ABL Firms Seek Out Collateral Specialists

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Asset based lending (ABL) may be the forgotten stepsister of the finance world but it's still a very safe and consistent bet for those who work their way into this specialized sector. When traditional lending contracts, as it does in the midst of recession or a market downturn, secured lenders such as ABL players and factors, usually pick up the slack.

Jobs are opening up at firms that specifically provide collateral analysis for financial institutions or at the lenders who are specialty ABL shops or big banks with ABL divisions.

Surprisingly, new credit commitments in ABL increased a sizeable 13.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. The often overlooked asset-based lending sector continues to expand, with collateral specialists taking a spot front and center.

The current economic conditions are making ABL players look more closely at their clients before they lend. That explains the lookout for collateral specialists and collateral valuation personnel. Collateral specialists are usually those who've been around the ABL block, so to speak. Generally, the spot is for midcareer professionals with ABL field experience, as well as deep lending, financial, accounting and auditing skills.

Keep an eye out for opportunities to grow at the bigger asset-based lenders. The top ABL players still dominant the field. Some of the bigger ABL players remain the bigger banks, with separate asset-based lending divisions at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Outside of the big banks, look for the other biggest ABL players, CIT and GE Capital, to have job activity.

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