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EverBank Commercial Finance: Unified and Synchronized Under New Leadership

Date: Jan 07, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

In February 2010, EverBank Financial Corporation acquired Tygris Commercial Finance Group, expanding the bank’s product offerings to include equipment financing solutions nationwide under the leadership of Jim McGrane.
McGrane’s success building EverBank’s equipment finance unit over the past three years recently resulted in the expansion of his role to now include leadership responsibility for all of EverBank’s commercial finance businesses encompassing Equipment Finance, Lender Finance, Commercial Real Estate and Business Banking. In this double interview, Equipment Finance Advisor catches up with Jim to learn about his expanded role within EverBank and his vision for the Commercial Division. Jeff Hilzinger, who succeeds McGrane as the president of EverBank Equipment Finance and EverBank Lender Finance also joins us and provides his views on the future of these two prominent commercial finance divisions.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Jim, you were recently elevated to the role of Executive Vice President, EverBank Commercial Division, expanding your leadership role significantly within the bank – beyond leading the equipment finance business. Please provide our readers some insights into the bank’s efforts to unify the commercial side of the business and outline the business lines you will be leading for EverBank?

Photo of Jim McGrane - Executive Vice President - EverBank Commercial Division

Jim McGrane: You know, an equity analyst who covers us recently wrote; “if you were to start a bank today, built for tomorrow, it would look like EverBank.”  Since the acquisition of Tygris, the bank has been consciously diversifying the business into a broader banking, lending and investing franchise. More particularly, over the past twelve to eighteen months, one of the more prominent areas of growth has been in commercial finance which has grown  organically as well as through the acquisition of businesses possessing leadership positions within their specific areas of specialization.

Last summer we announced the integration of our commercial businesses into a single commercial platform which includes Equipment Finance, Lender Finance, Commercial Real Estate which focuses on single and multi-tenant real estate transactions, and Business Banking – where the non-credit products and services reside.

So we’ve been working hard through the course of 2013 to prepare ourselves to launch what we believe to be a fairly significant transformation of our commercial businesses both in the way we go to market and the way we serve our clients.

I’ve been asked to take this leadership role to bring all these businesses together, direct the entire commercial franchise, and build new strategic product and business line capabilities. Our intention is to continue to broaden and grow the commercial platform via an organic growth path along with select M&A activity to fill  strategic gaps we have identified.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Over the past year we’ve noted a few announcements where equipment finance professionals have moved into senior positions within banks. Do you feel banks are recognizing the talent resident within the equipment finance field more today than in the past? 

McGrane: First let me say that I am flattered and honored for being asked to take this role. Equipment finance is an area of commercial finance that touches many areas of commercial lending – including C&I lending, structured finance, franchise finance and so on. My experience in the equipment finance industry has provided me a solid background as I have touched many of these lending areas throughout my career. I also believe diversity of background is helpful. I started a few new companies through the course of my career, worked with large and small firms, and started two consulting practices focused on strategy and organizational effectiveness – not focused solely in commercial finance. So in my case I believe it was my diversity of background and an overall good fit within the institution that resulted in this opportunity.

Equipment Finance Advisor: What efficiencies and/or opportunities do you envision leveraging through your leadership from the banking side?

McGrane: The only way we can succeed in executing our strategy is by having these businesses operate in harmony, ensuring they are synchronized and leveraging the best practices from each. Bringing all the commercial businesses together as opposed to having them run as silos will expose us to a great deal of untapped potential within the markets we serve. So the integration of the commercial businesses isn’t about just linking them together, sticking them under one roof and changing their names – it’s really far from it. The imperative behind this strategy is to fundamentally change the way we serve the commercial market. We are moving away from our traditional approach which was primarily focused on product delivery versus looking to establish long-term, multi-faceted relationships that are sustainable over time. We’ve always been tightly aligned with our channel partners, but we’ve been more transaction oriented. As opposed to our focus today, which is to foster an environment where we can deliver a rich set of capabilities and products  while fully leveraging our investment in the client – and the client is fully leveraging their investment in us. So, it’s about developing longer term sustainable relationships on multiple levels, which is different than how we have been executing up to this point.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Jeff, you are now the president of EverBank Equipment Finance & EverBank Lender Finance. Please tell us a bit about your experience in the commercial finance industry and your new role within EverBank Commercial Finance.

Jeff Hilzinger: I spent about 20 years of my career with Heller Financial starting in Heller’s asset-based lending business which ultimately evolved into a large leveraged lending business. Photo of Jeff Hilzinger - President - EverBank Equipment Finance & EverBank Lender FinanceFrom there I moved into a structured finance role working with other business units helping them utilize securitization to either originate more business or finance their portfolios more efficiently. After roughly fifteen years in this role, I moved into the equipment finance side of the business and that is where I met Jim. The last few years with Heller I was based in London running a non-U.S. operation for the vendor finance business working for Jim.
Upon returning to the states I had the good fortune to work with Jim and Rich Gumbrecht, Everbank’s Chief Growth Officer, as a co-founder of U.S. Express Leasing which we launched in 2004. I was also the Chief Operating Officer of Tygris Vendor Finance until we were acquired by EverBank in 2010 when I became Chief Operating Officer of this business. In 2011 we created the Lender Finance Business and I led the development of that business which has been reporting to me since its inception. With the consolidation now of all the commercial businesses under Jim, I will be leading the equipment and lender finance businesses.

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