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Gibraltar Equipment Finance – Built on a Solid Foundation and Ready to Roll

Date: Apr 20, 2023 @ 05:00 AM

In mid-March 2023, Gibraltar Business Capital (GBC), a specialty finance company delivering working capital in the form of asset-based loans, announced the launch of Gibraltar Equipment Finance (GEF). Leading this new group as President is industry veteran, Jeff Pfeffer. Pfeffer brings more than 35 years of innovative credit, lending and equipment financing experience, having co-founded, built, and sold successful middle market equipment finance businesses including American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago Equipment Leasing and CapX Partners.

To launch this platform, Pfeffer will partner with GEF and GBC CEO Scott Winicour, and leverage GBC’s platform to amplify the value the firm offers in the market nationwide. Equipment Finance Advisor's publisher, Michael Toglia, met with Pfeffer and Winicour to learn more about this newest entrant to the equipment finance industry.

Michael Toglia: Please tell us why Gibraltar Business Capital launched this new equipment finance business, Gibraltar Equipment Finance (GEF), and how this new business will complement Gibraltar Business Capital’s existing asset-based lending business.

ABL Advisor article with Scott Winicour - Chief Executive Officer - Gibraltar Equipment Finance

Scott Winicour: You know my personal history Mike, starting in factoring, later buying my father out and then moving into asset-based lending (ABL). I've always believed that to grow this business and this platform, we need to constantly be evolving and changing with the market. After divesting from factoring, getting into ABL, and getting deeper into revolving lines of credit, I knew that expanding into equipment lending and real estate lending, would be part of our long-term growth strategy. For quite some time, we have been seeking to either buy a platform or start one in the equipment finance space because it's very complementary and synergistic to what we're doing at Gibraltar Business Capital on the ABL side.

Jeff and I have a long history together. We've known each other for over 20 years. We did some business together in prior lives and we spend a lot of time together socially. When I saw Jeff was sitting on the sidelines after his tenure with Accord, I saw this as a great opportunity and immediately reached out to him. We are very happy and excited to be partnering with Jeff in this venture.

ABL Advisor article with Jeff Pfeffer - President - Gibraltar Equipment Finance

Jeff Pfeffer: As you know Mike, Gibraltar has a wonderful brand in the marketplace. Scott has already talked about our longstanding personal and professional relationship. Additionally, with the backing of  Hercules Capital, Gibraltar is well positioned to take advantage of new market opportunities. That combination of factors is very powerful.

When I created what became known as CapX Partners, I focused on the private equity space, bringing growth capital and equipment finance solutions to business owners that were buying, scaling, and exiting. Along that expansion path, we wanted to be a true difference maker with growth capital whenever it was related to equipment assets.

I saw this as a great opportunity to do something similar, working together with Scott. As we talked in more detail, we really saw the market opening for a new, non-bank, creative equipment lending platform. I am very excited to be making this vision a reality.

Toglia: Gibraltar Business Capital provides financing solutions to lower mid-market businesses. Will this segment of the market be the same focus for GEF? Will GEF provide equipment financing to sponsor-backed companies?

Pfeffer: We plan to complement GBC’s business and will be focusing on the lower-middle market to middle market. We want operating companies, referral sources, or ownership groups to think of us as a one-stop shop. But certainly, both sides can provide solutions and service accounts on their own.

Private equity firms will be a strong target customer segment for us. I have a lot of history working with private equity firms dating back to the late nineties. In our experience, they have a similar approach to purchasing, growing and managing businesses as our team and we like to partner with these firms to support their investment objectives at each stage.

We are also focused on family-owned and closely held businesses. And there may be times when a non-investment grade public company comes to market and needs our financing to support new equipment acquisitions.

Winicour: I’ll add that this is very complementary to the GBC side of the house where about 65 to 70 percent of our portfolio is backed by a financial sponsor.

Toglia: GEF will focus on growth and special situations. Please expand on this focus and why special situations is a part of this focus.

Pfeffer: It is a shallower end of the pool, and we are going to be selective. Let me roll it back to early 2020. I distinctly remember being at the TMA conference in Las Vegas in February of 2020 and having all the experts in ABL on various panels talking about credit migration. Trillions of dollars of senior loans were expected to move out of banks and into specialized, non-bank lenders that shadow the lending market as the market was projected to experience distress.

We all know what happened 30 days later with COVID and lockdowns and all those trillions of dollars of federal funds that were spread all over the marketplace and cured a lot of companies that were sick, had some issues, and probably needed to move to non-bank lenders, especially on the ABL side for companies like GBC.

We believe special situations are finally back again and in the last few weeks the bank market has been sounding bells. In selective situations and for companies with tangible collateral, we believe we can provide solutions to support a reset in their financing terms and conditions, providing additional liquidity to pay down their lines of credit and creating the necessary availability to enable these companies to invest in inventory or create more cash to remain at a level pace or return to growth. Talking it over with Scott and GEF stakeholders, we are like-minded in that there will be opportunities to help companies in a zone where we're adding value, but at the same time are safeguarded by collateral. Most of the time we want to work with companies seeking growth, so we want to work with companies that are experiencing revenue and cash flow growth. Attractive situations for us include new assets needed for expansion, modernization, profitability, process improvement or automation, or where there are assets in place to support availability gains. These are not always special situations, but rather companies that are constrained in some way.

