Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Today's Equipment Leasing Headlines
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Snow and Ice Bring Leasing to a Stand Still
Northern Illinois and northwest Indiana have been the hardest hit so far in the most recent storm with residents being told to stay indoors, don't travel. It has closed businesses, including leasing companies:
Sent out Monday by Paul Witte, First Federal Leasing:
“It is being forecasted that our area (Richmond, IN right on the I-70 pathway) is in the path of a severe winter storm with snow and a half inch to one inch of ice expected. If that happens, we will likely not be able to make it into the office. Our credit department will be able to continue to function remotely as long as we don’t lose power. Fundings are a different story.
“If travel is prohibited we will not be able to receive funding packages and thus payments to the vendors will be delayed. Service is our number one priority and we will do our best to accomplish it…weather permitting. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our valued customers and any affected parties.
One of the hardest-hit cities on Tuesday was Kansas City, where a municipal state of emergency was declared and snow plows were pulled from runways at the international airport in late afternoon due to blowing snow and low visibility.
Statewide emergencies were declared in Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois and Wisconsin. White-out conditions were reported on Interstate 44 between Oklahoma and Missouri, closing part of that highway, as well as Interstate 70 in central Missouri.
As reported on TV and the Radio news, twenty percent of all scheduled flights in the U.S. have been grounded by what is being called a "life-threatening blizzard" with record cold temperatures, high winds, and as much as two feet of snow predicted in some areas.
Hit hard was Texas, with airports closing, perhaps now open, but most businesses, including shopping centers were closed. Certainly the expected economic spending of visitors for the Super Bowl on Sunday has seriously been curtailed.
The Dallasnews.com reports, "Much of the Dallas-Fort Worth area remains covered with ice, and with temperatures staying below freezing, most area schools will again be closed Wednesday."
McKinney hit, too!
Sue’s daughter in McKinney, Texas, about 45 minutes from Dallas) says everything is closed as the high is 22 degrees and low 9 degrees with ice drops (not rain) hitting the windows and covering the streets in strong winds with sleets of ice.
From Ron Mitchell, Sr. Vice-President, BancLease Acceptance Corporation, Irving, Texas (not far from Arlington, the Cowboys stadium):
“Our offices are currently closed due to an ice storm.
“We will be back in the office as soon as possible.
“Please don’t hesitate to give Dana or myself a call on our cell phones. We will do whatever we can to help.
“Ron Mitchell 972-489-0796 cell
John Kenny, Receivables Management, in upstate New York, who works out of his barn, says he is waiting for the big storm coming, not worried, as “We are well stocked with wood, food and beer.”
(Leasing News provides this ad as a trade for investigations
Brad Peterson on "Real U.S.Bank Equipment Finance" letter
"The real U.S. Bank Equipment Finance story"
From Brad Peterson, who resigned as senior vice-president and general manager in August, 2005 at US Bank Manifest with Curt Kovash succeeding him:
“I was saddened by the letter you received regarding ‘The Real U.S. Bank Equipment Finance Story’ as I thought it was unfair. I read it a second time trying to imagine the motives of the anonymous writer...makes you wonder.
“Unfortunately, there were no ‘scoring models’ to guide companies through what has happened in the economy and financial markets over the last few years. Almost every small ticket equipment finance company operating as a ‘generalist (like Manifest)’ were crippled by very poor portfolio performance and in many cases liquidity issues. In addition, originating paper through independent brokers/lessors has always been a challenging environment let alone what we've all been through. I think your ‘list’ of companies exiting the broker market is evidence of the challenges. There are a few truly remarkable companies like Financial Pacific, Pawnee, Great America and Bank of the West (I'm sure a few more) that had the discipline and strength to continue, but not many.
“In my opinion, the ‘Ghost writer(s)’ go(es) too far in assessing blame. I watched Manifest make serious and tough decisions as the depth of the crisis became evident. It would be interesting to know what the writer might have done differently and when (deeper cuts in broker relationships, tighter credit restrictions, higher rates, quicker/deeper lay-offs, etc)? It seems unlikely that someone lacking the courage to sign their indictment would have the strength to deal with the complexity and ramifications of the problems.
“I watched as Curt Kovash and his team work diligently to deal with the rising crisis. On several occasions Curt took time to share with the industry his insights and frustrations with the lack of clear cut answers as the crisis deepened. He was open, serious and engaged. On those occasions, Manifest's and Curt's peers shared the stage and the struggle, many with similar problems and results.
