Friday, October 8, 2010
Bill Cameron Passes Away
Bill Cameron Passes Away
Company web site:
He was the husband of Cindy Cameron.
Born in Philadelphia, he was a son of Francis and Mary Cameron of Florida.
William was a 1974 graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan College.
William was the CEO of State Street Financial, and a partner in Bobbie Simone's Restaurant.
He was an avid sports fan and loved baseball, playing in several senior leagues and fantasy leagues. He also enjoyed playing basketball.
William was an active member of the Doylestown Presbyterian Church, where he served on the Finance Committee.
In addition to his wife and parents, William is survived by a daughter, Carrie Cameron of Ardmore; and a sister, Carol Jones.
William's funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct.8, at the Doylestown Presbyterian Church, 127 E. Court St, Doylestown, PA 18901. Interment will follow in the Doylestown Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Doylestown Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 127 E. Court St, Doylestown, PA 18901.
Condolences may be made at the Web site below:
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GreatAmerica Announces Portfolio Servicing Business
(Cedar Rapids, Iowa) – GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation announced today that it has expanded its operations to include a focused portfolio servicing business unit. The newly formed GreatAmerica Portfolio Services Group LLC will target organizations seeking secure and competent portfolio management. The new group will offer a suite of portfolio services, including back-up, third party, and successor servicing.
“Our operational model is highly regarded in the industry and has a reputation for delivering outstanding results,” said GreatAmerica Chairman and CEO Tony Golobic. “Additionally, our consistent activity and strong performance in the capital markets has influenced our decision to move in this direction.”
Joe Andries, a 23-year veteran of equipment financing and portfolio servicing, will be the Vice President and General Manager of the GreatAmerica Portfolio Services Group.
Brett Steffen, who has been with GreatAmerica for 14 years, will serve as Vice President of Operations.
GreatAmerica has a proven success record of performing at levels better than industry standards and currently services a portfolio of over 113,000 contracts. GreatAmerica has in excess of $1.1 billion in assets.
The Secret of Our Success
"Tony Golobic of GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. is the leader of a very successful company that has kept a relatively low profile. GreatAmerica has had an exceptional record of growth. In 2009 they reached $1 billion in assets, and in the 2009 Monitor 100 survey they reported 2008 origination volume of $430.9 million, a tremendous volume for an independent small ticket vendor leasing company. They were one of the few leasing companies that was able to tap the securitization market in 2009. The company has always been very conservative in its credit approvals, financing and accounting, areas that have derailed a number of their competitors."
This is a new series to highlight companies who have been successful, why, and their recommendations to you.
It has been 38 years since I came across my first equipment finance transaction. Since then our industry has been good to me. Although much has changed during these years, the industry today remains vibrant and a good place to grow one’s career. Not only has our industry grown significantly, but it became much more complex. At the same time, it seems, much of the industry became commoditized. I never wanted to be a part of a commoditized business; there just doesn’t seem to be much value and staying power in a business based on lowest rates and easiest credit. Anyone can do that. I also don’t think one can build lasting market leadership based on lowest pricing and easiest credit; there is always going to be another fool willing to push rates even lower.
I wanted to be a part of a company that would build a lasting market leadership by aspiring to standards of excellence so high in everything it does it would have no competition. This was our vision 17 years ago when we started GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation and this remains our vision today. This was not only our vision, but it was also our reason for starting GreatAmerica. Every day, we make another step on our quest for excellence. Like perfection, excellence is a continuous process, a worthy goal to aspire to and a vision that fills one with pride. I am so thankful that today we have 314 “GreatAmericans” who share our pride.
This vision required a structure that would maximize human potential; one that would continuously engage each and every member of our GreatAmerica team no matter how large we become. Our strong belief in the potential of people provided the philosophical backdrop for an evolution that was to come. At GreatAmerica, we don’t have managers and we don’t have executives. We have leaders. Every “GreatAmerican” is responsible for managing herself or himself. At GreatAmerica, I am not the only one losing sleep thinking, worrying and dreaming of GreatAmerica; there are 313 other “GreatAmericans” who also are thinking, worrying and dreaming of GreatAmerica.
