Mobile Version September 22, 2021
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AACFB President's Message

By Carrie Radloff, CLFP

Is anyone else obsessed with memes? Our team at AFP uses them almost daily to celebrate a great month, congratulate someone on an accomplishment, or just to make someone smile and have a little fun while we are hard at work. I use this meme quite a bit in our office and started thinking about how much it applies to our AACFB association as well. 

After missing the 2020 annual conference in person due to COVID-19, it was definitely time for the AACFB dream team to assemble and assemble we did! The 2021 AACFB annual conference was held September 8-10 at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. There was a lot of excitement building up this conference and it did not disappointment. From the many educational sessions to golf to the women’s luncheon to our keynote speaker Elliott Eisenberg to the exceptional networking events, this conference was a hit! 

The 2021 Annual Conference gave us two reasons to celebrate as it was the AACFB’s 30th Anniversary and our very first hybrid conference offering options for both in person and virtual attendance. I want to thank our amazing conference committee: Jim Phelps (Chair), Eddy del Rio, Tina Cawthorn, Andre Clifford, Vickie Rocco, and Kit West. Laura Estrada and I served as the Board Liaisons. This conference was originally planned for May 2021 in Portland in person only and thanks to COVID had many bumps and changes along the way. This conference committee rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to make it such a success for both in-person and virtual attendees. 

While a lot of hurdles had to be overcome in planning this event, some adjustments made this year turned out to be solutions to age-old dilemmas. I’ve always had such a hard time deciding what concurrent educational sessions to attend as they all had information I wanted to learn more about. We found a way to solve this problem by recording all of the sessions for the first time ever so that attendees can go back and listen to any of the sessions they missed. 

Also new this year were Comfort Level Stickers which allowed in-person attendees to help signal their preference for physical greetings. Masks and hand sanitizer stations were plentiful. Touch-points were minimized, and session rooms were large and set for social distancing.

As with any of our conferences or events, we invite your feedback so we can continue to make improvements to the conferences. Better yet, consider joining a conference committee and help us plan future events! This association belongs to all of our members so if you have ideas to make it better, please share and get involved!

I want to leave you with a quote I read a couple of weeks ago and thought what a great fit for our association: 

"Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." – Amy Poehler.  

Wishing everyone a strong and successful year-end!

Sincerely, 


Carrie Radloff, CLFP
AACFB President
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AACFB 30th Anniversary Celebration
 
This year marks 30 years since the National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers (NAELB), now AACFB, was officially incorporated back in 1991 and the association is celebrating the milestone all year long. 
 
See the photos from our 30th Anniversary celebration at the Annual Conference hosted at the outdoor pool deck at the Grand Hyatt Nashville.
 

 
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2021 AACFB Annual Conference Highlights

 
We wrapped up our first hybrid conference on Friday, September 10 in Nashville, Tennessee at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. While the attendance was slightly lower than previous years due to the pandemic, there were very few cancellations and the enthusiasm from attendees present was electric. 
 
The three day event hosted 242 in-person attendees and 39 virtual-only attendees. Those who attended in person enjoyed the full program of events, including a fantastic day at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links for the annual golf tournament and the Women in Finance Luncheon, which took place at the lou/na lounge atop the Grand Hyatt Nashville. Day one was capped off with the Opening Reception at the luxurious Grand Hyatt pool deck with live music and views of the city.
 
Both virtual and in-person attendees had the opportunity to attend 15 educational sessions, including a high-energy presentation by keynote speaker and well-known economist, Elliot Eisenberg, who truly made economics entertaining. All of the sessions were live-streamed and recorded, and all attendees will have access to the session recordings for the next year, which is a feature previously only available with fully virtual events. Session rooms looked a little different this year as they were formatted for social distancing. Additionally, masks, hand sanitizer, and comfort-level stickers were provided for in-person attendees to promote health and safety. 
 
The exhibit hall was in full swing on Thursday and Friday where 45 exhibitors were finally able to make those all-important face-to-face connections. Attendees were also treated to a margarita bar, Bloody Mary bar, and ice cream breaks in the exhibit hall, courtesy of generous sponsors.
 
AACFB President, Carrie Radloff stated, “We were extremely pleased with the turnout at our first in-person event in two years, given all of the hurdles and challenges this year has posed. It was heart-warming to see so many long-time members who were able to help us celebrate the AACFB’s 30th Anniversary. We were also thrilled to be able to offer a virtual option to those who wanted to participate but were unable to attend in person. We can’t wait for the 2022 AACFB Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina next May 11-13!”
 
The conference culminated in the Annual Business Meeting and Auction, where President, Carrie Radloff thanked Immediate Past President, Cindy Downs for her service as president of the AACFB. The presidency transitioned from Cindy Downs to Carrie Radloff in May of 2021. Cindy then honored Past President, Paul Burnham, and Past President, Bud Callahan, for their service on the AACFB Board of Directors. They rotated off the Board in May. Secretary/Treasurer, Roderick Knoll presented an upbeat Treasurer’s Report where he enthusiastically reported that the AACFB is in a positive financial position and has no debt. Immediate Past President, Cindy Downs also presented the 2021 AACFB President’s Award to Buddy Zarbock with Commercial Funding Partners for his dedication to promoting educational opportunities for AACFB members. 
 

 
Once the business at hand had concluded, Bobby Cowan with Y.E.S. Leasing took the mic to emcee the prize auction that is quickly becoming a favorite event at the conference. Attendees were able to collect “AACFB Bucks” during the conference for visiting with exhibitors or attending sessions. Bucks could also be purchased, with the proceeds benefiting the AACFB Scholarship Fund. Those in attendance had the opportunity to use their “bucks” to bid on prize packages worth up to $500 donated by AACFB sponsors and exhibitors. 
 
After a busy week of networking and learning, attendees were finally able to kick back and relax at the Happy Hour & a Half hosted at the rooftop lounge at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. Many are already making plans to attend next year’s AACFB events taking place in May and September of 2022.
 

SAVE THE DATES FOR 2022

 

 

 
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2021 Meet the Funder Webinar Series
The 2021 AACFB Meet the Funder-Associate Webinar Series has been presented on select Wednesdays this year.  You can now watch the recordings at your convenience. CLICK HERE to view.
 

  
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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

  

NEW BENEFIT - FileInvite now offers a 20% discount on their document management software to AACFB members.

 AACFB Members Receive:

  • 20% off Fileinvite subscription fees. Discount will apply to subscription renewals and new subscriptions.
  • No minimum subscription period.
  • Free demo and 14 day trial.

Visit the Members Only Section at www.aacfb.org under Benefits - Savings.
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Front and Center

By Leslie Brown, CLFP


 
This installment of Front & Center focuses on longtime member Linda Tiers. Commercial Break correspondent Leslie Brown recently sat down with Linda virtually to find out more about her, her background, and her journey. Click Here to view their chat.
 

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The Pandemic & The New Normal

By Kenneth C. Greene, AACFB General Counsel


 
 
I have authored more than twenty articles this past year on law, leasing, licensing, broker agreements, fraud, contracts, and other legal issues relevant to the commercial finance industry. I have decided to shift gears and address an issue that should be relevant to everyone – this brave new post-COVID world.
 
Just this once, I promise. After this, we can deep dive into the fascinating intricacies of the Rule Against Perpetuities (an arcane, abstruse rule relating to bequests), if you really want that.
 
Maybe it’s just me. But I feel different from, hmm, let’s say, New Year’s Eve 2020. And I’m guessing I’m not alone.
2020. We never saw it coming.
 
But it came, and it stayed. Moved in, put its tiny, spikey, ever-mutating feet on our collective ottomans, and settled in. It keeps saying it’ll be gone in the next six months, but it never gives a move-out date.
 
