She will leverage her background in accounts receivable to help restructure payment plans for customers in need of alternative arrangements. Ms. Arias-Hernandez was with High Ridge Brands in Stamford, CT as a Trade Spend Financial Analyst and a Business Compliance Analyst with Mastercard in Purchase, NY before accepting her new role at North Mill. She earned a BA from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. 
 
Reporting to North Mill’s VP of Customer Relations, Ms. Merryfield will use her financial services background as both an analyst and customer service representative to support North Mill’s growth operation. Given the company’s record-breaking year in originations, she was brought on to join an expanding team of account managers tasked with supporting the growing base of new referral agent partners and their customers. Prior to joining North Mill, she was an Account Analyst for Marlin Business Bank in Mt. Laurel, NJ where she helped manage client relationships along with overseeing the day-to-day operations of the bank’s brokerage division. She earned her Associates Degree from Camden County College in Blackwood, NJ. 
 
Two recent college graduates, Yocasta Olivo and Maya Samad join North Mill as Title/Insurance Administrator and Sales & Marketing Assistant, respectively. North Mill’s tremendous growth in 2020 necessitated the creation of a hybrid role supporting both the title and insurance departments. Reporting to the AVP of Operations, Ms. Olivo will help manage the day-to-day operations of both departments. She earned her BS in International Business & Finance from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. Ms. Samad, reporting to North Mill’s Chief Marketing Officer, will train in all facets of the organization. Her duties include performing market analytics, assisting in website development, and supporting the account and relationship management teams. A recent graduate of Bucknell University in Lewiston, PA, Ms. Samad earned a BS in Business Administration.  

CHB Adds Additional Lender

NOVEMBER 6, 2020 - WHEATLAND, WY – C.H. Brown Co., LLC (CHB) announced Mark Knickerbocker has joined the company as a Lender/Loan Officer for its commercial equipment loans and lease products. In this position, Mark is tasked to fully prepare credit requests for underwriting and to analyze applicant provided data against CHB’s lending standards. Mr. Knickerbocker, a 35-year Wheatland resident, brings over 45 years’ experience in public service, business ownership and team management to the position including 12 years vehicle financing.
 
“We are pleased to have Mark on the CHB team. His vehicle sales and customer service experience combined with his drive and ‘can do’ mindset will be a great asset to CHB and help the company to respond more quickly to its customers,” said Ed Meyer, Chief Operating Officer. 

Ramil Arpojia Joins First Foundation Bank

NOVEMBER 11, 2020 - IRVINE, CA - Ramil (Ram) Arpojia has joined First Foundation Bank as a Credit Analyst I in the Equipment Finance Department. While servicing the equipment finance and leasing needs of the bank’s customers and prospects, the primary growth engine for this department is through funding partnerships with Third Party Originators. Ram has had several positions with companies in the finance industry, including as a Credit Analyst with Intuit and, prior to that, several different credit and administrative positions with Bank of Hope. Before that, Ram graduated from Gordon College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. When he’s not helping customers with their long- term-asset financing needs, enjoys playing with his son, cooking and traveling. Ram can be reached at (949) 668-7208 and our Equipment Finance Department is located at the Bank HQ in Irvine, CA.  

North Mill Set Another Record in 2020 as November Originations Hit All-Time High

DECEMBER 1, 2020, NORWALK, CT - North Mill Equipment Finance LLC (“North Mill”), a leading independent commercial equipment lessor located in Norwalk, Connecticut, announced today that the company reached an all-time high in monthly loan and lease originations in November. The record-breaking month saw funded volume climb to nearly $19 million, representing a growth rate of approximately 70% over the same period last year. “The new watermark in volume was especially gratifying given the number of business days in November is shortened by the extended Thanksgiving weekend holiday and Veteran’s Day,” explained David C. Lee, North Mill’s Chairman and CEO. A key factor contributing to the success, according to Lee, is the company’s commitment to asset diversification and emphasis on stronger credit borrowers. “Our weighted average FICO in November exceeded 719, up 21 points from last year. Plus, titled transportation, which made up nearly 100% of the firm’s asset portfolio a few years ago, now accounts for well under 50% of funded volume with heavy duty sleeper trucks being less than 10 percent,” he said.
 
