BOK Financial Equipment Finance, Inc. sees good times ahead for the heavy equipment industry as construction activity remains steady throughout most metro areas, in addition to the significant amount of road and bridge work underway. “The need for equipment is pretty vibrant all over the country,” said Martin Brown, senior vice president and manager of BOK Financial Equipment Finance.
The company provides financing to more than 100 heavy equipment dealers in 43 states, delivered by an 11-person team based in Dallas, Texas. BOK Financial Equipment Finance is a subsidiary of BOK Financial, the banking subsidiary of BOK Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: BOKF), a top 25 U.S.-based commercial bank headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.*
“As everyone in the construction equipment industry knows, it’s extremely capital intensive,” Brown said. “During the last few years, we’ve focused on expanding our offerings to meet industry needs, which have been affected by technological changes and the increased demand for rental equipment.
“Changes in the banking industry also have to be factored into the equation, including Dodd-Frank banking rules, particularly those that affect how regulators review and evaluate lending activity,” he said. “Keeping up with all of that is just part of doing business, but fortunately we have the strength of our parent company, BOK Financial, behind us to help with that.” Brown noted that the bank has operations in an eight-state footprint throughout the Midwest and the Southwest, and also has clients in specialty areas such as health care, energy, commercial real estate and Native American financial services from coast to coast.
“With our organization, our clients get the best of both worlds,” he said, “a strong, healthy bank with a balance sheet that can help businesses grown and expand, and a team of professionals dedicated to a specific industry.”
Brown said another major trend that is occurring in all industries is the need to plan for transitions in ownership and/or leadership. “We don’t see a lot of young entrepreneurs coming into the business,” he said. “There are many factors that affect business transition in this industry, which can include manufacturer input and ownership changes, access to capital, regional economic conditions, leadership rosters, etc. We’re beginning to see a lot of dealer principals who are ready to start thinking about a transition, which has led to more activity in the mergers and acquisitions space.”
Brown said his team frequently has succession conversations with owners, and he first works with them to identify what they want to happen to the business. “We believe having the dialogue is what needs to happen first – so we can understand what someone wants to do with their business, whether they want to transition it to a family member, a manager or a management team, or sell it to the employees. There are a number of options, and what’s best depends on your individual goals.” Brown said that’s where BOK Financial’s relationship-based approach is the strongest. “We believe in getting to know our clients and understanding their goals and objectives. A great financial partner knows your business, understands your goals and works collaboratively with you to help you get there.”
“Doing business is still about people,” he said. “Banking services like loans are largely a commodity. After all, a loan is a loan. But at the end of the day, we all want to work with people that we know we can trust, who have our best interests in mind, and who work hard to bring new solutions to the table that we otherwise might not see. That’s where our team makes the biggest impact, and why we continue to grow and expand with this important industry.”