Members react to the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s new Industry Future Council report.
“While as an industry we have been discussing ‘creeping consumerism’ for more than a decade, the regulations that we see being introduced, passed and implemented now, both at the state and federal levels, suggest that it isn’t about to happen, but is happening now and we need to brace ourselves for compliance with these requirements going forward. These changes are happening quickly with the landscape in constant flux. Right now, equipment finance companies are having to take action to be ready for the Jan. 1, 2022 implementation of New York’s Commercial Financing Disclosure Law even despite the regulations not yet being finalized. They are working with what is known and making reasonable assumptions to integrate the requirements into their systems. This is no small undertaking for many of the large, complex non-bank lenders in the industry and an equally big challenge for smaller lenders with fewer resources.”*
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Industry Future Council (IFC) serves as a guiding light for the equipment finance industry, helping to steer its course three to five years into the future.
In 2021, the IFC undertook a months-long effort to identify the most important trends that have the highest potential to affect the equipment finance sector in a recovering and changing economy. The IFC identified six key trends that will present opportunities as well as pose risks for equipment finance firms over the coming five years. These trends fit into three overarching categories: technology, workforce and economics & policy.
The new IFC report, “Looking Ahead to the Post-Pandemic Economy: A Strategic Assessment of the Equipment Finance Industry,” is the culmination of their extensive work throughout 2021. The findings and recommendations included in the report are based on direct input from the 25 IFC members, external research and the Foundation’s research partners at Keybridge, who facilitated discussions, synthesized inputs and provided research.
EL&F Magazine invited IFC members to answer the question, “What trend jumped out at you from the new IFC report?” and below are highlights from their responses. Special thanks to our 2021 IFC Sponsors, Equifax and Solifi. To download the full report, visit https://www.leasefoundation.org/2021ifcreport/.
Bonnie L. Michael
Shareholder, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
*Don’t miss the ELFA webinar “ELFA State Advocacy New Year’s Resolutions” on Dec. 15. See details at www.elfaonline.org/events.
“I was particularly pleased to see the Industry Future Council focus on the challenges facing our industry in recruiting the next generation of talent. We compete not just within our industry for the best employees, but with other industries. We must provide an environment people want to work in. That means we must accelerate our efforts at diversifying our industry (and leadership) but also recognizing it takes more than offering good earning potential to get the people we want. People in the first stages of their careers want to work for companies that support them and their values. A necessary, but insufficient, part of that is ensuring you have a diverse work force, a flexible environment and a commitment to issues they care about.”
“I found the trend on the increased role of technology in sales and business operations to be extremely relevant in our business. As we consider the role of digital natives and fin techs, our industry must have a diligent eye to modernizing our technology and with that, improving our digital capabilities for our customers, employees and (for captives) our channel. This will allow us to recruit the best talent (another IFC trend) and meet changing customer needs. We started critical work on this by transitioning to an Agile Operating Model just a few years ago. This positioned us to deploy thin slices of value to customers and get real time feedback, allowing us to pivot quickly. With the global pandemic, it was a critical capability, because customers desired a touchless sales process and employees needed to be able to interact with each other and with customers virtually. Being able to deploy digital value quickly was an absolute must. This trend and the interconnectedness of the other IFC study trends are particularly relevant for our business”
President, Executive Solutions for Leasing & Finance, Inc.
“Throughout our discussions in the IFC, the one trend we discussed that continuously resonates with me is increased emphasis on cyber/data security. In my role at Equifax, I regularly have conversations with lenders on their data security practices and how they can continue to stay current and keep data security at the forefront of their organizations’ initiatives. Meanwhile, at Equifax, a day never goes by without some discussion on security practices. One major initiative that supports this priority is our company-wide Cloud Transformation project that we are undertaking to provide products and data more efficiently to our clients. As the only cloud-native consumer credit reporting agency, we are making significant efforts to enhance data security in the cloud environment by relying on sound data governance, utilizing robust data security systems, and leveraging strong data encryption.”
SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, John Deere Financial
Director, Credit Strategy Consulting, Equifax Commercial