The company’s average deal size also shot up, surpassing $84,000, up 23% from November of 2019 while the number of funded transactions also rose by 38% from last year. As the organization’s key financial metrics have soared, so too has the number of referral agents interested in working with North Mill. The company continues to see more and more equipment finance brokers interested in establishing relations. “Despite the many challenges imposed by the global pandemic, the team at North Mill is working harder than ever to help meet the needs of our broker partners and their customers,” Lee emphasized. “As always, we remain exclusively committed to our referral partners.”
 

Leasepath and instaCOVER Form Strategic Partnership

Intelligent Workplace platform extends its reach with forward-thinking insurance solutions provider.
 
DECEMBER 9, 2020 - LOS ANGELES, CA - Leasepath, provider of the cloud-first Finance Origination (LOS) and Customer Engagement (CRM) platform built exclusively for asset finance, announces the formation of a strategic partnership with technology-driven insurance solutions provider instaCOVER. The relationship will seek to leverage each other’s technology and industry expertise and share resources towards innovative new solutions. Founded in 2005, the Kirkland, WA-based instaCOVER has grown on the power of its proprietary point of sale insurance application and underwriting automation offerings to all types of equipment finance companies.
 
 “This partnership is a natural fit for instaCOVER, who is dedicated to providing customized insurance solutions to customers through an easy and comprehensive technology experience,” said Colleen Shelby, instaCOVER Managing Director. “We feel that Leasepath’s team and platform offers a gateway to exciting new solutions for our customers. Markets will continue to change rapidly, and will need flexible solutions to fill the demand. Leasepath and instaCOVER are perfectly aligned to develop those solutions and bring them to market.”
 
Leasepath and instaCOVER expect their partnership will be a benefit to the broader equipment finance community, as well as their individual missions to their customers. Leasepath’s cloud-first, Intelligent Workplace platform brings opportunity for secure, real-time connections with complementary service providers like never before. Combining instaCOVER’s quick insurance quoting process with Leasepath’s streamlined finance origination system means that equipment finance companies have  fewer tasks to complete while shortening the path to the sale and providing transparency for both the finance and insurance components of the overall deal. The result is a more informed customer, better customer service, a more seamless underwriting and insurance process, and increased trust and relationship for the equipment finance company providing the service.
 
 “The Intelligent Workplace is all about enabling innovative solutions to classic industry challenges, and we targeted the insurance process as one that was ready for disruption since it is customarily done much later in the process and requires an entirely different channel.  instaCOVER is a logical fit with their already streamlined, high technology approach,” shared Jeffrey Bilbrey, Leasepath CEO. “Our partnership with instaCOVER is a great example of using smart technology workflow to make work in the asset finance industry faster and more intelligent.”
 

ARF Financial Announces COVID-Proof Financing – Borrow with Confidence!

DECEMBER 11, 2020 - SUNRISE, FL - Mandatory shutdowns, capacity limitations, and social distancing are obstacles we’ve become all too familiar with. Businesses are beginning to recover, but uncertainty about the future has forced many owners to adopt a wait-and-see approach when it comes to rehiring and investing in the things to get back on track. ARF Financial has come up with a solution – their new Interest-Only Flex Pay Loan! It gives you the confidence to borrow now with low, interest-only payments for up to 5 months! After the interest-only period, you have the option to pay off the principal, or do nothing and take advantage of the perfect safety net – a built-in 60-week rollover amortization with rates starting at 11%. And, to make your financing truly “COVID-Proof”, ARF Financial is offering a 90-Day COVID-19 Guarantee giving you up to 90 additional days of interest-only payments. With flexibility like this you can truly borrow with confidence!
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IN THIS ISSUE
AACFB President's Message
AACFB Welcomes New Members
AACFB Benefit Spotlight
Front and Center
The ABCs of Bankruptcy
Getting Motivated to Prospect
What's the Plan for Commercial Collections in 2021?
How Can a Funding Source Keep Brokers Happy?
Interim Rent - Bad for the Broker, Bad for the Customer, Good and Bad for the Lender
Agile Equipment Financing Works Hand-in-Hand with Relief Funding Programs
Managing Financials for the Long Haul
Increase Your Approvals by Understanding Changes in Credit During COVID
Telling Your Client's Story
In a Slow Economy - Avoid this Mistake
5 Best Practices for Closing Your Next Equipment Finance Deal
Member News
Industry Buzz in the Biz
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