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Huntington Specialty Banking: Firmly Rooted for Continued Growth

Date: Oct 09, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

In this double interview, Equipment Finance Advisor catches up with Rick Remiker to find out more about his expanded role as the head of Huntington’s Specialty Banking division and industry veteran Mike DiCecco, who succeeds Remiker as the newly appointed president of Huntington Equipment Finance. Today, Remiker heads up a total of nine businesses ranging from university banking to food and agribusiness banking and brings the considerable skills developed in his years in the equipment finance industry to this new role. Firmly rooted in the Huntington organization, DiCecco has his eye on continuing the growth his group has experienced in recent years.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Rick, could you provide our readers with the details of your promotion and the product offerings and business lines you will be leading for Huntington Bank within Specialty Banking?

Rick Remiker:  In the middle of 2012, I picked up responsibility for different businesses in addition to equipment finance. Those included our healthcare banking area, our sponsor finance group, franchise finance and our university banking group. I think it’s worth explaining that at Huntington, the university banking group approaches colleges and universities with comprehensive programs that create sponsorships and connectivity with students. This program provides benefits to students, faculty and alumni and in many cases, focuses on community reinvestment in and around campuses.

Later in 2012, we launched additional  specialty banking businesses that includes;  food and agribusiness banking, energy banking and international banking and I recruited seasoned industry leaders to lead each of these initiatives. And just recently, I picked up responsibility for Huntington’s corporate banking business which focuses on companies with revenues in excess of $250 million. That’s nine businesses in total and it’s been fun.

Photo of Rick Remiker - EVP & Senior Managing Director - Huntington Specialty Banking

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Could you share a bit about the geographic reach of these businesses?

Remiker:  In general, each of these businesses will operate a bit differently, but our overall model is to incubate the new businesses within our six state retail footprint and then grow that business into markets where we have commercial banking. We have commercial banking activities in about 20 states and are tightly controlled through our risk management process.

Huntington Equipment Finance is one of our few national businesses and it operates a bit like a hybrid in that it is primarily focused in our footprint and our commercial banking markets, but we partner with other institutions beyond those geographies to diversify the overall portfolio.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  How will you integrate these businesses with one another? What efficiencies and/or opportunities will you be able to leverage through your leadership of Specialty Banking?

Remiker:  There are some natural synergies across many of these businesses. For instance, in the food and agribusiness, many times a customer will have equipment needs. The same holds true with international banking. Huntington serves many companies that are headquartered internationally that have operations in our Midwest footprint. Those clients have many needs … from foreign exchange to equipment financing to commodities hedging. We can meet those needs, so we are very focused on delivering the entire products and services suite that we have offer to all of our customers.

Our model is unique in that we layer our geographical delivery and our specialty banking expertise. It’s not uncommon for us to have a food and agribusiness client in Grand Rapids, Michigan jointly serviced by a relationship manager in Grand Rapids along with a food and agribusiness banker who might be in Chicago or Columbus. It’s delivering the combination of both local touch with specialty banking expertise that distinguishes Huntington.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Let’s talk about Huntington Equipment Finance under Mike DiCecco’s leadership. Could you share the qualities and abilities you identified in Mike that had him be the ideal choice to serve as your successor?

Remiker:  It’s interesting, I really didn’t know Mike prior to joining Huntington. It was an awakening for me to come here and realize that Huntington had amassed an exceptionally strong team of professionals in the equipment finance business. Mike is one of the ten or so people who founded the business 12 years ago.

In my first 90 days at Huntington, it became very apparent to me that I had a high quality partner in Mike. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings at Huntington, its people and practices and all the things that had happened in the business prior to my joining the group. When we coupled that with my broad industry knowledge, it made for an ideal partnership that really helped to accelerate the growth of the business. Mike and I have come to work hand-in-glove with one another over the past few years to reposition the business as Huntington recognized the importance of specialty banking expertise.

Mike has an exceptionally strong and unique blend of risk management skills … he’s risk trained and at the same time, Mike is a very strong sales leader and has very strong pipeline management skills as well as a knowledge of the syndicated market. He’s truly one of the best leaders that I’ve had the privilege of working with in my career.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Mike, could you give tell us about your experience in the equipment leasing and finance industry?

