ELFA Equipment Leasing & Finance -Nov/Dec 2012 : Page 28

o D iscovering PPorTuniTies For growTh Are ALL ArounD us , even amid a sluggish economy. Th at’s the message embraced by more than 900 equipment leasing and fi nance executives who gathered in Palm Desert, Calif., for the 51st ELFA Annual Convention in late October. Over three days of information sharing, educational sessions and networking, attendees uncovered new ideas, con-nected with industry experts and cultivated relationships centered around the convention theme, “Discovering Opportunities.” ing project and what it means for the industry and its customers. At the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation Luncheon, business coach Scott Deming provided marketing and brand-ing pointers for the new economy. In a year of record recruitment and reten-tion among the ELFA membership, the levels of turnout and engagement at the Convention were equally impressive. From the Business Council luncheons to the networking recep-tions to the community service projects, mem-bers were out in full force, uncovering new op-portunities for equipping business for success. Keynote speakers addressed packed audi-ences with their perspectives and expertise on a range of issues relevant to the industry. For-mer FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, who presided over one of the most tumultuous periods in the U.S. economy, shared her insights into the nation’s fi nancial sector. Political expert Charlie Cook shared his outlook on the November elections and the political landscape in Washington. Russ Golden, member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, discussed the lease-account-Adaptability Is Key, Says DeMent in his con v en Tion A DDress, outgoing Chairman Crit DeMent noted that despite uncertainties on the political, regulatory and international fronts, the equipment fi nance industry has a lot to be optimistic about. Drawing on a tradition of resiliency, the in-dustry is fi nding new ways to foster growth by responding to changing market demands and adapting to the new business climate. Even amid a tepid fi nancial recovery and unresolved factors ranging from Dodd-Frank to the lease-accounting project, it’s an exciting President and ceo woody sutton outgoing chairman crit Dement The convention drew more than 900 attendees. 28 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 EquipmEnt LEasing & FinancE magazinE