How do you feel about all of that? I think we’ve all noticed significant behavioral changes in ourselves, our friends, families, and business colleagues, not to mention our politicians, the so-called leaders “we” elected to guide us through these turbulent times, whatever “we” means these days.
 
For me, this begets a few important questions. Has the world changed? Will it return to “normal?” Have I changed? How can I return to “normal?” Of course, the natural corollary to these questions is even more of a mystery. If there is a “new normal,” what will it be like? What is expected of us? How will we all adjust? 
 
This ramble addresses the quandary of disassociation. Socrates said, “man is by nature a social animal” and who are we to disagree with Socrates? But I personally believe that we learn the rules of socialization. We can also un-learn those rules or fall out of practice after a long period of isolation. Now it seems necessary to re-learn the rules of conduct, cooperation, and respect. 
 
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit more than a year ago, staying home and limiting social interaction became key tools in the fight against the spread of the virus. Now, as more people get vaccinated, infection rates slow and restrictions loosen across the country, many began to anticipate the joy of finally reconnecting with family and friends. Yet, at the same time, many also are experiencing feelings that they didn't expect–like anxiety about returning to social situations.
 
To complicate matters, that cute little technicolor porcupine virus has not left at all. It’s still in your living room, watching your TV, and raiding your fridge. You just don’t recognize it anymore because it’s mutated. Now it looks sort of like your uncle, the one who always drinks your good wine.
 
And, to further complicate matters, the world is on fire. In some places, literally: there’s probably more fire in California than water. Then we have the incomprehensible insanity in Washington: impeachments, insurrections, power grabs, vaccination riots, the words “fraud” and “election” put in the same sentence until they mean nothing. Let’s not forget unemployment, homelessness, Afghanistan, Russia, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and the always entertaining “murder hornets.” (Really, murder? mens real? . . . c’mon now anthropomorphologists).
So, we wake up every morning, hoping and praying that things are getting better. We grab our coffee and open the newspaper to quickly realize they’re not. Not today at least. Now what? Hole up in our bunkers? Wear space suits? Find $20 million and hop a Musk-shuttle to Mars? Probably not gonna happen.
But they want you back in the office, back in the stores and restaurants and gyms that are struggling to survive. And we want to help. Just wear a mask (please), get a shot (pretty please), stay away from other people, and it will be fine.
 
Will it though? With society reopening, many people are experiencing new or worsening social anxiety. Things most people used to do daily, such as carpooling, talking to strangers, making small talk with work colleagues, and seeing old friends, have become anxiety-provoking for some. In fact, the thought of returning to normal life might have you gripped in a state of panic and dread. If you’re among the roughly 12% of Americans  already diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, then your fears likely go beyond a bit of trepidation, nervousness, or awkwardness. Instead, you probably experience near debilitating anxiety symptoms whenever even thinking about returning to “normal.” Rest assured you 12%...you’re in good company this time around.
So, what do you do? Well, I’m just a lawyer, so how should I know? Personally, I coped with the “year of living dangerously close to no one but your family” by working at home, working out at home, calling for delivery (and keeping my fingers crossed that the right food would arrive on time), reading books, playing the piano, and otherwise being the good domesticated hubbie (honey do? Sure, what else is there to do?). 
 
Quite frankly, I really didn’t mind. Mostly, it was easy. No commute, no small talk at the office, no small talk in the steam room at the gym (thank you), no shaving, no shoes. But can we do this forever?
 
Probably not. I think the long-term effects of disassociation are probably unhealthy. Part of culture is learning from others, having new experiences, and generally moving forward, rather than remaining stagnant, through external forces that inspire you to discover new things about the world, other people, yourself. Is there anything quite like a ballgame in a stadium, a great concert in an intimate venue, a fantastic trip to Europe, an amazing meal at a Michelin rated restaurant, a music festival? Absolutely not. There is no substitute for novelty, exploration, adventure, communal interaction. Romance. So, yes indeed, we will shave (those of us who do), put on a pair of shoes (pants too, please), re-learn how to drive, and get out of the house.
 
I’m no therapist, so I can’t render any medical advice. But my belief is that we have to begin to move forward, get past the trauma of the last year and a half, and reacquaint ourselves with our world. Slowly. I mean, what’s the hurry? This is not a race, just the human race. If we were able to learn social behaviors when we were wee toddlers, we can certainly learn it again.
 
One piece of advice (shameless plug ahead), reverse the disassociation by joining THIS association, the AACFB, if you aren't already a member. Here you will find kindred souls, people with common interests, all of whom have had the same incomprehensible misfortune of living through the pandemic. Together, you, and those beleaguered souls who suffered in isolation just as we all did, will put the nightmare of the past year and a half behind us. 
 
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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A Subtle but Deadly Killer of Sales

By John Chapin

 
 
If you’ve read past sales articles of mine, you know I talk a lot about the two major keys to sales success: lots of the right activity and great sales skills. That said, while a lack of activity is the biggest killer of sales success, a lack of great sales skills isn’t the second biggest killer. The second biggest killer is more subtle. In fact, it’s so subtle that most salespeople go through their whole sales careers and never figure this one out and, as a result, never become the salesperson they could be.

The Second Biggest Killer of Sales
 
I won’t make you read the whole article to find out what the second biggest killer of sales is, here it is: the second biggest killer of sales is not being direct. Coincidentally that’s also the second biggest issue I run into with salespeople I train. Number one is lacking the first key to sales success: lots of the right activity. Most of the salespeople that struggle simply are not making enough calls to get enough qualified prospects, to make the sales. While lacking the second key to sales success, great sales skills, definitely hurts sales results, it doesn’t hurt sales as much as an unwillingness to be direct in sales conversations. An unwillingness to be direct by not asking enough questions and/or tough questions, will lead to incorrect assumptions and an overall breakdown in communication and the sales process as a whole. Salespeople who aren’t direct will find themselves chasing people who aren’t interested, aren’t qualified, or both. Also, when they do talk to the right people, they’ll fail to uncover all the necessary issues and buying motives.
 
A perfect example of not being direct is the fact that more than 60% of salespeople don’t close at the end of a presentation. The average salesperson gets to the end of a presentation, asks the prospect what they think, and upon hearing a simple brush-off like, “looks good, why don’t you follow up with me in a week,” simply agrees and leaves. I’ve even been on sales calls where the salesperson finished their presentation by telling the prospect they’d follow up in a few days after the prospect has had time to think about everything that was covered.
 
Of course, the end of a presentation is only one area where many salespeople fail to be direct. Other common areas include qualifying on the initial call, the needs analysis during the first and subsequent appointments, and when dealing with objections.
 
