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ELFA’s Capitol Connections Delivers Virtually

May 27, 2021, 09:00 AM

On May 19, 2021, I had the privilege of participating in the ELFA’s first virtual Capitol Connections – the ELFA’s largest advocacy event of the year. Created to educate members of Congress about the important role the equipment finance industry plays as a provider of capital in our economy, the participants set out to do just that – influence policy makers working on the proposed infrastructure spending proposal and continually evolving tax policies.

Having attended these important events in the past (in person), I must admit that I was curious to see if we, the record 150 participants, and my team could effectively engage in this important event via Zoom calls. In preparation for our meetings, the ELFA did a spectacular job providing PowerPoint presentations and written materials to study in advance of our meetings, and my team also spent time together preparing for how we would deliver our talking points in each meeting.

Our day “on The Hill” began with ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta welcoming all participants, followed by Andy Fishburn, ELFA Vice President of Federal Government Relations, introducing the opening speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee. McHenry touched on several topics including the importance of taking part in events such as Capitol Connections in Washington D.C. to educate and influence policy makers.

From there, it was off to our meetings (via computer) with my team comprised of our team leader, Jeff Dicosola of Great American Insurance Group | Specialty Equipment Division, and fellow team members Lexie Dressman of The Huntington National Bank, Miles Herman of LEAF Commercial Capital, Martha McGuire of First Bank Chicago and William Tefft of Pacific Western Bank.

The focus of our meetings was to build an awareness among our assigned policy makers about the ELFA’s position pertaining to a few key points focusing specifically on the current Infrastructure proposal and Section 1071 of Title 10 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
 
As it pertains to the infrastructure proposal, our team presented the ELFA’s belief that any infrastructure spending plan enacted should treat an owner-operator of equipment no differently than an owner-lessor for purposes of the tax code. Additionally, we addressed the ELFA’s belief that it is important that any direct spending program should allow for equipment acquisitions to be make equally through cash purchases, financing and leasing.1

Related to Section 1071, we discussed how Section 1071 represents a significant change regarding data collection in commercial transactions. We presented the ELFA’s belief that the Section 1071 regulatory regime should be implemented in the most efficient manner possible and that the ELFA believes that similar to the structure that Congress recently set up for the collection of beneficial ownership information, the Government should be responsible for the collection of demographic information and the financial institutions should only be responsible for providing the loan or lease level information. We brought forward the point that the ELFA believes that this structure will be significantly more efficient for all parties involved and will lead to a better system for the monitoring of credit access in the small business marketplace.2

As the day progressed, the importance of participating in Capitol Connections became once again obvious to me whether it be in person or virtual. And while the thrill of walking around Washington, D.C., on a spring day with my peers was missing, the experience was once again fulfilling, and I encourage all members of the ELFA to set aside some time next year and in future years to participate in this important advocacy event.

We should all also recognize the ELFA staff for once again successfully organizing and holding this important annual event in a virtual format. Their hard work was certainly obvious and much appreciated. Lastly, thank you to my team members Jeff, Lexie, Miles, Martha and Will for a fun and productive day.

Footnotes:
1, 2  ELFA Capitol Connections provided materials.

Founder / Publisher | Equipment Finance Advisor
Michael Toglia is the Founder, Publisher and CEO of 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 as Marketing Chair for the TMA Philadlephia/Wilmington Chapter. Toglia served as the Executive Director/CEO of the National Equipment Finance Association from 2018-2020 and has been an active member of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association having served two terms as a member of the Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee.

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

Contact Michael Toglia at 484.380.3184 or mtoglia@equipmentfa.com.


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