To this end, we transformed our organization into a team-based structure. Our organization chart looks a little different than most; it has our customers (dealers and smaller lessors) at its center, like a sun, surrounded and orbited by our teams, which in turn are supported by our senior leadership. We drew this organizational chart to constantly remind us of who makes us successful; our customers. The idea was to establish teams of cross-trained individuals with intimate knowledge of their customers, and these teams would be responsive to their myriad needs.
The scalability of the team structure also preserved the intimate, small-company feel as GreatAmerica expanded. Teams of empowered individuals rising to their potential and making informed decisions continue to benefit our customers today. Everyone at GreatAmerica participates in a bonus structure that integrates personal and company goals to help grow GreatAmerica and reward individual accomplishments. Our people have a great degree of autonomy in creating their own personal fulfillment. This, in turn, fuels our high retention rates and internal satisfaction levels which translate directly into a positive and consistent customer relationship building. We want our customers to say “wow” when they get off the phone with us. We call this the GreatAmerica Experience.
We also define our customer a little differently than most financing companies. We resolved that the equipment dealers/leasing brokers are our customers and that the lessee is the customer of the dealer/broker. The dealer/broker, our customer, puts food on our family tables. This foundation guides our prospecting and marketing efforts and has engendered great trust with our customers. Not all equipment dealers, just like not all leasing brokers, are the right customers for us. We want just the best ones; the ones who have long-term vision, who want to build strong and lasting relationships with their customers and with us. We used to work with a large number of brokers, but 80% of our business was done with just a handful. That didn’t work well and we pared the number down. We will continue to focus on this process with the goal of doing an increased amount of business with a smaller number of brokers. It’s a matter of finding the right brokers with the right vendor programs with whom we can develop strong and lasting relationships. It may sound strange but our goal is to have fewer brokers for whom we do a lot more.
Our ethical focus has underscored our direction as a whole, ranging from the definition of our customer (above) to the creation of our Truth in Leasing Statement, which is a document we give our customers to give to their customers. It’s an industry-first statement that is essentially a leasing bill of rights for the lessee and outlines what they can expect when they enter into a standard agreement with GreatAmerica. It also draws a line in the sand by capping residual positions and stating there would be no hidden fee tactics common in many leases.
This “no surprises” approach and our financial performance have also formed trusting and valued relationships with our financial providers. We run an open operation and are well attuned to the transparency standards the asset-backed securities market expects. Since 1995 we’ve had nine successful term securitizations of over $2.2 billion in total (the last one, for $454 million, closed in November 2009). In these days of restricted credit, we have record amounts of open credit lines. Our ample access to the capital markets is the reward for our disciplined, common sense approach to credit approval process. Steady and loyal support from our financial partners has also helped us deliver a level of consistency and service very hard to find elsewhere.
The relentless pursuit of our vision to reach the standards of excellence so high in everything we do that we have no competition has enabled us to grow to an asset size of over $1 Billion. We have never stopped growing, not even in the past two years. We now are looking forward to the day, not far away, when we will reach $2 Billion. We will do that by getting better every day and by truly helping our customers become more successful. Each time a customer hangs up the phone with one of our team members, we want them to think: “Wow, it was a great day - the day I started doing business with GreatAmerica!”
Leasing Copier Vendor gets 51 Months
Scott Arthur Waddell, 51, Raleigh, North Carolina was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for a Ponzi scheme that defrauded CIT, Marlin Business Services, Sun Trust, and US Bank Business Finance in over several thousand copiers, in an elaborate Ponzi scheme he ran for over seven years as a vendor Modern Office Solutions and PST Consultants. He was also ordered to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution as well as obtaining the copiers back that he was leasing too many corporations, churches and others for $75 a month, less than the leasing payments, as well as double and triple leasing and no equipment at all financing, fooling these leasing companies for many years.
The first to catch on to the scheme was Lyon Financial Services, Inc. d/b/a US Bancorp Business Equipment Finance Group, who filed against him 7/18/2008 for $1,167,969. US Bank Business Finance was having problems with Wildwood Industries, a $50 million insurance company case they lost when the vendor stopped servicing the leases. In this case Biomeriux in North Carolina had 50 leases at $8175 a month for 60 months, and filed bankruptcy and US Bancorp claimed PST did not disclose material information. This case was put aside and then came back February 28, 2009. Shortly thereafter Scott Waddell was indicted by Deputy US Attorney General David A. Bragnon on April 14, 2009.