Here are the most popular reasons salespeople fail to be direct:
 
  • They confuse being direct with being pushy.  When I talk about being direct, I’m referring to the words you use, not your tone of voice and demeanor. You want to ask questions that are worded directly, in a friendly and conversational manner as if you’re talking to a close friend or family member.
  • They don’t want to lose the lead. Many times, a salesperson is so happy they have an interested prospect, that they don’t want to do anything to lose the prospect. They’re afraid that if they ask too many questions, the prospect will get irritated and they’ll lose them, so they don’t ask the necessary questions.
  • They don’t want to burst their own bubble. This one is related to the above, but this specifically applies to salespeople who employ the ‘hope’ method of selling.  When I ask someone how their sales calls went and I hear, “No sales but I got a lot of really good leads,” I know they’re using the ‘hope’ method. If you’ve been in sales for a while, you know there’s no such thing as a good lead. Unless it’s your first week in the business, you shouldn’t be excited about ‘good’ leads, only good sales. Salespeople who get excited about leads look for an ounce of interest and once they see it, remove themselves from the selling situation as quickly as possible ‘hoping’ those leads will translate to sales. They won’t.
  • They’re afraid or uncomfortable being direct. This is someone who has trouble being assertive coupled with a fear of rejection and having difficult conversations in general. They may also have some deep-seeded, negative beliefs about asking strangers questions.   
  • They haven’t been trained properly. This is someone who wings every sales call and doesn’t have a sales process to follow.
Here are some solutions to the above:
  • Have a specific process along with a list of scripted, well-thought-out questions to ask on each call and in each situation. You may not ask all of the questions on every sales call, but you have to ask enough of them to ensure the person you’re talking to has a need for your solution, and is in fact ready, willing, and able to invest in your product or service.
  • Close at the end of each client or prospect sales call. You may be closing the sale, or you may simply be closing on the next appointment, or whatever your next step in the sales process is. Either way, close and get a commitment. That means either asking closing questions or getting a specific time and day for your next step. Do not accept, “call me next week”, or “call me on Tuesday.” You have to have a specific follow-up item scheduled on a specific day at a specific time.  
  • Get in the habit of being direct in all your conversations, even personal ones. How many times have you had a misunderstanding because something was assumed? Never walk away from a conversation with assumptions. Ask direct questions that uncover all the details you need.
  •  Err on the side of asking too many questions versus too few.
  
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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Successful Owner-Operators Learned to Roll with Change in 2020

By Kit West


 
(This article was originally published in the NEFA newsletter.)
 
For the single-truck owner-operator, going from one truck to a second is by far one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. To follow is salient advice lessors/lenders can provide their clients considering expansion. 
 
Of the 350,000 owner-operators driving in the U.S., nearly every one of them were impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. At first, the initial fear of great change and the unknown created a hysteria of helplessness. Owner-operators that were struggling and determined that they could no longer operate as an independent, sold their trucks and either hired on as company drivers or changed careers completely. Other owner-operators saw a light and found great opportunities to grow and expand their businesses.  
 
At this point, owner-operators in the U.S. have realized that where there is change – there is opportunity. The number of startups jumping into owning their first truck increased as well as the number of trucking companies buying their second and third truck. The government programs provided debt relief to those that needed it, and incentives to grow to those companies that could. Change is inevitable. Independent owner-operators have learned that they must either change when forced to, or they must embrace change as part of their culture and learn to roll with it. 
 
As a lender, who are some of your most challenging clients? Startups, owner-operators, or fleet owners? We have found that the single truck owner-operator growing from one truck to a second is by far the most difficult task to accomplish. The risk for default or troubled loans escalates at this point.
 
Your client(s) may not realize the complexity of doubling the size of their operation to two trucks. The emotional investment into the idea of being a fleet owner dominates their thoughts as they drive across the country. Even before purchasing their first truck, the idea of growing a trucking company has always been with them.
 
With your client being so emotionally invested into building their trucking company, they may not be able to see some of the challenges that lay before them. After a time as a profitable single-unit owner-operator, the natural next step is for the business to grow and acquire a second truck. Most owner-operator drivers have probably thought…how did all the larger, multi-unit fleet owner-operator companies get their start and grow their companies? The answer is more common than you might think…one truck at a time. Still, this path is fraught with pitfalls and each business owner must do some serious planning and thinking before doubling their fleet. 
 
Making the jump to a two-truck operation doubles the responsibility, increases expenses, raises one’s stress and adds time commitment; everything multiplies. Purchasing a second truck and finding a reliable and trustworthy driver creates a feeling of being overwhelmed. Knowing this and going through it will require perseverance and determination. Understanding these facets beforehand and successfully surviving the two-truck transition creates momentum which, when sustained, enables more growth toward a third and fourth truck. Each successive additional truck expansion will be simpler once the second truck difficulties are conquered. The owner-operators who make the leap successfully will become even better clients and will turn to you, the lender, to help grow the company. 
 
When working with your borrowers/lessees, here are the most common steps required – but sometimes overlooked – to make the second truck acquisition by an owner-operator a success. 
 
  1. Get their own Department of Transportation (DOT) authority. Many single power unit owner-operators are leased-on and run under some other entity's authority. Insurance and loads are handled by the leasing company, in addition to their paycheck. All that’s required is for the owner-operator to drive and maintain the truck. But having their own DOT authority provides the freedom to make additional operating decisions about their trucking company. 
  2. Even if there is a sole owner of the business, your borrowers/lessees should create a legal business entity such as a limited liability corporation, S corporation and even a limited partnership. These entities provide more legal protection over a sole proprietorship. Is your client going to be 100 percent owner? Does your client have a partner? Is the client’s spouse involved? Owner-operators much choose partners wisely as their credit history may have a profound effect on the company’s ability to secure financing. 
  3. Clients should check and maintain their credit score: They should strive to keep credit card debt low and meet their financial obligations – even on medical bills. And clients should run financial projections! 
  4. Advise clients to create a Business Bank account. Their accountant or bookkeeper will be happy that the business income and expenses are separate from the personal accounts. This will also make company tax reporting and profit/loss statements more accurate and easier to produce. 
  5. Prepare to step away from driving. For the owner of a trucking company, the best seat is often in the office. When in the office, perspectives of the business will change, which will also ensure the paperwork is in order. This will create the ability to see new business opportunities that would have never been seen while driving. 
  6. Owner-operators should pay themselves. Clients should expect the business to make a profit. If your clients do not pay themselves, then all they have created is a new job and they are now working for a lunatic – themselves! 
  7. Create a budget and stick to it. This will provide the insight to see all the costs, observe where the revenues are coming from and assess what the profit should be.
  8. Buy a profitable truck. A long nose Pete 389 Glider is a profit challenge. Yes, it has a 550 hp, DD15 engine mounted to an 18-speed transmission with dual stacks and chrome fuel tanks; those features look and sound good but don’t necessarily make a profit. A load is only worth so much a mile and there are not enough miles in the day to force a gorgeous truck with a corresponding monthly payment to cash flow and make a profit. Owner-operators should shop for the right truck; it’s out there.
  9. Determine beforehand how to manage and communicate with an employee driver and how the second truck will acquire its loads. Determine if the additional unit be local, regional or OTR. 
  10. Set aside money for worst-case scenarios. The number one reason small trucking companies fail in the U.S. is because trucks break down and there are no funds for repairs. Protective Advances are possible, but hard to get and even harder to pay off. 
  11. Never stop learning. Advise your clients to read, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, and keep current on trucking trends and business “Best Practices.” These activities will provide them insights to help make smart business decisions. There are numerous resources available that can help to develop the business. 
 
They must stay healthy: Encourage your clients to keep in good condition both physically and mentally. Your client’s mind must be in the right place when making big decisions. Encourage them to ask for help, call a friend, partner, spouse or even you – their lender. 
 
The 12 steps above will not guarantee a successful transition for clients from a single-unit owner-operator to a dual truck operation; however, if utilized they will help ensure most facets of doubling a company’s operations are considered. Having your clients understand what it takes to make the jump to the next level is critical for their business as well as yours in any economic environment. Disclaimer: Following these directions will provide a solid foundation for your client to build their company, but there are many additional items that can influence their success. Staying focused and determined will give them confidence to succeed in building the business.  
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
 
Kit West is the Business Development Director at CH Brown Co. LLC. He can be reached at 307-241-7005 or kwest@chbef.com.
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Financing Businesses with a Rapid Change in Volume

By Ian Varley


 
The events of the past year have challenged businesses like never before. So many companies saw their revenue fall off a cliff overnight and required support from COVID-19 relief funding programs to survive. Entrepreneurs had to tighten their belts and weather the storm as best they could. This year businesses have a great opportunity to rebuild but now run the risk of facing an entirely different problem: a lack of working capital that will slow or even stop this from happening before it can get going. When looking for potential funding programs for their clients, finance brokers must consider that today’s business owners need a solution that can build on what it may already have and support a rapid change in sales volume. This support should come in the form of a responsive financing solution that does not penalize them for the pandemic challenges they survived or give them the burden of needing to re-apply or re-qualify each time a limit increase is required.
 