“Thank you, Kit, for defending Curt. In my opinion he deserves it.
“I hope someday a company with the same entrepreneurial spirit and culture that gave birth to Manifest chooses to re-build the model. Maybe they will also be chosen by their customers as the ‘best company to do business with’. And if they're fortunate, they'll have a good man like Curt Kovash to lead the business.
“Please feel free to share my thoughts.”
March 25, 2004 Brad Peterson Named New Senior VP & General Manager
August 8, 2005 Curt Kovash named to succeed Brad Peterson as Senior VP & General Manager
Equipment Not Repossessed, Lessee use as they Sue Lessor
November 5, 2009 Leasing News issued an alert regarding Brican America, Miami, Florida and it subsidiaries along with NCMIC Finance Corporation dba Professional Solutions Financial (PFSF), a subsidiary of Professional Solutions, Clive, Iowa and what was eventually to evolve into 2,500 dentists and optometrists. The first reaction was a letter threatening legal action with Michael H. Lichtman as co-counsel, who Leasing News was familiar with from NorVergence and Adam Zuckerman Operation Lease Fleece stories.
Shortly thereafter the reality hit the fan and class action suits were brought against Brican America, Brican's subsidiaries, various leasing companies, with the lead NCMIC Finance Corporation d/b/a Professional Solutions Finance Services, owned by Professional Solutions out of Iowa. To sum it up, one part made "advertisement payments" so the lessee could make lease payments. When the "advertisement payments" stopped, so did the lease payments, and the main point is most of the leasing companies were aware of the "advertisement payment" relationship.
There are several class action cases, including Ken Catanzarite out of Anaheim, California representing over 50 clients (may be over a 100 at this time as he also represents others in other states) as neither of the companies involved had a valid California Finance Lenders license, and total may be 2,500 dentists and optometrists.
It seems most of the lessees, according to their blog conversations, are still using the Brican equipment, which consists of a very large monitor in the waiting room or display area for Optometrists, a computer with software that shows information about what is available, procedures, other advertisements and information. Many have added new "features" and all appear very happy the product. Other lessees have found new programs, or newer computers and software, but are rebuffed as most like the equipment.
In most cases of default, the equipment is picked up and a deficiency is sought.
Ronald P. Gossett, Gossett & Gossett, P.A., of Hollywood, Florida, perhaps best known for his success for NorVergence lessees, has the largest group of the class action cases. Leasing News asked him the use by the lessees of the equipment as well as an up-date of the law suit:
"Let me start with the easiest---why there has been no repossession of goods. These contracts are not leases; they are financing contracts which give the 'lessor' the right to a security interest. The lessor, however, must perfect its security interest by recording a UCC1 in the proper location in each state where the equipment is located. NCMIC did not perfect security interests in most cases; in all cases, the equipment is not worth the cost of repossession. The 'lessees' are free to continue to use the systems, but when they have technical issues, they will not get any help from Brican.
"A lot is happening on all fronts. First, we have been directly hired to represent more than 1,000 lessees (and their personal guarantees which we do not count; if counted, we would be close to 2,000 clients in these cases). Second, we have been appointed as lead counsel by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the court to which the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation transferred all pending federal cases involving NCMIC/Brican contracts. Third, NCMIC continues to file cases in Iowa (we are defending about 850 at this point). All Iowa cases involving leases which were assigned to NCMIC have been stayed in Iowa. All Iowa cases involving leases which were originally entered into by NCMIC, and assigned post-suit to a newly formed, wholly owned company---PSFS 3 Corporation, are proceeding in Iowa. We have several hearings set for Friday in Des Moines concerning the Iowa cases.
"The federal MDL action has moved into the discovery phase. We have produced thousands of pages of documents, names and addresses of 984 potential witnesses, and have received 27,534 pages of documents which we are now reviewing. We are mapping out the depositions which will be taken over the next year (100 total), and have taken the limited deposition of the CEO of NCMIC, Patrick E. McNerney.
“We are on course to take this case to trial during the late autumn of 2012.
“Our position looks to be very strong.”
NCMIC CEO Patrick E. McNerney deposition:
Brican America/Brican Financial Lawsuits:
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Credit Managers Encouraged about 2011
The index now stands at a level that normally signals more rapid expansion in the near future.
