FREE SUBSCRIPTION Includes: The Advisor Daily eBlast + Exclusive Content + Professional Network Membership: JOIN NOW LOGIN
Skip Navigation LinksHome / Articles / Read Article


CLFP Foundation Reaches 1,000 CLFPs

Date: May 07, 2021 @ 05:00 AM

The Certified Lease & Finance Professional (CLFP) Foundation hit a major milestone, awarding its 1,000th CLFP designation. Not only has the organization grown roughly five-fold in CLFPs since 2014, its stature and impact in the industry has grown as well. The foundation identifed the 1,000th CLFP as Jay Christiansen, Financial Analyst at U.S. Bank. Equipment Finance Advisor talked with Reid Raykovich, CLFP, who has been the Executive Director of the CLFP Foundation since April 2012, to examine its growth and look ahead.

Equipment Finance Advisor: The foundation is awarding its 1,000 CLFP. Can you describe the excitement around it for you and for the organization?

Reid Raykovich: We started preparing for this in 2020, and had the pandemic not happened, it would have occurred last year. In 2014, David Normandin, who heads Wintrust Specialty Finance, was President of our board. We had our annual in-person board meeting, and he said, “You know, in 2020, we’re going to hit 1,000 CLFPs.” I remember just looking at him and thinking, “You’re insane” – because at that time I think we had 201 CLFPs. And we hadn’t even added the “F” – Finance – into our name. So, I thought, he was insane; it turns out, he wasn’t. Was he Nostradamus? I don’t know, because two years later, we doubled the number of CLFPs.

Equipment Finance Advisor:What drove that growth?

Equipment Finance with Reid Raykovich, CLFP - Executive Director - Certified Lease & Finance Professional Foundation

Raykovich: The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s endorsement in 2016 was a huge boost for us. ELFA brought in larger institutions. A third of our makeup now is banks, large banks such as Key Equipment Finance, U.S. Bank. Prior to ELFA’s endorsement, we didn’t have any of those. And we also didn’t have much in terms of captives, and now we’ve got Canon and we’ve got Stryker. The endorsement changed our demographic, and it got the buy-in of the larger institutions.

Equipment Finance Advisor: In addition to the growth in CLFPs, there has been surge in recognition in the industry that the certification is important to have. CLFPs want the title attached to their name.

Raykovich: Yes, and I love that. I always encourage people to use it and wear the letters with pride. I want people to wear it with pride; I certainly do.

Equipment Finance Advisor: How is the organization celebrating this milestone?

Raykovich: We have what was CLFP Day and that turned into CLFP Week/Month. It’s in August. That’s probably when we’re going to do something to recognize everyone. Being still in the pandemic, we’re not going to be doing much, but I can tell you that there was a fiesta at my house on Cinco de Mayo. That’s the day we hit 1,000. I think the most important thing is recognizing that the people who got us there, and, of course, we’ll be celebrating the 1,000th CLFP, whoever that’s going to be. That’s quite an honor, but we wouldn’t be there without the 999 others. I really want to make sure that we make all of our CLFPs and Associates feel that we’re grateful for them. The hashtag we’re going with is #CLFPgainsacomma. Now we’re going to have to put a comma in everything that we do when we talk about our numbers.

Equipment Finance Advisor: How will the 1,000th be determined?

Raykovich: It’s going to be whoever’s test I grade that’s No 1,000. It’s fun. On our website I added a number counter. It’s going to be interesting who that 1,000th person is; I hope they’re ready for some recognition because we will be recognizing them and having their picture everywhere. There’s a lot of excitement. The marketing committee has been working on this for a year. What we all came back with, is it’s great to celebrate whomever the 1,000th is, but also important is recognizing everyone who got us there. I’m really excited to get a quote from Russ Runnalls. He was one of the original CLFPs, and he’s now an Emeritus CLFP, as he’s retired. He got his CLFP – then CLP – in 1985 and he’s still active in the foundation. That’s exciting to see. I really want to get his perspective of what he thought it would be back when he took the test.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Beyond the impact of ELFA’s endorsement, what else has fueled the growth?

Raykovich: I’m passionate about our board. We talk about the fact that there were five figures in the bank when I took over the foundation. We didn’t even know if the foundation would continue. And I think the success of the foundation, the growth, is all attributed to people being passionate about the designation. And I look to my board of directors; it’s a very active board. This is not one where you just put it on your resume and you rest on your laurels. These people are working hard and we have a very strong committee structure.

My favorite thing to say is: The best marketers for us, for CLFPs and for the foundation are people who already have CLFPs. As you said, people want to make sure that they have CLFP after their name. I think what drove the growth is passion: passion from me, passion from the board and passion about the designation by CLFPs out there. We didn’t spend a lot of money on marketing. It was a grassroots effort. And it was the population that told everyone else, “You better get your designation.” You look at First American Equipment Finance; it has 146 CLFPs. That’s incredible.

Equipment Finance Advisor: What’s next once you hit 1,000? Obviously 1,001, but beyond that.

Raykovich: Anyone who knows me knows I can’t stop working and thinking. I think the biggest things that we’re doing right now are two huge projects. One is global expansion. We will have the CLFP designation in Australia, their own version of it, and that’s going to be completed this year. We were hoping for 2020, but COVID-19 happened. And then Canada will also have its version of the designation this year or in 2022. We’re definitely going more global. We have CLFPs in Australia, Canada, India, Ivory Coast and then we’ve got someone who’s taking the test in Bahrain. Those are people who are actually, “American CLFPs.” But I think the global effort is just having it recognized across the world.

One of the best ways of becoming a CLFP is going through our academies. It’s two days of intense training, and then the third day you take the test. Once we found out with the pandemic we couldn’t do that in person, it was like, “Oh gosh, what do we do?” We figured out almost a better way of doing it, which is we do it on Webex. Now we have instructors who are passionate about their subject, and it shows through, which is very hard to do when you’re talking to a computer screen. Odessa approached us so we are developing a self-paced ALFP. It’ll have all of the same content of what we do during our virtual or in-person events, but people can do it in their own home and at their own pace. We really want to get that done ASAP because I think there’s definitely a market for that. That’s also a big project for us.

Equipment Finance Advisor: And when do you think that will be?

Raykovich: It’s definitely this year. If it’s not, you’ll find me huddled in the corner somewhere.

Mike Dickinson
Editor | Equipment Finance Advisor
Mike Dickinson is Editor of Equipment Finance Advisor. Dickinson has more than 30 years of experience as an Editor and Reporter. He spent 20-plus years at the Rochester Business Journal in Rochester, NY, including 18 years as Managing Editor. He also covered Eastman Kodak, technology, optics and telecommunications, among other areas. His writing and reporting on Eastman Kodak won 1st Place – 2012 National Newspaper Association Best Business Story and the Gold Award – 2012 Alliance of Area Business Publishers for Breaking-news coverage. He also won the Silver Award – 2001 Alliance of Area Business Publishers Best Coverage of Local Breaking News – Global Crossing. Prior to working in the business news arena, Dickinson was a reporter for the daily newspapers in Syracuse, NY, and Batavia, NY. Dickinson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications/Journalism from St. Bonaventure University.
Comments From Our Members

William Verhelle • View APN Profile
Years of passion, hard-work and effective execution are paying off. You’ve made a huge impact on this industry and this profession. Congratulations Reid! … very happy to see your success. - Bill
5.11.2021 @ 11:36 PM

Reid Raykovich • View APN Profile
Thanks so much Bill! Your support over the years is greatly appreciated!
5.13.2021 @ 9:57 AM
You must be an Equipment Finance Advisor member to post comments. Login or Join Now.