This year has already shown significant economic growth with the second quarter outpacing pre-pandemic levels. Small businesses are eager to capitalize on this economic growth. A recent Bank of America survey showed that about 60% of small business owners expect revenue to increase in 2021. Along with this growth in income comes a need for readily available business financing and an opportunity for anybody who can help them achieve success in a rapidly changing environment.
 
All businesses have overhead and cashflow needs, which can be intensified in periods of rapid growth. Business owners need readily available access to working capital to meet the demand for new or larger sales orders. Bank loans or lines of credit remain an attractive option to businesses that are still able to meet the approval criteria. For the many businesses that do not meet these metrics, there are alternative financing options out there, although many of these are not as readily available as they once were. Online loans and merchant cash advances can provide fast funding to small business owners that would otherwise be denied for the financing they seek through a bank. These programs often come at a significant cost and do not offer a good mid-to long term solution for the business owner.
 
One of the reasons the factoring sector has seen an increased demand for facilities over the past year is it can support rapid growth often without the need for financial statements since these may not show a very positive position in 2020. Banks are not known for making a quick decision and the time it takes for them to underwrite a loan can often make or break a small business’s growth opportunity. Having a funding partner that can approve a new funding line or facility increase within hours could mean the difference between making a large sale or turning down new business. For a broker, a factoring company making a fast approval decision means being able to place a client with a financing facility in a matter of days. This year, more than ever, businesses need to look hard at the headroom available within their financing tools alongside the growth potential of their business.
 
Invoice factoring is a unique financing tool because there are no repayments due from the client, and the facility limit stays in line with the growth of their sales. This means their business is eligible for an increase in facility size in line with the growth of their sales volume. There is no need for a business owner to put together a new funding application and hope or wait for approval. For deals referred by a financing broker, commissions earned naturally increase in line with the growth of the client. Factoring services are well-suited for growing businesses that need fast working capital injections to support their growth.
 
Factoring is particularly well known within certain industry sectors such as staffing, apparel, and transportation. Outside of these verticals often the business owner may have never heard of it or may have the impression that it is expensive or difficult to manage – it is neither. Factors have invested heavily in technology over the past 5 years. It is now much easier to submit invoices for funding and the fees charged by reputable factors are far less than online loan providers. A business using factoring does not lose control of their bank balance, unlike an ACH/MCA solution who will debit the clients’ bank account with the repayments due either daily, weekly, or monthly. Again, with factoring there are no loan repayments for the client to worry about making - the factor advances money against new invoices issued and collects their repayment from the account debtors. The client can also turn to the factor to help them provide collections support and credit opinions on their existing and any potential new customers – a very valuable service in today’s business climate and is typically provided by the factor at no additional cost to their client.
 
Different from other lenders, factors typically approve potential clients based on the profile of their accounts receivable aging, the number of account debtors and the average time the invoices take to pay. The FICO score of the business owner, profitability, and the length of time in business is less important. A factor will also look at rapid growth in a business as a positive sign and accepts as sales grow, so will the need for increased factoring advances. They are experts in managing accounts receivable and will be able to oversee this securely. Contrast that with a bank facility where loan covenants or requirements can be breached during periods of rapid change and line increases are dependent on historical balance sheet performance versus sales orders in hand.
 
Brokers should always consider referring deals to a factoring company when a business needs fast working capital that can accommodate future growth. Startup companies, growing companies, and companies lacking a strong balance sheet all qualify for factoring services and are usually a good fit for a factoring facility. If they supply other businesses on credit terms, there will be a home for them with a factor. Referrals can be very lucrative for the broker too. A funded factoring deal can provide the broker with a regular income stream typically through an on-going share of revenue, often lasting for the life of the client which can be many years. Compare that to commission structures for brokers that work with cash advance or online loan lenders are usually only a one-time payment.
 
Another consideration for a growing business in 2021 is the emergence of coronavirus variants and uncertainty that this presents. While some economists are predicting a slowdown in economic growth because of the Delta variant, most do not expect a major economic dent tantamount to 2020. This is because businesses have already adapted to the challenges COVID-19 has brought. Part of these adaptations was being able to survive a sudden loss of revenue. 48% of business owners turned to personal savings to stay afloat during 2020, which may not be available to them moving forward. Whether a business’s revenue swings up or down, it is vital to have a financial partner that can continue support through both scenarios not only to keep funding when problems arise but also to be there ready to increase funding when new opportunities come around. A growing business should never be in a situation where they are unable to meet sales orders because either their financing capability has hit the top of their facility limit and they are waiting on the approval of a facility increase or their performance ratios no longer meet the banks requirements. Or both!
 
Getting the right solution for your client in the current climate is more important than ever. You need to consider both immediate needs and what is expected to happen over the next year or so, particularly if their financial performance over the past 18 months has been weaker than normal. Recommending a reasonably priced, flexible financing option that can grow with them, funds within a few days with minimal upfront cost and helps future proof their business will yield a satisfied client that is able to not only survive but thrive.
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Ian Varley is CEO of Eagle Business Credit. After over 25 years in the factoring industry, Ian Varley started Eagle Business Credit in 2013 to provide funding solutions for small business. During that time, it has helped hundreds of companies secure working capital funding to meet their daily cashflow needs.
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How Did You End Up in Leasing/Commercial Finance?

By Fred St. Laurent


 
There are two questions I ask often when speaking to people in our industry. 
 
1.)  What led you to a career in leasing/commercial finance? 
2.)  How do you plan to exit your career in leasing/commercial finance? 
 
There are two dynamics impacting our overall economy right now. 
 
1)  With more than 75 million Boomers (those born between 1946-1964) retiring sooner rather than later, it's clear that employers will need a strong workforce plan for replacing exiting workers.
2)  COVID impact on three generations who are rethinking their career goals and education: 
a. Generation X (born 1965-1980) 
b. Generation Y (born 1981-1996) 
c. Generation Z born (1997-2012) The potential workforce graduating and just out of high school.
 
The Gen Z population is considering whether college is worth the time and money. Is it better to just go to work? Many of the Gen Y’s who did go to the college, are facing massive debt. 
 
I know one Gen Y with a major insurance company who has been working from home during the pandemic. This person was recently called back into the office and decided to resign. Turns out most of that division resigned on the same day, so the employer decided to continue with remote employment. (I am seeing a dramatic impact on commercial real estate with empty office space, nationally). 
 
I had conversations with Boomers planning retirement. There was one conversation about how this successful broker had been mentored by someone with decades of relationships. When his mentor eventually retired, those faded away, and he observed that those customers might have been passed on and were of value. 
 
I asked a woman I know, a rising star in our industry, how she found her way into leasing, the story she shared was enlightening. 
 
She took a job as a hairstylist and worked her way through a prestigious university. Not long ago, I would have expected her to make the jump to Wall Street to pursue her American Dream. 
 
This was not the case, rather, she decided to continue her job as a hairstylist, until she could sort out what she wanted to do. One day, one of her customers was talking about how much she loved her job, and it caught her imagination. The industry was Equipment Leasing. The rest is history. 
 
If her customer had not been happy with her employer, her job, her managers, her compensation, this would have had a different ending.
 