The National Association of Credit Managers (NACM) January, 2011 Credit Manager's Index reports is being viewed as a most encouraging indicator this month because of the amount of credit extended. NACM represents approximately 18,000 business credit and financial professionals.
Overall the increase from January to January was 55.1 to 56.4.
The jump from 60.7 to 65.9 for the year is very significant as this is the signal that many have been waiting to see. While sales and new credit applications slowed a little in January, the numbers remain robust due to the overall increase in activity in these indicators over the past several months. Sales dropped from 65.9 to 63.5, which is still very respectable given that the holiday season had ended. New credit applications fell from 60.1 to 58.6, but that is also somewhat attributable to the arrival of a generally slow time of year as compared to the last quarter, NACM reported.
"As companies start to see increased sales and begin to anticipate growth opportunities in coming months, it is important that they get positioned to take on more debt, if needed, for that expansion," said Chris Kuehl, PhD, managing director for Armada Corporate Intelligence and economic advisor for the NACM. "If they are planning to access more credit, they generally have to catch up on their current debt first." In the midst of the downturn, companies tried to conserve cash flow at all costs, during which they are more prone to stretching out credit obligations. The result is reflected in the deterioration of unfavorable factors. As companies recover and catch up on their credit, they are in a position to request more and in a position to be granted that access. "This is what seems to be happening now," said Kuehl. "Companies are setting themselves up for more growth in the months to come. The data from the CMI is reflected in the latest economic numbers from the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) as well as surveys from groups like the National Association of Business Economists and the Conference Board."
"The fact that credit extended sharply increased despite the slowdown in sales and credit applications indicates more credit availability than in previous months—quite a bit more. This indicator has not seen such high readings since early 2008, and those were barely at 62, much less at 64.8. Banks are reporting a loosening of credit in the United States and since lenders are more active, more commercial credit is appearing as well. Companies are far more willing to offer credit and, as they start to consider expansion in the coming year, it will also create more opportunity to engage their clients."
"The change in the credit situation in part stems from the fact that banks have been far more interested in the manufacturing community," Kuehl noted. "Machine tool makers are seeing increased demand and an additional boom is being created by manufacturers seeking credit in order to accumulate reserves in commodities and other raw materials. This has been an area where manufacturers are uninterested in carrying inventory, but now with a real fear of commodity price inflation, some companies are trying to hedge with advance purchasing."
"When compared with other national numbers, the service indicators back up the uneven performance of select sectors," Kuehl observed. "Retail had its best December in more than five years with a 0.7% growth rate. At the same time, the entire housing market slipped even lower and now rests at about where it was at the end of the 1990s."
“When one looks at what follows an expansion of credit, there is an expectation that the following months will steadily improve," he concluded.
Full Report Here:
More Information about Coming Dates
Leasing Association 2011 Conferences
March 8-11, 2011
March 17 - 19
The video and our other efforts have helped NEFA increase its Partner/Sponsorship participation by 63%
"These are companies that are investing in marketing to commercial equipment leasing and financing businesses. The fact that we have more of them this year and they're willing to invest more money this year than last year says a lot about what they expect to happen going forward. We've already sold more tabletop exhibits at the upcoming National Equipment Finance Summit, March 17-19th, in Scottsdale, Arizona than we originally allocated space for."
"What's interesting", says Egan, "is a kind of disconnect between perception and reality. We still hear a lot of gloom and doom from some folks complaining that they can't find funding sources, and yet the reality is we're finding more people trying to provide those services this year than in the last couple of years. I think it's a very positive, bullish sign for our industry."
National Equipment Finance Summit
April 3-April 5
Equipment Leasing and Finance
April 7-April 9, 2010
April 12--April 14
Event Schedule and Exhibit Information:
May 4-6, 2001
The NFA conference kicks off on Wednesday, May 4 with a Golf Tournament at a noted Atlanta area course. An opening reception starts the evening’s festivities from 6:00 to 8:00 PM! Following his presentation are attendee sponsored receptions and hospitality rooms.
On Thursday, May 5, the conference formally begins with an opening session at 8:30 AM, with a welcome by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, followed by a day long line-up of prominent speakers, including a luncheon, a networking exhibit hall, evening reception, and a banquet with an entertaining dinner speaker.