Mike DiCecco:  I’ve really only spent time in two organizations in my entire leasing career … first at Star Bank, which through a series of mergers and acquisitions, is now a part of U.S. Bank and here at Huntington. I’ve been here since 2001 and that was driven by a need of mine to be entrepreneurial and to center on delivering solutions to clients. Over the last 25 years, my career has encompassed different roles -- from credit, sales, sales management and product line management. I did spend  time between 2005 and 2008 running the bank’s commercial banking business in Cleveland, the second largest commercial banking group within the Huntington organization. That gave me a great deal of experience and a new set of tools to draw upon once I rejoined the equipment finance group in the middle of 2008.

Photo of Michael DiCecco - President - Huntington Equipment Finance

Equipment Finance Advisor:  In light of this promotion and your long tenure at the bank, you seem to have found your home at Huntington Equipment Finance. What are the things that keep you in the industry and at the Huntington organization?

DiCecco:  As I said, it’s the entrepreneurial spirit that keeps me in the industry. I’ve been a banker my entire career and what keeps me in equipment finance is that it has a commercial banking aspect but at the same time, the industry has allowed me to satisfy my need to innovate, to create and to try new markets.  In terms of the Huntington organization, this bank has a strong legacy of great client service. When I first joined Huntington, I found myself shocked time and time again when I met clients who had been with the bank for 60 years. Back in 2001, Huntington didn’t have a strong sales strategy or market penetration strategy and that was very appealing to me. I knew I could bring those skills to this organization. We built the business from scratch and in the way we always wanted it to be built. Of course, it is important to have a senior leadership team behind you and Huntington’s leadership has delivered that support in spades.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Certainly Huntington Equipment Finance has become a prominent player in a relatively short period of time and we suspect that much will continue on the same course going forward. Where do you see Huntington Equipment Finance headed under your leadership? In other words, in what way will you leave your distinctive mark on the business as its new leader?

DiCecco:  A few years ago, Rick and I launched a strategic growth plan and we’ve been executing on that plan with our exceptional team. Going forward, we’ll continue to execute on that plan by taking advantage of markets we haven’t tapped yet. The evolution of this business will continue to be about finding areas where Huntington Equipment Finance can add value to the client, to strive to de-commoditize what’s quickly becoming a commodity and to grow in a smart and efficient manner. We’ve been very disciplined about the way we’ve grown the business and the resources we’ve used to achieve that growth.

As for the mark that I’ll leave on the business, it will be evident in the strength of the portfolio that we’ve built and the quality of the team that’s in place when I leave. After all, it’s our colleagues that drive all of our results.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Could you share your view of the equipment finance market for the remainder of the year and into next year?

DiCecco:  I see the equipment finance market continuing to be competitive and that is why we are slowing the growth of our portfolio this year.  Overall, Huntington has a strategy of disciplined growth. Everybody’s in the game these days with new competitors entering every day. I think the differentiator in the market will be how you’re managing your business; how well you know your client base and the value you can deliver. Managing a very tight operation will also be important because margins are too thin to operate in an inefficient manner in today’s environment.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  What do each of you see as the opportunities available to both Huntington Specialty Banking and Huntington Equipment Finance as a result of your respective promotions?

Remiker:  I think it’s a good sign when equipment leasing and finance executives move on to expanded roles. I’m certainly not the first, nor will I be the last but I think it’s indicative of the training, discipline and experience that we receive in this industry. It’s good grounding to do bigger and broader things.

DiCecco:  I’m very excited about the opportunity to head Huntington Equipment Finance and I think we’ll continue to be a leader and heavily involved in the helping shape the future of our industry.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Rick, is there anything you would like to say with regard to your tenure as chairman of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA)?

Remiker:  It’s been a tremendous year for the ELFA. Membership is up, attendance at our conferences and conventions is up and contributions to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation have increased. There are many good things happening. As for the industry, the ELFA’s industry data shows metrics that are surpassing levels we saw in the best of times … in 2005 and 2006. But many of us wouldn’t say that because of the storm clouds on the horizon such as lease accounting and tax reform issues, the low interest rate environment, the high level of liquidity on corporate balance sheets and a significantly changed regulatory environment. We have some challenges ahead and this year’s convention theme is Adapt—Innovate – Win and that’s indicative of our industry. Our association and members have done a great job of adopting those concepts over the past five decades and I’m confident we will continue to adapt, innovate and win going forward.

As I conclude my year as the Association’s chairman, I have the opportunity to pass the gavel to Adam Warner. Adam and I have worked closely together a number of years and I can assure everyone that he will be an outstanding chairman. He’s very invested in the health and future of our industry.

Executive Editor | Equipment Finance Advisor
Stuart Papavassiliou is the Executive Editor of Equipment Finance Advisor and ABL Advisor.

Contact Stuart Papavassiliou at 484.380.2964 or

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