It basically concerned leases to "businesses and charities" as Modern Office Solutions, often changing the original term on the signed lease when funding to a leasing company, as well as forge documents, and in many cases made the arrangements to make payments on behalf of the lessee. Like many Ponzi schemes, eventually there is not enough money coming in to make the payments and the situation implodes.
US Bank 7-18-08 filing:
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Mortgage rates lowest ever in recent history
Mortgage rates on home loans to qualified borrowers have never been lower, according to Freddie Mac's survey of lenders.
The rates are the lowest since the giant mortgage finance company began tracking the 30-year rate in 1971 and the 15-year rate in 1991.
According to Freddie Mac, mortgage lenders were offering an average rate of 4.27% this week on 30-year fixed-rate loans, down from 4.32% last week. The average for 15-year fixed loans was 3.72%, down from 3.75% last week. Reportedly, lenders were requesting about 0.8% of the loan balance in upfront lender fees on the 30-year loan and 0.7% on the 15-year fixed mortgage.
One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.22 percent; four weeks ago, it was 4.58 percent.
The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 7 basis points, to 3.87 percent. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell 4 basis points, to 3.64 percent, and the benchmark 30-year fixed jumbo fell 2 basis points, to 5.14 percent.
Leasing Industry Help Wanted
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To get ahead, read the new CLP Handbook
Whether you are or are not considering becoming a Certified Leasing Professional, the best gift you can give yourself or make available for your staff is the new CLP Handbook.
You don't need to read the entire book or study for a CLP exam to get value here. This is not just for new sales personnel, or new operation employees, or those new in leasing, but to veterans who need to get up-dated on the most recent changes and practices in equipment finance and leasing.
Send an email or call to order your handbooks today at $59.95 with discounts for quantity orders:
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Financial and Sales Training
These individuals act as a consultant in 75% or more of their main business, actually training staff or individuals of a leasing company. These are not schools or franchisors, which can be viewed
Several hold classes, and most will travel to their client's premise.
To qualify for this page, they must be an active member in an equipment leasing association.
Second Column: YCS - Year Company Started | YELB - Years in equipment Leasing Business
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Brad Harmon, CLP to Cover NEFA Symposium
Brad Harmon, CLP, President of First Star Capital, Walnut Creek, California will be covering for Leasing News the National Equipment Finance Association Funding Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Note: the early bird registration has been extended to October 15.
Leasing Association 2010 Conferences
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November 12-13, 2010
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“Documentation” Fees, Semantics and a War Story
Anyone who pays attention to what is now going on Congress and a number of state legislatures knows that watchdog debtor-protection advocates are pushing for all kinds of reforms relating to fees that banks and finance companies should be allowed to charge their customers. Leasing and lending activity is at a multi-year low, and many lessors, banks and finance companies are trying to make up for decreased revenues by increasing the ancillary fees they charge their customers. “Fee ripoffs” is becoming a household expression.
Generally, the law relating to commercial leasing and lending allows a lessor or lender to charge “reasonable” fees, provided the fee is adequately disclosed to the customer beforehand. Having said that, though, the fee must be adequately described and detailed. If the right contractual language is not used, then a pitfall awaits the unwary lessor or lender.
Here’s a small war story from my days as an in-house equipment finance attorney:
A discounter charged his lessee a $349 fee described in the application simply as a “Documentation Fee.” Ten days later, he sold the transaction to my company. A few days later, we filed a UCC financing statement and charged our out-of-pocket costs to the lessee, which was permitted under the lease. Upon receiving the invoice containing the UCC charge, the lessee had had just about enough. A critical mass of perceived abuse formed in his thinking. He refused to pay the UCC filing fee and, while he was at it, questioned the legality of the $349 “documentation” fee.
A small-ticket lease documentation set takes the average broker or discounter just about four-and-a-half minutes to complete, by my estimate. The discounter fills in about ten boxes on the form, and he’s done. Meaning: this particular lessee had a valid point. From his perspective, the fee was a ripoff. When he called us to complain, we referred him back to the discounter, who agreed to refund all but $100 of the fee.