During an interview with a top leasing rep in 2003 we were discussing his background. He mentioned that he had been a car salesman and he was showing a customer a rather expensive automobile. He got around to qualifying and asked him what he did for a living. This customer was the Group President at Heller Financial and he was so 
impressed with the sales ability of this salesman, he recruited him to Heller and his career was launched.
 
There are so many stories to share and not enough time, such as the woman, right out of college, was recruited to sell time shares. She not only excelled but became a manager and was recruited into leasing. This young woman is now the president of her own leasing company. 
 
We never know where the next wave of talent for the commercial finance industry is coming from. The vigilant, who recognize talent, and have a contagious view of equipment finance, will always be the best ambassadors and attract our future leaders. We will need them, as our leaders exit the industry. 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Frederic St Laurent is Chief Executive Officer of TBCN, Inc.  headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the AACFB and spoken at conferences and recruited in the Leasing Industry for more than 20 years.
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SBA Loan Options Connect Small Businesses with Needed Capital to Rebound, Grow, and Thrive

By Chris Hurn

 
Three rounds of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans provided a lifeline to small businesses, helping them stay afloat during the pandemic. Created last year, the program made $799.8 billion in loans to small businesses. While the PPP officially ended on May 31, 2021, small business owners still need access to capital to bounce back and grow. 
 
Many small business owners believe the road to recovery will take time. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that about one-third (32%) expect economic conditions will not fully improve until sometime in 2022 and 11% after 2022. As they navigate economic recovery and use the last of PPP funds, small businesses and entrepreneurs can access needed funding through long-standing SBA (Small Business Administration) loan programs including SBA 7(a) and 504 loans.
 
Existing businesses are not the only ones that need access to capital. New businesses are forming at a record pace. According to the Economic Innovation Group, 2020 saw a surge in new business applications, “reaching nearly 4.5 million by year’s end—a 24.3 percent increase from 2019 and 51.0 percent higher than the 2010-19 average.”    
 
SBA 7(a) and 504 loans which represent approximately 90% of all SBA loans can help connect small businesses of all types to needed capital. Created in 1953, the SBA 7(a) loan program funds working capital up to $5 million which can be used for starting up or maintaining operations. SBA 504 loans, which have been in existence since 1958, can be used for purchasing land, buildings and equipment and renovating facilities. 
 
These SBA loan programs provide a wide range of benefits for small business borrowers including lower down payments, lower interest rates, lower monthly payments, and longer terms on loans. SBA loans are also more flexible and don’t have as many strings attached like the loan covenants common in commercial lending that can trip up borrowers.
 
SBA loans are now even more attractive to business owners thanks to the Federal Cares Act. Loan guarantee fees will be waived on SBA 7(a) loans approved by the September 30th fiscal year-end deadline. This can save borrowers up to 3.5% of their guaranteed loan amount, which is typically 75% of the total loan. Consider that on a $1 million loan the fee waiver savings add up to over $26,000. Borrowers with an SBA loan approval by September 30th are also eligible for three months of payment relief up to $9,000 a month. The fee waiver and payment relief can save business owners a whopping $53,000, but they’ll have to hurry.
 
SBA loan enhancements in the Federal Cares Act also raise loan guarantees. For small business owners this means that even though their income statements and balance sheets might have taken a hit from the pandemic, the odds of being approved for an SBA loan are improved right now. That’s because the government is giving lending institutions an incentive to lend, raising the guarantee on each loan from 75% to 90%. This guarantee applies to all 7(a) loans up to $5 million.
 
These benefits make a compelling business case for applying for SBA loans, but even so some business owners may shy away from them because they think the loan process is too slow and full of red tape. While there is some paperwork involved in applying for SBA loans, it is not much different than applying for a commercial loan. And borrowers working with a preferred SBA lender usually only have to wait a few weeks instead of a few months for their loan to close.
 
While there are approximately 1,800 active SBA lenders for regular SBA loan programs, not all SBA lenders are alike. SBA preferred lenders streamline the loan process, providing the best borrower experience. SBA preferred lenders are able to make the final decision on SBA loans, cutting out the 4-to-6-week (or longer) general SBA approval process.
 
SBA loans are designed to support small businesses and encourage lending so these businesses can start, grow, and expand. As economic recovery continues in the wake of the pandemic, SBA loans are a great option for connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the capital they need to rebound, grow, and thrive.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Hurn is one of the nation’s top Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders with more than 20 years of industry experience. He is committed to providing the smartest, fastest, and most comprehensive financing possible to the small business community – whether its helping companies get back on their feet during economic hardship or helping grow businesses to new heights. His firm Fountainhead is an SBA-approved national, non-bank, direct commercial lender specializing in helping small-to-midsize businesses finance their growth through SBA 504, SBA 7(a), conventional low-LTV loans and, recently, PPP loans.
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Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

By Mike Mroszak

 
It’s true that Left Eye said, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls.” But just for fun, let’s say that waterfalls, in the form of a profitable “waterfall process,” really are worth chasing. What would that mean for your business?
 
One of the challenges that we often see our clients struggle with is that they have created well-defined processes for their underwriting, their sales, and their other business functions, but they lack either the resources or the desire to invest the same level of intensity into their collections process. That’s OK, since a company like ours can help pick up the resulting slack, but to save a lot of time and energy and minimize risk, our clients should still have at least a basic process in place–a “waterfall process”–for how they’d like to administer each of their delinquent accounts and when they’d benefit from outsourcing their collections. We often observe that our clients are reinventing the wheel every time they encounter a delinquency.
 
Having such a waterfall process would be a best practice and would also help to minimize anti-discrimination risk by treating each similarly-situated account in the same way. Consider the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), for example. If you don’t credit report each client in the same way, then the best FCRA practice would be for you to not report at all; you need a waterfall process that will protect you when a client disputes your credit reporting practices.
 
Unfair Deceptive or Abusive Acts (UDAAP) violations should also be addressed by your waterfall process. Some in the industry think that this statute only applies to consumer debts, but that’s not necessarily the case–or even the major point. Litigation can be brought against a funder that treats two borrowers differently with regards to their debts, and even if the funder wins at trial, it’s still going to be costly to defend and it’s still going to generate bad publicity. Consider that this is even more of a risk in the current funding environment as courts continue to give the benefit of the doubt to borrowers over funders because of COVID, and you will see that you need a waterfall process that will protect you when a client alleges disparate treatment.
 
Generally speaking, every funder will do some type of automated messaging or manual reach-outs when an account first becomes delinquent. This will continue for some period of time until options such as repossessing the equipment, moving to legal, or outsourcing to a collections agency are considered. Every funder tends to have its own opinion regarding how quickly it should move through each of these steps, and every funder tends to have its own preferences regarding what method of collections should be chosen, with the ticket size and the type of business that’s being funded generally affecting these choices. This becomes the funder’s ad hoc waterfall process for collections, and it’s often the product of fairly random and subjective decisions that have been made over time on a case-by-case basis.
 
What can be missed when using such an ad hoc waterfall process? Consider deficiency balances. They are often ignored by funders but can be an excellent way to boost the bottom line if they are included as an integral part of a waterfall process. For example, once a piece of equipment has been repossessed and sold, the account can then be automatically assigned to a collection agency for additional recoveries.
 
Whatever collections situation you find yourself in, having a predetermined and solid waterfall process that’s tailored to your organization’s desired collections approach will prove to be invaluable. It will create efficiencies and help you to prepare for the rainier days that most certainly lie ahead. It will speed up your recoveries, limit your exposure to bad publicity, avoid wasted staff time, and avoid missed collections opportunities. Most importantly, it will provide a well-defined process for collections that matches your already-established and well-defined processes for underwriting, sales, and other business functions.
 