Our presenters include:
May 11-May 13
To view Leasing Association Events-Meetings Open to All, please click here.
Sales makes it Happen---by Steve Chriest
Perception and Reality
It was just before a previous Super Bowl when I heard on TV a well respected, long time sports announcer comment, "The best coaches are always great salesmen because they have to convince players that they're the ones who can do the job for the team." It gets down to respect, creditability, motivation, and believing what you are being told will make you a better player.
Then I heard the response that the coach is then a salesman. And the interviewed add, "The best salesmen are those who truly believe what they're saying, whether or not it's true." Worse, this TV journalist declared, "Lying comes naturally to a good salesman."
Unforunately, too many people think of the salesman as Willie Loman or Gordon Gekko - shallow but smooth, manipulative, gifted gabbers who work to persuade at almost any cost. If you are a salesperson, a sales manager, or a senior executive responsible for the performance of a sales team, you must be asking yourself, what can be done to change this perception?
The answer is deceptively easy to see, and extraordinarily difficult to implement. First, the answer: In those instances where a salesperson puts the interests of the customer ahead of everything else, the salesperson is usually held in high regard by the customer. Some years ago I became aware of an HP salesman who, when talking with a customer about a purchase, took out a competitor's catalog and recommended a more appropriate item for his customer than HP offered. True, the salesman lost the order, and the commission on the sale, but he gained the loyalty of a customer for a very long time and, not surprisingly, did a large volume of business with that customer in the future.
Implementing a true customer-first attitude is difficult, for salespeople, for sales managers and for senior executives. In a world where short-term gains and performance are rewarded almost to the exclusion of everything else, the pressure to sell, to earn commissions, and to put the company's interests ahead of customers' interests, is enormous. If a competitor's bid is much better, say it is, and if it doesn't pan out, to call you back. You'd be surprised how many times when things start to go wrong, the original salesman who took the attitude of trying to really help, gets called back. Again and again.
As long as this negative attitude continues, it is not likely that the overall negative perception of the salesman, and saleswoman, will change. If, on the other hand, some enlightened salespeople, sales managers and senior executives cultivate a company culture that truly champions the interests of its customers, those professionals and their companies will not only prosper, but they will play a significant role in changing the perception of the salesmen and saleswomen held by their customers and, perhaps, others.
Being a sales representative of a company is a proud profession.
About the author: Steve Chriest is the founder of Selling UpTM (www.selling-up.com), a sales consulting firm specializing in sales improvement for organizations of all types and sizes in a variety of industries. He is also the author of Selling The E-Suite, The Proven System For Reaching and Selling Senior Executives and Five Minute Financial Analyst, Basic CREDIT & Analysis Tools for Non-Accountants. He was the CEO of a very successful leasing company and executive at a major company. You can reach Steve at email@example.com.
Sales Makes it Happen articles:
### Press Release ############################
More Bank Branches for Less People
In New York State, the population growth in the last decade was only 3 percent, yet the number of branches increased by 19 percent over the same time period.
(SAN ANSELMO, Calif.) – A new analysis from Market Rates Insight (MRI, www.marketratesinsight.com) reveals that while banks and credit unions kept up with population changes in the high-growth states, they have not done so in states with low or no change in population... According to the latest estimates of the US Census Bureau (2010 Census), the ten states that had minimal or virtually no growth in the last decade are: Michigan, Rhode Island, Louisiana, West Virginia, North Dakota – all with less than 1.0 percent population growth in the last decade. Ohio 1.7 percent, Vermont 2.1 percent, Pennsylvania 2.6 percent, Iowa 2.8 percent, and New York 3 percent. In Rhode Island, the population growth was less than 1.0 percent, yet the number of branches grew by 15 percent, and in New York State, despite a population growth of only 3 percent, the number of branches increased by 19 percent in the last decade.
The ten highest-population growth states are Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Florida and South Carolina. In all these states, the number of branches has increased, since the last Census in 2000, at the same or higher rate than the increase in population. For example, Nevada’s population has increased by 32 percent in the last decade, and the number of branches has increased by 45 percent.
“In times of diminishing profit margins.” said Dan Geller, Ph.D. Executive Vice President at Market Rates Insight, “changes in population along with the increase in online banking and electronic transactions should be considered in the realignment of any branch network.”
