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A blog serving the Equipment Leasing & Equipment Financing Industry while also analyzing related Business Loan / Commercial Lending Products & Practices
Meet Doug below ~
While there are many organizations that fill various needs in the financial services industry, there are some great lenders with compelling business propositions. This list is not exhaustive, but it may be helpful to you. Each of the following companies possesses some individual strengths & weaknesses, as none can be all things to all people ~
Wells Fargo Equipment Financing: HQ – Minneapolis, MN
This is a very diverse organization and has been a very stable and steady lender in this market segment over the years (even in light of some negative press in 2016). They offer competitive rates and terms so long as the applicant fits in their unusually wide box. There is a reason that Warren Buffett likes Wells Fargo in our mind. They are great at underwriting better credits and new / newer equipment. Visit them at: https://www.wellsfargo.com/com/financing/equipment-financing/
SLS Financial Services: HQ – Kansas City, MO / (816) 423-8021
SLS is one of the good guys in the industry ~ (per an industry peer: www.smarterfinanceusa.com/blog/best-equipment-leasing-companies). SLS works with borrowers, vendors, and brokers & while much smaller than Wells Fargo and others, they bring a lot to the table. In short, SLS offers risk-based rates & will also underwrite more challenging business lending opportunites when the need arises, based on an easy to understand & classic approach to lending. They are a refreshing mix of bank-like and non-bank products. Transaction size is above $20,000 for A, B, & C credits. Start-up / new in business funding is available here as well. Visit SLS at: www.slsfinancial.com
~While our inclusion in this list may be biased (the author is the President of this blog post), we think that we bring a great blend of products, rates, and entrepreneurial spirit to the market.~
Captive Financing: Almost without exception, when you find an equipment manufacturer that offers financing under their brand, you have found the very best option. John Deere Financial, Cat Financial, Dell, and others most often, for very important business reasons, provide the best in rates, terms, and structures. These manufacturing partners help sales in a very big way. Similar to Ford Motor Company and GMAC ~ they provide low rates and creativity in structures. They are unusually proactive in tougher economic climates as well. Look to these captives when the opportunity arises.
Your Local Bank: Banks like Missouri Bank & Trust (in Kansas City – www.mobank.com) are often a tremendous resource for financing equipment. While many in the equipment leasing and financing industry will actively sell against them in a general way … don’t count them out if you have a good relationship with them. Banks are lenders and their business is to fund loans of all types. As regulated businesses, they have some constraints that challenge them ~ yet they have the financial horsepower, in most cases, to provide for their clients’ commercial lending needs. Superior rates are a compelling reason to call them first.
Financial Pacific Leasing Services: HQ – Federal Way, WA
This is a premier, under $150,000 ticket size, equipment leasing and equipment financing company. They have a unique and proprietary scoring system that is based on their long experience. Founded in 1975, they are focused on service to the broker market, and also do some direct business. They are owned by a bank and, simply put ~ do many, many things correctly. Visit FinPac at: http://www.finpac.com/
In all events, commercial lending standouts of all varieties should bare the following in mind ~ Relationships Matter Most!
Remember when people made a difference in financing?
Today, credit scoring systems can make credit decisions almost instantly. There are search algorithms in place to make one Google search appear sooner than a competitor’s. Advertisers know what websites people visit, so when they are smiling at the grandkids on Facebook, and equipment company ad pops up. And to think… twenty years ago the phone in my house had a cord.
Advances in technology are undoubtedly positive as they quickly inform decision making. The business lending world powering commercial loans and commercial equipment financing has continually pushed the limits to make applications easier and flow faster than ever before. While convenient, business is still about people. More than ever, business owners seek a commercial lending partner to learn about their unique needs and to be solution-providers.
Speed and technology are important, but do they come at the expense of leaving people, their story, and opportunities behind?
In addressing complicated transactions, why do some leave months or years of relationship building to an impersonal, automated “quick finance application” process? In this critical step, why do the people behind the numbers become less important? In an overly “credit-scored” world with a sea of information surrounding finance alternatives, there is a significant opportunity to have an underwriter who evaluates more than an application.
Technology in the finance business is clearly valuable and we employ it as help too, but we wonder how many business owners are left behind because numbers in the scoring model are the only decision criteria. All great lenders should have the ability to look beyond scores and employ a commonsense approach to lending. We think that the above list represents that concept and feel sure that there are hundreds of others as well.
Over 35 years ago, I graduated from college as a young accountant… wide-eyed, excited, and ready to chart my course. I was blessed to be hired by a great organization (during a very tenuous economic period in the early 80’s) ~ Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (roughly 2B in annual sales) as their Subsidiary Accounting Manager. Part of my job was to ‘account’ for their equipment leasing and real estate leasing subsidiaries, and I reported to the CFO of this superbly run organization. It was an incredible training ground for fundamentals, systems, and organization. Little did I know then that a few years later I would launch Security Leasing Services, Inc. ~ an equipment leasing and financing corporation. It has been a professional love affair that has spanned these decades ~ a job that allowed me to help others from Main Street to Wall Street companies. When SLS set sail in March of 1986, I didn’t know what I didn’t know ~ including that people in sales sometimes did not operate with the highest level of integrity ~ yet, we all learn lessons don’t we? From that ‘realization’ it has been our resolve that success (win or lose a sale) is based on the simple premise that people will respect honesty (it is always the right behavior) and it is our duty to walk with integrity. To that end, I have tried to tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. It has worked very well for us over the years.
In March of 1986 ~ from an attic office in our 1200 square foot house, with one baby (Jennifer) in our home and another (Stephanie) soon to follow, we set sail and it has been more fun than I could have imagined. Our family has increased over the years with Jay & Jacob (our sons-in-law) and two magnificent grandbabies! Along the way, we have been nominated and received various awards and accolades, and I have served on committees and on the Board of Directors of a downtown bank. This is all important, yet, beyond my family, I am proudest of our sterling reputation and the long, long relationships that we have fostered with our customers from coast-to-coast, and with our many other business partners. These relationships span across decades in many, many cases, and is a commentary on how we run our enterprise. To that end ~ no matter the industry ~ great businesses are built one relation at a time, and all enduring relationships require trust. Our advice ~ don’t break that if you want to be successful.