The moral of the story? You can charge your customer a reasonable fee for putting the transaction together, but you’re skating on thin ice if you call it a “documentation” fee. Use a more expansive term like “processing fee.” (Avoid “origination fee” because some states have statutes limiting what can be charged as an “origination” fee in loan transactions, and it’s possible they could apply to your “nominal” lease transactions.) In your document, disclose that the fee is intended to cover the broad panoply of work that goes into getting the deal done for the lessee. State that the fee covers a multiplicity of pre-transactional work, “including but not limited to” activities such as credit investigation time and expense, the cost to obtain credit bureau reports, and the documentation of the transaction.
In short, the law will usually charge you with the obligation to be precise in your terminology. It will hold no sympathy for your argument that, in using the term “documentation” fee, “it’s simply a matter of semantics.”
Michael Witt was Managing Counsel at Wells Fargo & Co and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Advanta Leasing Corporation. He is now in private practice in Iowa.
“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and “Nowhere Boy” give movie audiences a double-bill of gentle tales about struggling youngsters, while DVD watchers can help themselves to a hit (“How to Train Your Dragon”), a sleeper (“Leaves of Grass”), and a masterpiece (“The Thin Red Line”).
It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Focus Pictures): Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the talented filmmakers better known for dramas like “Half Nelson” and “Sugar,” try their hand at comedy with their latest movie, which often plays like a whimsical version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Craig (Keir Gilchrist) is a depressed 16-year-old who checks himself into a psychiatric hospital in hopes of finding his bearings. He meets several odd characters during his wanderings through the ward, though none quite like Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), a patient whose droll exterior masks emotional trouble and who becomes Craig’s mentor as well as his friend in need. Making use of animation and unexpected musical numbers, the movie is a gentle portrait of emotional healing which gives “The Hangover’s” Galifianakis a chance to show off different sides of his unique persona.
Nowhere Boy (The Weinstein Company): The childhood of notorious Beatles member John Lennon is the subject of this accomplished biopic, which is already gathering early awards-season buzz. Taking place in Lennon’s native Liverpool in the mid-1950s, it follows the young lad (played by Aaron Johnson) as he stumbles into the colorful world of rock ‘n’ roll as a way to escape from the dreariness of everyday life. It’s not long before he becomes friends with a certain teenaged Paul McCartney, though tragedy involving his Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) puts his resilience to the test. Will the boy be able to deal with the pressures of becoming a world-famous icon? Catch the movie, and then revisit John Lennon’s music for a full view of the artist.
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How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Studios): Vikings and dragons may be natural enemies in old-fashioned fairy tales, but they make an inspired pair in this winning animated feature from DreamWorks. Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) is an awkward teenager who, in order to impress his tough-warrior father (Gerard Butler) and the girl he has a crush on (America Ferrera), captures a small dragon. Unable to bring himself to slay it, however, Hiccup takes care of the creature and, through their unlikely friendship, learns new ways of looking at the world. Directed by Dean DeBois and Chris Sander, the duo responsible for the underrated “Lilo & Stitch,” this is a consistently enjoyable mix of 3-D thrills and heartfelt messages about compassion.
Leaves of Grass (First Look Studios): While most films are content to have one mood and stick to it, this new movie by writer-director Tim Blake Nelson offers a variety of contrasting tones that’s as strange as it is invigorating. Edward Norton displays his versatility in a dual role, playing Bill, a staid philosophy professor, and Brady, the loopy twin brother in trouble with the law. Returning home to his Oklahoma hometown, Bill quickly gets mixed in with his brother’s world of crime, dodging bullets while falling in love with a local schoolteacher (Keri Russell). A notable creator of eccentric tragedies, Nelson creates an unpredictable atmosphere where humor and violence often come together in bursts reminiscent of the Coen Brothers (“No Country for Old Men”).
The Thin Red Line (Criterion): One of modern cinema’s few true geniuses, director Terrence Malick so rarely makes a film that, when it does, it becomes an event among cinema lovers. Such is the case for this spellbinding war film, which was overshadowed by “Saving Private Ryan” when it came out in 1998 yet now enjoys a richly deserved reputation as one of the decade’s greatest movies. Set in 1943, it tells the intertwined stories of a group of American soldiers in Guadalcanal as they fight Japanese forces for control of a stronghold. Using an astonishingly impressionistic style, Malick creates a mix of brutality and lyricism, visceral violence and transcendental spirit, that should resonate with audiences long after the film is over. The large cast includes Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, George Clooney, John Travolta, John Cussack, and Woody Harrelson.
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