by Christopher Menkin
.Each of the major associations leadership is responsible for the decline in membership.
As John Deane of the Alta Group so well wrote in 2001 about leadership in
“The Perfect Storm,” ( http://www.leasefoundation.org/pdfs/perfectstorm.pdf) it also applies to the fraternal and professional “clubs,” who’s membership has declined for over two year. It’s not consolidation or GE Capital buying all the major leasing companies ( actually the portfolio’s , not the companies and employees, as US Leasing went from 186 to 6 and Colonial Pacific Leasing is similar...that’s another story similar to larger banks buying smaller banks.)
Are leasing associations a “club?” Some aspects, yes. Leasing
Associations fulfill a purpose, whether you agree or don’t agree.
They represent your “business” as no chamber of commerce can;
to your colleagues, to your customers, to Washington ,D.C., and
various state capitals, and more importantly, perhaps, provide
a place to exchange ideas and information.
In the last two consecutive years, four of the five major national equipment leasing associations lost membership.
AGLF EAEL ELA NAELB UAEL
The National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers (NAELB---pronounced Nah-elb) gained, 45 in 2002. The Association of Government Leasing and Finance lost the most then, 111, not counting its executive director. It changed its leadership, Jorie Lagerwey was replaced by Graham Hauck.
This year, the Equipment Leasing Association lost the most to date: 80 members from June to June. It was planned. At the start of the demise in the leasing industry as evidenced by the Leasing News List, the leadership decided to re-define their role, their identity, and formed a special “task force.”
Perhaps foreseeing the coming changes in the industry, ELA leadership
decided to look at itself, its role, and the timing could not have been
better. As the National Association of Equipment Leasing did, they
planned their future. The three other associations reacted to it.
Among the several changes that were made, perhaps the more “controversial”
was raising the minimum dues to $2200, and creating a minimal fee for members who were active with a company that merger, been purchased, or is no longer in
ELA President Michael Fleming summed it up:
“There are 177 members in the category that currently pays $1,200 in dues - about 35% of the regular members. They pay 11% of the total dues."
According to Michael Henderson, director of ELA membership and marketing,
the June, 2003 breakdown was:
“In the dues category (that was adjusted to $2200) we have 140 that did not renew for 2003 (compared to 57 in 2002),” Henderson added.
That’s $168,000 out of your “gross income.”
To look at an association from a “body count” appears to be misleading, especially
in this instance. While this financial loss may indicate a major concern, but in reality, services have improved, more features have been added, more news, involvement in key projects such as “Capital Hill” and the list serve has never been
as active with great leads, communication, and information.
The major leasing corporations appear to be have more attention to their
needs being addressed, and therefore appear more interested than before.
The staff is more responsive; committees appear to functioning, and more members are getting involved. There even appears an undercurrent to expand into
foreign leasing marketplaces, such as Europe and elsewhere. All the members
are receiving better benefits for the dollar they spend on belonging to ELA.
“The Equipment Leasing Association exists to promote and serve the
general interests of the equipment leasing and finance industry by
providing programs of benefit to the industry and its members; providing
information, education and communications to the membership and the
public; leading in the resolution of general industry problems, and
promoting high standards of business practices within the industry.
“ELA's most valuable main offerings are:
* Business Development Opportunities
* Industry Information
* Professional Development & Competency
* Industry Advocacy
* Access to Capital
“Most important, ELA is a strong and healthy trade association because it
remains true to its mission.
“For ELA programs to be of maximum value to the membership, each member
company must impart value through participation and involvement.
Director, Membership & Marketing
Equipment Leasing Association
4301 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 550
Arlington, VA 22203
703.527.8655; Fax: 703.527.2649
The National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers leadership
actually planned their role earlier than ELA. In May, 2000 they
let go their very popular executive director Cindy Spurdle.
The membership was livid. The reality was not her performance.
Remind you, she worked for the United Equipment Leasing Association
for a time being, and it was talked at one time she would be the
executive director ( but she didn’t want to move, many said.) She
now works supporting the executive director of the Eastern
Equipment Leasing Association and as director of the Certified
Leasing Professional Foundation.
The board didn’t like the direction, acquiring assets, setting up an
office, looking like their were re-building a UEAL type organization.
Their goal was to have very low membership dues to attract new
members, to continue to hold meetings at inexpensive hotels,
not promote golf, and have members not only vote from the floor
for directors but to get directly involved in the conferences.
A professional management organization would be more effective,
they decided, and the goal was to keep the costs low.
NAELB has the lowest rate to join. All brokers can join for $295 a year
and get all the full benefits. There has always been controversy whether
“funders” should join, and while they may, they don’t have any voting
rights and pay a larger fee to mingle with potential sales sources.
Perhaps the major change is the involvement of ex-UAEL and current
UAEL members, such as the former UAEL membership chairman
Ginny Young serving on the conference committee or CLP champion Bob Teichman, who currently is on the UAEL board, serving on the same committee.
In Leasing New’s 2002 survey, we found many belonging to two leasing
associations. You will see from the email that follows part 1 that many
belong to three leasing associations, plus most funders belong to at least
four. For years, active UAEL directors were also active directors or
committee chairman for ELA.
“A few years ago we went to a January 1 billing system for our membership, “explains NAELB President Bob Bell as the reason for the June to June
“In an effort to make membership even more affordable (I don't know how you
can get much more affordable than $295.00 a year) we adopted a mid year
membership of $150.00. This means anyone wishing to join can get all of
our benefits ($7.95 for overnight letters with no weight limit, $2.00
credit reports, .039 per minute long distance, $1.00 BusinessCreditUSA
reports, access to the online leasing forum, legal support, and many
more) for this reduced priced.
“The credit reports for $2.00 is an NAELB exclusive and is formatted
expressly for leasing professionals. It contains a "quick look"
summary, scoring model, 24 months of inquiries, online directory, and
much more relevant information. All for two bucks!
“If anyone wishes to join our merry band of men and women they can e-mail
Tammy Marsh at email@example.com. We hope to have 500 by the end
of the year.
Total -437 members”
“I thought I would give you a heads up on the up coming NAELB Summer
Board of Directors meeting," Bob Bell e-mailed recently " Every year we meet for a weekend in the summer at the facility where we will be holding our next Annual
Conference. The 2004 conference will be at the Alexis Park Hotel in Las
Vegas April 29-May 1. This is an all suite hotel and we have negotiated
very reasonable rates. The decision to have it in Las Vegas reflects
how universal our membership has become, as we now have as many West
Coast members as we do in the Southeast.
“Here are a few examples based on the survey:
. 69% of our member companies have been in business over 5 years. The geographic breakdown goes like this:
West Coast 24%.
86% use the internet daily.
59% responded that they were highly or moderately involved in financial package transactions.
“This is certainly not the ‘old NAELB’.
“This year we've added an extra day (in Las Vegas) to allow Cal Clemons, owner of our
management company, to give us the benefit of his three decades of
Association Management expertise by conducting a strategic planning
session. This was the idea of our former President Gerry Egan and was
scheduled last fall. What a concept, planning in advance for a
strategic planning session! After Cal's intensive 8 hour interactive session, the Board will examine in detail the 56 pages gleaned from the survey and make long range plans based on our member's responses.
“We will be announcing shortly our Fall Regional Meetings. After the
incredible success last year with our meeting in Marina del Rey with
over 120 attendees, we have decided to have two this year. The West
Coast Regional will be in Irvine on September 19-20 and Atlanta on
November 7-8, 2003
College Park, Georgia
Agenda and more information available at:
Certainly, NAELB is no longer your grandmother’s automobile. They
Tomorrow: The three leasing association who “reacted.”