Full Report: About Market Rates Insight:
Market Rates Insight (MRI, www.marketratesinsight.com) is a reputable provider of competitive-pricing information and analysis to financial institutions. MRI’s competitive data is complete, detailed and timely, which allows for the highest level of pricing precision. Therefore, the use of MRI’s competitive data ensures greater pricing optimization, and subsequently, improved profitability. In addition to competitive-pricing data, MRI also conducts pricing analysis and provides tracking of industry indexes. MRI’s indexes, published weekly in the National Pricing Indicators, are the industry standard for deposit pricing, and are viewed weekly by executives of banks and credit unions through video, audio and print channels.
#### Press Release #############################
(This ad is a “trade” for the writing of this column. Opinions
Majority of Americans Have Frugal Fatigue
Silver Spring, MD – The January poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, www.DebtAdvice.org, queried consumers regarding their attitude toward “frugal fatigue,” the weariness associated with long-term restricted spending.
“It is not surprising that the majority of respondents, 66 percent, indicated they were tired of pinching pennies, but would have to continue that lifestyle,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “Even though the recession is technically over, that textbook definition isn’t being felt in American households. The interesting finding is that more than 20 percent of those weighing in said they had implemented financial lifestyle changes that they found to be positive and intended to keep them in place.”
The recession introduced many Americans to a financial lifestyle they had not previously known, one that included tracking spending, creating a budget that was in line with income, and saving for the inevitable rainy day.
“Even though these positive actions may have been forced upon consumers out of necessity, anytime a person takes control of his or her financial well-being, it’s a step in the right direction,” continued Cunningham.
When one in five people makes a decision to permanently alter their financial habits, presumably spending less and saving more, it potentially impacts the economy as a whole. This could be worrisome to some who encourage increased spending as a necessary component to the country’s recovery. Nonetheless, it can be argued that a financially stable household is critical to a financially stable America.
The NFCC supports financially responsible behavior, and congratulates those who have embraced it as their new lifestyle. Further, the NFCC encourages the 66 percent of Americans who are reluctantly remaining in the restricted spending mode to examine their current financial habits to see if some of the elements are worth implementing permanently.
The actual poll question and results are as follows:
Do you have “frugal fatigue?”
A. Yes, I am tired of pinching pennies, but will have to continue that lifestyle = 66%
B. Yes, I am tired of pinching pennies, and have decided to begin spending more = 5%
C. No, I've not made any spending changes in recent years = 8%
D. No, I have made lifestyle changes, but they are positive and I intend to keep them = 21%
If you need help dealing with frugal fatigue, reach out to a trained and certified NFCC Member Agency counselor. To locate the Agency closest to you dial, (800) 388-2227, or go online to www.DebtAdvice.org. For assistance in Spanish, call (800) 682-9832.
”Note: The NFCC’s January Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC Web site (www.DebtAdvice.org) from January 1 – 31, 2011 and answered by 2,121 individuals.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior and build capacity for its Members to deliver the highest quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC Members annually help four million consumers through close to 800 community-based offices nationwide. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC Member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit www.nfcc.org. Visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NFCCDebtAdvice and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NFCCDebtAdvice.
### Press Release ###############################
McKinney, Texas -- Adopt-a-Dog
Breed: Shepherd (Unknown Type) / Chow Chow Mix
Shadow and her brother Shiloh are the sweetest Shepherd/Chow six week old pups... Shadow is the most precious little girl you'll ever see... She loves to play with her brother but would rather lye down next to you and get her belly rubbed. She loves getting hugs and kisses.
Since Shadow is so young she will need a family who has the time and patience to teach her to be the best little girl.
She has already begun her puppy shots and will be spayed, microchipped, and fully vetted.
We do not have a facility to house the dogs in our program. They are all kept in foster homes until they are adopted. Therefore, if you are interested in adopting from CCHS, you have to complete an online application at http://www.collincountyhumanesociety.org/Forms.htm and we will contact you asap about the status of your application.
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NFL players say CBS won't air ad
San Francisco Giants mark their territorial rights with a trophy run
Whitman spends $178.5M on failed Calif. gov's race
Meg-a-bash! Whitman's post-election political autopsy at UC Berkeley brutally dissects "worst campaign ever"
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1633 - The tobacco laws of Virginia were codified, limiting tobacco production to reduce dependence on a single-crop economy. The main export was Tobacco to Europe, who had become addicted.
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