Look to your partners to help you build this out, or to help outsource this process, and then maybe you can stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Mike Mroszak is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Dedicated Commercial Recovery and has spent 11 years in equipment and services sales in the finance space. Mike is an avid traveler and is a lifelong student of martial arts, which he's found to be a modern day survival skill when traveling by air and volunteers his time on the board of a local NPO, createMPLS.”
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Capture the Moment

By Peter Mehit


 
Most of us keep to-do lists. We have iPads and smart phones and keep track of what we’ve promised to other people. We track the things we need to get done. But what about the future? What about those great ideas that happen while waiting in line? We’ve all had that experience of coming to an instant understanding or suddenly seeing clearly what we need to do in a certain situation. We tell ourselves to remember the moment because it’s important and we promise ourselves we will capture it later.
 
But later never really comes. It gets replaced by a never ending cascade of right now. The car that cut you off in traffic, an urgent request or even just the need to relax for a moment, any number of other events will crowd the thought out of your memory. The moment of clarity you had is lost in life’s incessant rush.
 
If we capture those moments of clarity, if we collect them and study them, they can be our salvation. They can help us find a better way to do something, figure out a tough problem or help us strengthen our relationships. Those moments of clarity, the ‘ah ha’ moments, epiphanies, whatever you call them, are all clues that can move us toward the places we ultimately want to go. They are the signposts for the things we want to do and be. 
 
When those moments occur, we need to write them down…right now, as close to the moment as possible. The inspirations, the crazy ideas, even rants of frustration are all amazing insights into how we think. Here are some ideas for capturing these random treasures:
 
  • Carry a small notebook or sketch pad with you 
  • Electronic devices, like iPads and net books are idea for keeping notes because the keypads are big and easy to use. Plus, you get the added benefit of your musings can be easily used elsewhere. 
  • Tape or digital recorders are excellent because they are easiest and most immediate. They also capture the sound of your voice, your mood, and your surroundings, which can also be important pieces of information.
  • Video recordings 
 
Regardless of the method you choose, the most important thing is that you capture your idea, impression or feeling as close in time to its occurrence as possible. The fresher your impression, the more truth you’ll capture.
 
Once you start collecting your notes, you’ll want to organize them. You’ll want to find meaning in them right away. Don’t. Let them accumulate. Review them periodically, maybe every one or two weeks. Look for patterns in the subjects and your treatment of them. Overtime, you will start to hear your own voice. As that occurs you will become more aware of your thoughts. 
 
You’re really starting a dialogue with yourself. The act of writing something down, making your body confirm your thoughts through action is how you prime your subconscious. Your subconscious mind will chunk the together your ideas and start seeing designs in what may at first seem random. When this self-dialogue becomes habit, you will be able to write down the questions you need answers to and wait for the answer to assemble itself in the notes you capture every day.
 
Let me give you an example of how powerful this can be. My partner and I both have experience in organizational change. We were granted a pitch meeting with a large law enforcement agency to help them with growing pains they were experiencing due to rapid expansion. After discussions with them, I knew what they needed, but it wasn’t easy to explain. There were a lot of moving parts and they all interacted with each other.
 
That night, I had a dream of a ship battling its way through a rough sea. I awoke from the dream, and it became clear to me that the department was the ship. The course it was on was its mission. It was powered by its people and infrastructure, the waves resisting it were the community and people in the department that did not want change. I made a sketch showing the forces acting on the department using that vision. When I presented it in the pitch meeting, we were hired to a six figure contract right then and there.
 
Your book, tape recorder or sketch pad is the vault of your personal intellectual property. Stuff it with every profound, outrageous, nutty idea that seizes you, but make sure you do it as close to the moment as you can. Begin the conversation with yourself and watch what happens.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Peter Mehit is owner of Custom Business Planning and Solutions, a business strategy and planning firm that specializes in clarifying the options and way forward for businesses in many industries. You may reach him at 800-741-8444 or visit the company’s website at www.custombps.com.
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Member News


Do you have some exciting news you would like to share with the other members? Did you write a book, win an award, climb a mountain? Let us know! 

Contact Monica Harper at mharper@hqtrs.com.


 
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Industry Buzz in the Biz

North Mill Announces Record Quarterly Originations Exceeding $120 Million

JULY 6, 2021, NORWALK, CT – North Mill Equipment Finance LLC (“North Mill”), a leading independent commercial equipment lessor located in Norwalk, Connecticut, announced today that its originations for the second quarter of this year exceeded a record-breaking $120 million. A new record was also set for June as originations closed at just under $26 million, the best month in the company’s history.
 
Contributing to North Mill’s stellar quarter was the acquisition of a $50.3M portfolio of seasoned truck and trailer leases through an arrangement with North Mill’s long-time referral partner, Greg Minsky of Pelagic Capital Corporation. The portfolio was debt financed through a new facility with East West Bank. Traditionally funded quarterly volume through North Mill’s referral network exceeded $70 million, in and of itself, another record for the organization.
 
“Quarterly volume generated by the broker channel is up 118% from the same period last year. Compared to Q2 of 2020, the company witnessed its average FICO climb five points to 716 while the number of applications submitted increased by close to 33%, finishing at a record 5,015 transactions,” said David C. Lee, North Mill’s Chairman and CEO. “We have established ongoing relations with a solid base of dedicated, loyal referral agents that consider us a partner in every sense of the word. They’ve helped grow our business and bring the company to unprecedented heights.”
 
Lee said that the company’s weighted average yield dropped 50 basis points from the same period last year, a result of higher quality deals submitted by referral agents. In a move designed to help close even more business, North Mill revised its buy rate schedule the first of this month. Rates were lowered in some cases by as much as 150 basis points with the lowest buy rate, now just 6.25 percent. “North Mill will continue to develop other programs in support of the broker channel such as discounting arrangements with key referral sources, including providing capital to some of those brokerages,” explained Lee.
 
The company also streamlined and simplified its commission matrix, making it much easier for referral agents to determine eligible payouts. Earlier this year, North Mill doubled its maximum deal size from $300,000 to $600,000, opening a new market for larger-sized deals funded by the company. The new commission schedule includes a payout category for these transactions. 
 
“North Mill is achieving outstanding results across the business. Every department is firing on all cylinders,” said North Mill President, Mark Bonanno. “On the operations side of the business, collections for the month of June were at an all-time high while delinquencies and repossessions remained exceedingly low.” Bonanno also recognized the company’s information technology team. “Our IT department is working feverishly to digitally enhance the broker experience. They’re unveiling a robust broker portal that will help referral partners better manage deal flow, submit and structure transactions, and monitor key performance indicators,” he said. Given the growing number of brokers who opt to discount with North Mill, the team is also creating a self-service platform where brokers can analyze, price, and submit deals according to the company’s credit parameters. 
 
To better manage its extraordinary growth rate, North Mill opened two new regional offices in the second quarter.  An office in Irvine, CA was opened to better service referral agents on the west coast while an office in Vorhees, NJ, was established to leverage the company’s expanding workforce on the east coast. A third office in Dover, NH, was opened earlier this year. The company’s headquarters is in Norwalk, CT. 
 

Marshall to Lead Quality Leasing Co., Sales Team as New Sales Manager

--Bradon Marshall Promoted to Sales Manager of Quality Leasing’s Sales Team--
 
JULY 8, 2021 - CARMEL, IN - Quality Leasing Co., Inc. (QL), the commercial equipment financing subsidiary of the Tom Wood Group, announced the promotion of Senior Leasing Consultant, Bradon R. Marshall, to the position of Sales Manager. In his new role, Marshall is tasked with growing originations, expanding customer service, and managing the company’s 12-person sales team. He will also act as the primary liaison between Quality’s Sales and Admin teams in an effort to increase processing efficiencies; all while continuing to service his current TPO clients.  
 