Discovering Opportunities: 51st ELFA Annual Convention

OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH ARE ALL AROUND US, even amid a sluggish economy. That’s the message embraced by more than 900 equipment leasing and finance executives who gathered in Palm Desert, Calif., for the 51st ELFA Annual Convention in late October. Over three days of information sharing, educational sessions and networking, attendees uncovered new ideas, connected with industry experts and cultivated relationships centered around the convention theme, “Discovering Opportunities.” <br /> <br /> In a year of record recruitment and retention among the ELFA membership, the levels of turnout and engagement at the Convention were equally impressive. From the Business Council luncheons to the networking receptions to the community service projects, members were out in full force, uncovering new opportunities for equipping business for success.<br /> <br /> Keynote speakers addressed packed audiences with their perspectives and expertise on a range of issues relevant to the industry. Former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, who presided over one of the most tumultuous periods in the U.S. economy, shared her insights into the nation’s financial sector. Political expert Charlie Cook shared his outlook on the November elections and the political landscape in Washington. Russ Golden, member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, discussed the lease-accounting project and what it means for the industry and its customers. At the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation Luncheon, business coach Scott Deming provided marketing and branding pointers for the new economy.<br /> <br /> Adaptability Is Key, Says DeMent<br /> IN HIS CONVENTION ADDRESS, outgoing Chairman Crit DeMent noted that despite uncertainties on the political, regulatory and international fronts, the equipment finance industry has a lot to be optimistic about. Drawing on a tradition of resiliency, the industry is finding new ways to foster growth by responding to changing market demands and adapting to the new business climate. <br /> <br /> Even amid a tepid financial recovery and unresolved factors ranging from Dodd-Frank to the lease-accounting project, it’s an exciting time to be in business, said DeMent. “Opportunities are a little different today than they were just a few years ago,” he acknowledged. “The tools that we use to take advantage of those opportunities have changed as well. The field of play may have changed somewhat, but it’s still an exceptionally rewarding game.”<br /> <br /> The keys to success? Flexibility and adaptability. “We need to be highly flexible and exceptionally agile in order to succeed today, and to capitalize on opportunities as they arise,” said DeMent. “Our new reality is that we must adapt to the demands of the marketplace, not the other way around.”<br /> <br /> DeMent pointed to technology as one area rife with opportunity. He encouraged equipment finance companies to position themselves at the cutting edge of new technologies, and to use technology to streamline business activities and add value to customers. “To succeed today you need to… embrace the new technologies that have become available, and leverage them to become more competitive and more successful.”<br /> <br /> Drawing on the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation study “Financing the Cloud,” he predicted that cloud computing will bring about a major transformation of the equipment leasing and finance business, as leasing and financing providers not only fund the infrastructure for the cloud but also fund intangibles, such as software and cloud-related services.<br /> <br /> Whatever the area of growth, the equipment leasing and finance industry will remain a vital force in the economy, not only weathering the uncertainty but also helping to move the recovery along, he said. “The way I see it, we hold the keys to our nation’s prosperity,” he added. “We, as an industry, are working hard to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities that are present every day so that we can stimulate growth and get businesses back in the game.”<br /> <br /> Sutton Highlights a “Very Successful” Year<br /> IN HIS ANNUAL “STATE OF THE ASSOCIATION” address to the Convention, President and CEO William G. Sutton, CAE, said 2012 has been a very successful year for ELFA, thanks to the input of an engaged membership and elected leadership. Sutton reported that the association is financially sound and on track to end the year with a budget surplus. He highlighted some key accomplishments in the areas of communications and outreach, which have been major areas of focus over the past year, including:<br /> <br /> * Expanded media coverage of ELFA’s Monthly Leasing and Finance Index and the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index, which have appeared regularly in financial trade publications and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on several occasions.<br /> <br /> * Enhanced outreach to end-users about the value of equipment leasing and finance, from the October launch of ELFA’s new end-user website, www.EquipmentFinanceAdvantage.com, to the publication of bylined articles on the value of equipment finance in dozens of trade verticals. <br /> <br /> * The launch of a new and improved ELFA web site, www.elfaonline.org, featuring enhanced content, improved navigation, greater interactivity and mobile-friendly content to help industry executives access the information they need quickly and easily.<br /> <br /> * The impending publication by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation of a comprehensive market-sizing study, which will help to define our industry’s reach and impact on the economy.<br /> <br /> * The development by the Financial Institutions Business Council Steering Committee of a guest lecture presentation slide deck to explain the equipment finance industry to those aspiring to a career in financial services.<br /> <br /> * The successful overhaul of Equipment Leasing & Finance magazine, which was recognized as a “most improved” association publication in 2012. <br /> <br /> “All of this, along with our vast repository of industry statistics, research and information, contributes to the reputation of the industry and the credibility of the association as the true industry voice for use in our advocacy efforts,” said Sutton.<br /> <br /> The association’s state and federal government relations programs are on track and having a positive impact on behalf of the industry, Sutton noted. During the Convention, the Board of Directors approved an industry policy statement concerning comprehensive tax reform, which will be a major area of focus for ELFA in the coming year. The lease-accounting project will also be a major area of focus, said Sutton, and he encouraged all members and their customers and analysts to comment to the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board when the revised exposure draft is released.<br /> <br /> In addition, noted Sutton, ELFA’s conferences and educational programs have been well received this year and programming will expand in 2013 to include an Executive Roundtable, March 10-12. The online Conference Resource Center, featuring recorded sessions and handouts, is growing with each event.<br /> In the most important area of membership, the association met or exceeded all of its goals this year. Sutton noted that the Membership Committee will continue its efforts to reach regional and community banks who are in the equipment finance space.<br /> <br /> Sutton concluded by saying, “A member-driven organization such as ELFA thrives on active and involved volunteers. Thank you for your appreciation of our value proposition and for your continued support and participation!”<br /> <br /> Sweat Equity<br /> CONVENTION ATTENDEES participated in two community service projects. A total of 50 attendees worked for Habitat for Humanity of the Coachella Valley to revitalize a property in Indio, Calif. A total of 70 attendees worked with Build-a-Bike to build bicycles for children with volunteers from the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley. ELFA donated $12,500 to Habitat for Humanity and $12,500 to the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley, thanks to the generous support of the sponsors listed on page 33.<br /> <br /> Dear ELFA:<br /> I just returned from vacation and saw a check come across my desk for $12,500 from ELFA… that is extraordinarily generous of the Association and on behalf of all our kids, many thanks! We have recently opened up a brand new Clubhouse in MECCA—far eastern part of the valley (I am sure many Caterpillars and Deere products work hard out there) which makes our fifth Club in the desert and brings us to more than 7,500 youth as members.<br /> <br /> This gift will go a long way in making the holidays brighter for so many of our kids… thank you and your other members.<br /> <br /> Best,<br /> Jan Hawkins<br /> Director of Development<br /> Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley<br />  <br />

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