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Signature Financial Launches Two Business Lines, Names Leaders

May 11, 2021, 07:22 AM

Signature Bank, a New York-based, commercial bank, announced its wholly owned specialty finance subsidiary, Signature Financial LLC, launched two business lines: Vendor Industrial Finance (VIF) and Dealer Lease & Rental (DLR).

VIF targets manufacturers, vendors and dealers who provide finance and leasing options for their customers. VIF focuses primarily on the machine tool, construction, materials handling and commercial transportation sectors as well as information technology and healthcare vendors.

The DLR platform provides funding for franchised truck dealerships nationwide that cater to middle-market businesses requiring trucks and trailers to deliver their goods and services.

Over the years, since its 2012 founding, Signature Financial and its affiliate Signature Public Funding, have grown to more than $5 billion in assets across a variety of specialty commercial and public finance niches. Both new platforms complement Signature Financial’s well-established business model and other business channels, including direct and indirect equipment leasing and finance; transportation funding, franchise finance and commercial marine lending. Signature Public Funding provides tax-exempt leasing and financing to municipalities, school districts and other government entities across the country.

To head VIF, Signature Financial named Michael Mehosky to the newly created post of Vice President and Director. In this capacity, he is responsible for oversight of the platform, including building and managing the team. With 20 years of commercial equipment experience, Mehosky joins from Peoples United Bank, where he served as Senior Vice President and Sales Manager for its Capital & Leasing division. In this position, he managed the Vendor Industrial sales team and established specific customer programs and processes. Other industry-related roles include those at Siemens Financial Services, Inc., GE Capital and M&T Bank.

Geoff Petersen, currently Vice President and Managing Underwriter for Signature Financial,  has been appointed to lead risk management for the new VIF team. Petersen has been with Signature Financial since 2013 as a Senior Underwriter and Portfolio Manager. He was dedicated to handling a wide range of industries in support of both the National Intermediary and Capital Markets business channels. Prior to joining Signature Financial, he spent nine years at GE Capital, supporting vendor-driven businesses, primarily in the healthcare and transportation spaces. Peterson began his career at Associates/Citi Capital where he advanced into roles of increasing responsibility during six-year tenure.

Concurrent with the launch, two Executive Sales Officers (ESOs) were also named to support VIF: Kevin McDonald and Joseph Tomkiewicz, who will each originate and manage relationships across the full spectrum of equipment manufacturers, vendors and dealers.

McDonald joins from TIAA Bank, where he was a business development manager for multiple equipment verticals. He also held sales and finance roles at Makino Capital Services, Siemens Financial Services and Wells Fargo Equipment Finance. Tomkiewicz honed his equipment finance expertise in several roles of increasing responsibility during the past 10 years at Hyster-Yale Group, a leading manufacturer of material handling equipment. Prior to joining Signature Financial, he was Director, Industry Strategy and Solutions, handling client relationships with responsibility for the North American business.

Leading the DLR platform is Michael Jones, Vice President and Executive Sales Manager (ESM) for the National Direct Equipment business division of Signature Financial. Jones will oversee sales, operations and business development of the new division. Jones also serves as an ESM for the National Direct Equipment business channel of Signature Financial, covering the Southwest territory. Jones originally joined Signature Financial in 2015 from BancorpSouth Equipment Finance. Jones’ 22-year finance sales career has included originating business through franchised truck dealerships under programs such as the Idea lease program providing him with extensive experience to lead the DLR business.

Furthermore, as Jones begins to build out the DLR team, Joel Ruf was appointed ESO and Vice President for the new DLR business. In this position, Ruf will be responsible for national sales and business development. Ruf brings more than 20 years of related experience to Signature Financial. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President, Dealer National Accounts at Wells Fargo, a post to which he was promoted to from Vice President, Programs Finance. In the national accounts role, Ruf was instrumental in starting and ultimately growing their dealer direct lending business to more than $1 billion in assets.

Jeffrey Utech joined Signature Financial from TCF Bank and was named to the role of Vice President and Managing Underwriter. In this capacity, he will focus on the DLR business line. At TCF as well in prior roles spanning 15 years at BMO Harris Bank, GE Credit Corp. and Navistar Financial, Utech spent most of his career honing his expertise in transportation lending. In addition to his specialized underwriting skill set, Utech brings deep experience in portfolio management and operations related to the truck dealership leasing and rental niche.

“The launch of these platforms marks deeper market expansion for Signature Financial. The target clients across both of these new business lines complement our existing client base, and we are eager to bring our service-oriented, client-centric approach model to these sectors,” said Walter Rabin, President and Chief Executive Officer at Signature Financial.

“We are confident in the seasoned, entrepreneurial leadership we have put in place to head these new initiatives. The experience of these veteran professionals further cements new opportunities for Signature Financial and Signature Bank as we look to introduce our additional services and continue to grow the business nationally,” Rabin concluded.

“Signature Financial has grown into the 15th largest bank-based lender in the specialty equipment finance space, a feat achieved in less than nine years since its inception. Our decision to enter into and expand within these areas speaks volumes to Signature Financial’s successes to date and bodes well for Signature Bank. We have deliberately diversified over the years to capture significant market opportunities, and our specialty finance arm has distinguished the Bank in the marketplace,” said Joseph J. DePaolo, President and Chief Executive Officer at Signature Bank.

Petersen is based in Signature Financial’s Melville, NY, headquarters.  Mehosky will be based in Hedgesville, WV with McDonald in Charleston, SC and Tomkiewicz in Greenville, NC. Both Jones and Ruf will work from satellite offices in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, area. Utech is based in Arlington Heights, IL.

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