Toglia: The current economic environment has been described as fiercely competitive. How will GEF differentiate itself in the market from its competitors?

Pfeffer: I've been in the private credit and independent lessor space for over 20 years, and I agree with you, it is fiercely competitive. There are a lot of smart people who have left their institutional lessor business, to create independents over the last 10 plus years. Let's just assume that everyone is going to be competitive on price. If you put that aside, we believe that bringing senior management and decision making to the front line and interacting with prospects and customers will provide a significant value add. Additionally, Gibraltar will be dedicated to efficient credit processes and decision making. We are not going to waste our prospects’ and/or clients' time with long, drawn out reviews to finally get to a Maybe or a No.

We're going to efficiently let prospects know whether we are interested in the transaction, quickly mobilize to diligence, and confidently deliver at close. I think our relationship with Hercules is very important as we have an over $3 billion parent company with a rock-solid balance sheet that is committed to our success. We are not at the whim of the capital markets when it comes to securitization vehicles or serial fund-raising capital sources.

We are also going to have product differentiation. We are not going to be inventing any new products in the equipment finance space that don’t exist, but we do plan to offer creative structuring, monitoring, and funding solutions for clients that are more client-focused than those offered by an institutional funding source or a bank-owned leasing company.

Winicour: I'll try and add on to what Jeff said as he is being shy. While borrowers need speed, creativity, certainty of close, liquidity – all the things Jeff mentioned, there's no doubt that borrowers want to do business with people they trust. Jeff Pfeffer is known in the industry as someone you can trust.

You heard Jeff talk about the fact that we have senior management on the front lines. With us, clients will never get a long maybe or even worse, a long No. Rather, they will always get full transparency from us. We are going to stand behind what we say, and we are going to deliver on proposed terms.  A big reason I wanted to partner with Jeff on this is because of his reputation.

Toglia: What are your plans for growing this new business? For example, will you be adding business development, credit underwriting, asset management and operations teams?

Pfeffer: The way Scott and I have designed the GEF launch is to be as nimble as possible. GBC has terrific capabilities in their back room. They have strong operations and a strong financial leader. Jeff Stanek, our Chief Credit Officer, brings close to 30 years of experience to the table in asset-based lending and equipment finance. We do not need to hire a lot of operations, administrative and credit professionals to get going in the market. We will make a splash by growing our portfolio with a healthy and robust P&L. Then we can talk about what kind of infrastructure or internal people we want to develop.

There are capable third-party service providers that we are going to utilize on the asset management side and for our lease accounting/tax requirements. My focus right now is on the front end of the store. I'm looking to take care of clients and referral sources and help with relationship management. I will also be working with Scott to build and support our business development team over the next 12 months. We see ourselves bringing on one, if not two talented people to give us some strong national coverage across the U.S. We are also happy to take opportunities in Canada – which is a small market for us.

Toglia: Scott and Jeff, is there anything I left out you would like to add as we wrap this up?

Winicour: I'll summarize it from my standpoint, and it's one word: Reputation. Jeff has a wonderful reputation in the business. He's very trustworthy, very personable, very charismatic, a straight shooter, transparent and authentic. These are all the qualities I look for in a partner. I've been looking to find an equipment platform or partner with someone for a while now, and I knew Jeff was the right choice instantly.
Pfeffer: I've been very fortunate in my career. I've had great training and opportunities to move up in a corporate environment. As an entrepreneur, I'm fortunate to have worked with great partners. I'm very proud of the CapX alumni network and the personal journey I started in January of 2022. It was very good to clear my mind, and Scott was one of the earliest people to reach out as I started to consider the next phase of my journey. Scott talks about trust, respect, and reputation. Scott and Gibraltar have those qualities. And the more I have gotten to know his team, the more I can see how happy his team is to be working at Gibraltar. It's a reflection of the culture Scott has created and continues to work on. As a managing partner of a firm for 18 years, I know how hard that job is, to continue to create a positive culture to support your team. Believe me, CEO can be one of the loneliest jobs in the world at times. So, hats off to Scott for being able to keep a strong, positive outlook and keep people rowing the Gibraltar boat forward together. 

Founder / Publisher | Equipment Finance Advisor
Michael Toglia's experience in commercial finance spans over 30 years having held various roles in senior management, business origination, capital markets and commercial credit underwriting. Prior to entering the publishing industry, Toglia served as Vice President of Capital Markets and as the National Sales Manager for both the Equipment Finance and Asset-Based Lending Divisions of Textron Financial Corporation. He also held various roles with General Electric Capital and CIT Group.

Toglia currently serves on the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association's Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee and the ELFA's Communications Committee. Toglia has also served as Marketing Chair, for the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Philadelphia/Wilmington Chapter.

From 2018 - 2020, Toglia served as the Executive Director/CEO of the National Equipment Finance Association.

Toglia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and an M.B.A. in Finance.

Contact Michael Toglia at 484.380.3184 or

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