The Indianapolis-area financing firm has experienced significant growth over the past few years and was most recently included on the Monitor’s 2020 Top Private Independents list. With a unique underwriting model, Quality’s sales reps work with TPOs to offer each client a personalized approach focused on meeting their commercial equipment needs. Managing Director, G. Paul Fogle, CLFP, explained, “In less than two years here, Bradon has contributed considerably to the company’s revenue generation and demonstrated the exceptional customer service skills that set Quality apart from the competition.” Fogle went on to add, “He is a natural leader. Bradon’s cooperative, solution-oriented approach to business make him the ideal choice for this position.” 
 
Marshall welcomed the added responsibility of his new Sales Manager title. He noted, “Quality is primed for big growth in the coming year, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to help everyone on the team succeed.”
 
Bradon R. Marshall started his career in the equipment leasing industry in 2015 after graduating from West Texas A&M University with a dual degree in Business and Education. During Marshall’s tenure in the industry, he was named Chief Operating Officer and later President of C.H. Brown Company. Bradon joined the Quality Leasing team in October of 2019 and led the group as top-producer in 2020. Marshall resides in Central Texas with his wife: Taylor, daughter: Tatum, and—the newest addition to the Marshall family—son: Banks.
 

CLFP Foundation Partners with TomorrowZone® to Shape the Future CLFP Candidate Experience

 
JULY 8, 2021 - SEATTLE, WA – Last month, the CLFP Foundation partnered with TomorrowZone, a cutting-edge consulting firm specializing in technology and innovation, to shape the Future CLFP Candidate Experience. The virtual experience was designed and led by TomorrowZone CEO & Founder Deborah Reuben, CLFP, a Foundation Board Member.  
 
The fast-paced, high-energy 90-minute session featured future customer experience mapping exercises and included CLFPs from twelve different companies representing a diverse cross-section of the CLFP membership achieving the following outcomes.  
 
49 new insights on issues and obstacles faced by CLFPs
33 fresh ideas captured for vision and possibilities
31 actionable ideas for the Foundation to implement 
 
The Foundation is actively working on implementing several ideas, including a more robust sample exam, reimagining the virtual Academy for Lease & Finance Professionals (“ALFP”) from a two- to a three-day event, and facilitating engaging networking opportunities for those attending ALFPs.
 
"It was a magical experience, so much more than I expected. The TomorrowZone team helped us think outside the box by creating a safe space where wild ideas are welcome. In our session, several people came up with things I never thought of, and I've been doing this for almost ten years," said Reid Raykovich, Executive Director of the CLFP Foundation. "Collaborating like this is better virtually. We tend to withhold our thoughts in person, but this environment enables more openness to explore rapidly. We could never have done this onsite with twelve different companies and diverse participants. A month later, I am still inspired and energized by the experience."
 
"At TomorrowZone, we use human-centered design and facilitate virtual experiences with inclusivity, thought diversity, and psychological safety at heart," said Deborah Reuben, CEO & Founder of TomorrowZone. "This enables you to challenge the status quo, discover ground-breaking possibilities, and generate actionable insights for shaping the future." 
 
Ascentium Capital LLC Reports 41% Second Quarter Growth Over Prior Year
 
JULY 27, 2021 - KINGWOOD, TX - Ascentium Capital LLC, a national commercial lender, announced strong growth during the second quarter of 2021. The company achieved 41% origination growth year-over-year during the quarter. The growth is reflective of the economic recovery being experienced nationwide following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
“The company’s continued growth highlights the dedication of Ascentium associates to providing financial solutions focused on our equipment vendors and business clients,” said Tom Depping, executive vice president, Ascentium Group Manager. 
 
Ascentium Capital offers specialized equipment financing and business loans to businesses nationwide. The company also provides customized finance programs for equipment manufacturers and distributers with simplified application procedures to help businesses in a broad array of industries including commercial vehicles, energy, franchise, healthcare, industrial, and technology.
 
“We have achieved 15% growth quarter-over-quarter in originations, influenced by our increased operational and sales efficiencies to enhance the delivery of ongoing value to our customers.” said David Lyder, senior vice president, Ascentium Sales and Marketing. “Our tenured national sales force is highly skilled in working with our customers to meet their financing business requirements to assist in growing their business.”
 

Maxim Commercial Capital Reports Strong Results for 2Q 2021

Hard asset-secured lender continues to fuel the economic recovery by funding SMBs  
 
JULY 21, 2021 - LOS ANGELES, CA – Maxim Commercial Capital (“Maxim”) continued to fuel the economic recovery during the second quarter of 2021 by fulfilling strong demand for its Cash Out Financing, Heavy Equipment Purchase Financing, Real Estate Secured Working Capital, and Truck Financing programs. Maxim funded deals in 32 states for borrowers ranging from start-up truck owner-operators with challenged credit to established technology companies with high net worth shareholders.
 
“Our portfolio performance together with borrowers’ appetite for financing is a good barometer for the economy’s trajectory,” said Michael Kianmahd, Executive Vice President. “Based on the first half of the year, we are looking forward to a strong second half. We anticipate continued recovery of the supply chains, which hopefully will result in normalization of equipment prices.”
 
Fundings submitted by finance brokers during the quarter included a $600,000, 60-month, cash out term loan for a growing SaaS company in Pennsylvania, secured by a first lien on business FF&E and the principal’s residence; $61,000 in purchase financing secured by a new 2022 Peterbilt 337 tow truck for an operator in New Hampshire with strong contracts; and, 90% purchase financing secured by a $30,200 2016 Ford F650 Rollback Tow Truck and 2011 Dodge 5500 Wrecker Tow Truck for a subprime California towing company.
 
Start-up truck owners, non-CDL fleet owners and experienced owner-operators successfully purchased the trucks they wanted with Maxim’s help. New borrowers funded during the second quarter included a first-time buyer with a recent medical collection who purchased a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia for $55,300; a first-time buyer with past slow pays who bought a 2016 Hino 268 Box Truck with 142,000 miles for $49,000; and a non-CDL fleet owner who bought a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia with 410,000 miles for $57,900.
 
“It’s our mission to help entrepreneurs succeed by providing the growth capital they need,” said Behzad Kianmahd, Chairman and CEO. “We are grateful for the thousands of finance brokers and equipment vendors across the nation who think of Maxim for their clients who don’t fit traditional lenders’ credit boxes.”
 

2021 Cindy Spurdle Award of Excellence Recipient, Kevin Prykull Announced During CLFP Day

 
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 - SEATTLE, WA - The Certified Lease and Finance Professional (CLFP) Foundation announced the 2021 Cindy Spurdle Award of Excellence on August 26th during a 15-minute celebratory “CLFP Day” virtual call with nearly 300 CLFPs and Associates in attendance. The award was presented to Kevin P. Prykull, CLFP.
 
The Cindy Spurdle Award was created in 2012 to acknowledge the CLFP who has contributed the most to the industry and best represents the CLFP ideals for the year. Nominees are submitted by the CLFP membership, and the final award candidate is voted upon by the entire CLFP Board of Directors.
 
Kevin has been a very active participant in the CLFP Foundation. He serves on the Foundation’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, including as President in 2020. Kevin chairs the Body of Knowledge and Recertification Committees. He is an ongoing Instructor in the ALFP Academies, has instructed every section within the ALFPs, and has taught more virtual sessions than any other instructor. Kevin has been instrumental in working with the Foundation this year to create a self-paced online ALFP -- which will debut shortly.
 
