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MB Equipment Finance -- A Measured Approach to Accelerated Growth

Date: May 12, 2016 @ 07:00 AM

Equipment Finance Advisor spends time with David Drury, president of MB Equipment Finance, to learn more about the company’s rapid growth as evidenced by the recent hiring of nine senior equipment finance professionals. In the following interview, Drury speaks to the group's recent success and also shares his vision for future expansion.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Please share the impetus for MB Equipment Finance’s recent additions to staff?

David Drury: MB Equipment Finance has been seeking to grow its national presence for quite some time; however, finding the “right” originators for our organization has taken patience and a measured approach. We made greats strides in our direct origination activity in 2015, with 140% year-over-year growth. Additionally, we shifted our business from a largely indirect origination model to a direct focus, with direct originations representing only 30% of our origination activity in 2014 and growing to over 75% in 2015. With the dislocation created by the sale of GE Capital business units, MB Equipment Finance had an opportunity to hire several proven, high-performing originators in attractive markets where we previously had minimal presence. The most attractive aspect of this team is that their collective skillset match perfectly with the profile of originators we seek: talented professionals who have grown-up in a prospecting culture where price and referrals were not the driving force for opportunity development; rather, it is good old-fashioned relationship building -- calls, face-to-face meetings and consultative selling driving opportunity development.

While the MB brand is growing nationally, not all middle-market businesses are fully aware of MB and its capabilities. The recent hires bring personal brand recognition and a great contact network in their markets, which is exactly what we need to help our growth in new regions. Additionally, this team of originators possesses strong leasing and lifecycle asset management expertise, which in my opinion, is becoming something of a lost art within bank leasing companies. I intend to leverage this team’s expertise in this area as we start thinking about developing the next generation of leasing professionals. I would also add that these additions to our origination team have created significant momentum for our business and really helped us attract two seasoned credit professionals and one senior documentation leader to support our growth. My phone, e-mail and LinkedIn connection activity has been robust with other industry professionals expressing an interest in joining our team.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  We notice that by and large, these appointments are within the MB Financial footprint. Are you seeing opportunities to expand beyond the bank’s footprint as well?

Photo of David Drury - President - MB Equipment Finance

Drury:  While our recent new hires in Indiana, Michigan, Kansas and Minnesota are in states with close proximity to MB Financial Bank’s primary footprint in Chicago, IL, this was largely coincidental. The decision to open in these markets was based on the opportunity to hire strong talent in the nation’s manufacturing and industrial core. In addition to MB Equipment Finance, MB has several other national businesses, including MB Business Capital, MB Lease Banking, Celtic Commercial Finance, LaSalle Solutions and MB’s Mortgage division, which have offices throughout the U.S. and are helping to build a national footprint. The other new MB Equipment Finance offices in Georgia and North Carolina further complement our existing presence in Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas. We continue to seek and entertain opportunities to expand in the Northeast and West, and may decide to do so at some point in the future.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Speaking of MB Business Capital, are you leveraging their deep relationships within the private equity community to source deals at MB Equipment Finance?

Drury:  Effective cross-selling is a strategic initiative for the bank. To that effort, the MB Equipment Finance and MB Business Capital teams absolutely leverage each other’s relationships from an opportunity development standpoint. Given the bank’s focus on the middle market, we routinely see opportunities with companies that are private equity owned. MB Business Capital’s strong relationships with the private equity community have provided, and will continue to provide, opportunities in this area for companies that fit our target credit profile.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  What other cross-sell opportunities do you utilize within MB Financial?

Drury:  Continuing to leverage our commercial banking footprint in the greater Chicago market is another important cross-sell opportunity for all the MB leasing businesses. MB Equipment Finance, MB Lease Banking, Celtic Commercial Finance and LaSalle Solutions each serve largely different markets. Together we offer a broad suite of equipment financing and leasing products that can effectively meet the needs of the U.S. companies -- from large to small -- that we serve.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Can our readers expect to hear of any future staff additions, entrance into new verticals or any other news of this nature in the coming months?

Drury:  Our growth has driven an immediate need to expand our underwriting and documentation teams, and we recently hired highly-experienced individuals in these areas. I would expect that we will continue to grow in areas that are critical to providing our clients with the superior customer service we have become known for.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  What are corporate borrowers and lessees looking for from their equipment finance partners in today’s environment?

Drury:  Look, price is always important and we need to make sure that we’re always competitive in the markets that we are serving. However, I have had many conversations with CFOs who are laser-focused on how easy it is to do business (or not) with their equipment finance partners. Whether it’s customized invoicing, certainty of execution, rapid response time or general ease of doing business, we are seeing more prospective customers wanting to have a discussion with us about these topics every bit as much as price and structure.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Other than acquiring seasoned talent, how are you positioning MB Equipment Finance to succeed for 2016 and beyond?

Drury:  Cross-functionally, our team is comprised of some of the most experienced individuals in this industry who firmly believe in one of MB’s core values -- high performance -- which is to say we deliver a high quality customer experience … one that is better than our industry peers. Above and beyond our expertise and competitive products, our relative size enables us to deliver a customer experience that is superior. This also allows us to serve a market (the middle-market) that we believe is underserved due to recent industry consolidation and departures.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  Please share your overall view of the equipment finance market so far this year.

Drury:  Despite what I could call a sluggish start to the year from an overall economic standpoint, our equipment finance business performed well through the first quarter and exceeded our direct production goals. Continued headwinds in the energy and certain commodity-based industries present ongoing challenges for the overall equipment finance market; however, our focus is outside of those markets. Our opportunity pipeline is relatively good and our recent additions will only help expand the pipeline further. That said, from a broader market perspective, uncertainty in the general economic outlook may put pressure on continued growth in the overall equipment finance sector.

Equipment Finance Advisor Staff Writer
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