Asset Based Lending Experts in Need; Poaching Continues

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Despite mass layoffs across a large swath of the financial sector, asset based lenders are again looking for senior staff and poaching experienced players from the biggest competitors. Rockland Trust recently hired a team of ABL professionals from Webster Bank.

SunTrust is moving to expand beyond its footprint of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, naming former CIT exec Lan K. Haverfield to the post of managing director and group head for its asset based lending loan production offices.

Jaime Ward recently took over as senior VP and national group head of the RBS Retail Finance Group, after serving at Bank of America. Ward spoke to eFinancialCareers and said that the rotation of senior level staff is a bit typical in the ABL sector. But many regional ABL lenders are setting up "retail finance" groups, says Ward, so there's a big demand for lenders with ABL retail experience.

"I include RBS Business Capital in this group, as I am a recipient of this hiring trend," Ward added. "Almost all of the talent and experience in this category is in Boston, where many folks got their start at Bank of America or Wells Fargo retail finance groups." Much of the new retail finance activity's occurred at regional players, particularly those in the Midwest and South, notes Ward.

So what's on the horizon for ABL? The Commercial Finance Association Quarterly Asset Based Lending Index for the 2nd Quarter of 2011 reports a sharp increase in demand for new credit by U.S. businesses. The index is based on data provided by the association's 20 largest asset-based lenders.

The growth in new credit commitments, as well as credit line utilization and improvements in ABL lender portfolio performance points to a slow and steady improvement in the economy. The improvements also bode well for future hiring.

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