Kevin is a seasoned leasing credit and risk professional with over 43 years of experience in all major aspects of the industry working in bank, captives, and independent leasing companies. He is retired after 30 years having served as the Credit Underwriting Executive for PNC Equipment Finance, LLC. He remains active in the ELFA on the Credit and Collections Committee, the Research Committee and is Chair of the Credit Manager Survey Forum. He teaches for ELFA and is an Adjunct Professor in Finance at Duquesne University.
 
Kevin says: “I am deeply honored and humbled to be selected as the recipient of the Cindy Spurdle Award of Excellence. For 2021 it is nice to be able to join an esteemed fellowship of prior awardees that likewise embrace the values and ideals of Cindy Spurdle and the Foundation. I actually had the privilege of meeting Cindy Spurdle in Philadelphia for lunch when I sat for the then “CLP” certification. What a helpful and inspiring individual.  Supportive and guiding.”
 
“I encourage others to get involved with the Foundation as a volunteer. It is very rewarding and a great way to “give back” to the organization. It is easy. Start by joining one of the many working committees or ad hoc groups.  Thanks to Reid Raykovich, the Foundation and most importantly our membership for the opportunity to serve and to be recognized as this year’s recipient of the Cindy Spurdle Award of Excellence.”
 
The call also included a $1,000 cash gift to celebrate the Foundation passing 1,000 members and Cassie Blodgett of Stryker Flex was the winner. She stated, “Congratulations on another great CLFP day celebration! It was great to see so many CLFP’s joined together virtually to mark the amazing 1,000-member milestone.
 
The CLFP designation identifies an individual as a knowledgeable professional to employers, clients, customers, and peers in the equipment finance industry. There are currently 1,057 active Certified Lease & Finance Professionals and Associates in the United States, Canada, India, Africa, and Australia. For more information, visit http://www.CLFPFoundation.org.
 

Aramsco Sells 100% of the Stock of the Parent Company of Aztec Financial to North Mill Equipment Finance and Taycor Financial

 
SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 - NORWALK, CT – North Mill Equipment Finance, LLC (“North Mill”), a leading commercial equipment lessor located in Norwalk, Connecticut, and TF Group, Inc., (“Taycor Financial”), a preeminent, technology-driven finance provider in El Segundo, California, announced today the acquisition of 100% of the stock of the parent company of Aztec Financial, LLC (“Aztec”) from an affiliate of Aramsco, Inc. (“Aramsco”). Aztec is an equipment finance company offering specialty contractors access to competitively priced leases and loans, and Aramsco is the largest supplier of equipment, chemicals, and consumables to specialty contractors across the US and Canada. North Mill will assume the existing portfolio of Aztec’s leases and servicing capabilities while Taycor will assume the vendor relationships and origination capabilities from Aztec’s long standing, leading market position in the restoration, professional cleaning, and surface preparation industries. All existing employees of Aztec will either join North Mill or Taycor.  
 
“We are beyond excited to be part of Taycor and North Mill. The partnership will allow Aztec to offer a broader array of financing products to meet the needs of our valued vendor and customer relationships,” said John Sirrine, Founder and CEO, Aztec. “In addition, we are thrilled to now have available a world-class technology platform that will enhance our vendors’ ability to reach an increasingly mobile customer base. New products and enhanced technology will propel Aztec to the next level and continue to position us as a market leader in the industries that we serve.” 
 
“We welcome Aztec with open arms into the Taycor family,” said Michael Hong, CEO, Taycor. “Amazing things happen when great organizations join forces. The combination of Aztec and Taycor will supercharge access to capital for end-user customers and borrowers, enabling us to dramatically expand our exclusive financing partnership with Aramsco, distributors, and franchise partners alike. By uniting Aztec’s streamlined approach with Taycor’s expanded range of financial products and proprietary technology stack -- designed to enhance human interaction and transparency -- we will deliver a smoother, faster finance experience with a lot more approvals and transactions.”
 
“We are thrilled to bring onto the North Mill team a talented group of professionals with deep experience in servicing a large portfolio of small ticket leases in these specialized professional services industries,” said David C. Lee, Chairman and CEO, North Mill.  “In keeping with our strategy of being 100% referral partner centric, we are delighted to partner with Taycor to independently take Aztec to the next level of origination capabilities.”
 
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., a Stifel Company (NYSE: SF), acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Aztec Financial, LLC in connection with the transaction.
 

Meridian Finance Group Name EXIM 2021 Broker of the Year

SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) again recognized Meridian Finance Group, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, as EXIM’s 2021 Broker of the Year. Meridian also received EXIM’s Broker award in 2000, 2003, and 2013—making this broker the second four-time award winner. The award was presented today during EXIM’s 2021 Annual Conference being held virtually September 21-23.
 
“EXIM appreciates our extensive collaboration with Meridian Finance Group over our many productive years collaborating on behalf of America’s exporters and workers. We look forward to the future as we continue working to ensure the success of U.S. exports—especially from small businesses—to markets across the globe while providing support for American jobs at home,” said EXIM Broker Account Manager Ursula Wegrzynowicz, who presented the award.
 
“While most of Meridian's business is underwritten by insurance companies in the private sector, we broker EXIM Bank policies for hundreds of exporters who would not find the credit insurance they need anywhere else,” said Meridian President Gary Mendell. “We value our partnership with EXIM and are proud of the work we do together to support U.S. exports. Exporting represents a key component of our nation’s economic recovery, so we need to keep reaching out and help even more U.S. exporters begin taking advantage of EXIM programs.”
 
Meridian Finance Group specializes in trade credit insurance, with representatives in locations across the United States as well as—with its parent company Texel Finance—offices in London, Brussels, and Singapore. An EXIM-registered broker for many years, Meridian is one of EXIM’s 19 platinum-tier brokers and has been one of EXIM’s top three producers by authorization count and authorization amount.
 
In FY 2020, Meridian produced 235 authorizations—the second-highest number among all brokers. Of these authorizations, 93 percent for small businesses. Of new EXIM policies, Meridian produced the second-highest number and the fourth-highest authorization amount.
 
Meridian has been a strong supporter of EXIM’s ongoing efforts to improve and expand the agency’s products and services to customers, including serving on the 2020-2021 EXIM Chairman’s Council on China Competition and EXIM’s inaugural Broker Advisory Council.
 
Established in 1993, Meridian Finance Group was organized to help equipment manufacturers increase their export sales, primarily by arranging cross-border financing for their customers in emerging foreign markets. The firm’s activities soon expanded to include short-term trade credit, leading Meridian to enter the business of brokering trade credit insurance. 
 
Over the past 28 years Meridian has helped hundreds of companies nationwide to protect their receivables against nonpayment risks, expand their U.S. and international sales, and arrange financing using trade credit insurance. The Meridian team also still arranges cross-border financing.
 
Acquired by The Texel Group in 2017, Meridian works with every insurer in the credit insurance market worldwide. Beyond negotiating effective terms and conditions for policyholders, Meridian provides comprehensive support for every policy they sell, including in the event of claims.
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IN THIS ISSUE
AACFB President's Message
AACFB 30th Anniversary Celebration
2021 AACFB Annual Conference Highlights
2021 Meet the Funder Webinar Series
AACFB Welcomes New Members
AACFB Benefit Spotlight
Front and Center
The Pandemic & The New Normal
A Subtle but Deadly Killer of Sales
Successful Owner-Operators Learned to Roll with Change in 2020
Financing Businesses with a Rapid Change in Volume
How Did You End Up in Leasing/Commercial Finance?
SBA Loan Options Connect Small Businesses with Needed Capital to Rebound, Grow, and Thrive
Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls
Capture the Moment
Member News
Industry Buzz in the Biz
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