his corner of The
Secured Lender invites
you to eavesdrop on a
conversation taking place
between several industry
players about a different
topic each issue. Pull up
a chair and get ready to
find out what Jon Anselma,
Steven Johnson and
George Shapiro have to
say about issues facing
in today’s economic
BRIAN COVE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF,
THE SECURED LENDER: There are
indications across the board that the
economy is slowly starting to grow;
have you seen evidence of this in your
own businesses in recent months?
STEPHEN JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, JD
FACTORS, LLC: We definitely are seeing
growth again, which is very refreshing,
because the end of 2008 and all of
2009 were pretty slow. We saw a lot
of volume from existing clients that
In the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2010 we saw our existing clients
start to grow again. Most of our growth
in purchases in the second half of last
year was with our existing clients.
New business started to pick up,
but nothing like we had in previous
years as far as putting new clients on. I
think that what speaks the most about
the economy starting to rebound is
I’m seeing it with my clients. They’re
growing again after some significant
letdown in their business and now
they’re starting to grow.
GEORGE SHAPIRO, CHAIRMAN & CEO,
THE INTERFACE FINANCIAL GROUP: We
are a transactional company, so I’ll be
talking more about new clients. We are
seeing some evidences of increasing
business activity across the board in
the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia.
More potential clients are requesting
funding due to the new projects they
are getting involved in. We have been
waiting for this development for some
One of our company’s specialties, for
example, is construction factoring, and
we’re starting to see demand for funding from the construction industry,
which is encouraging. It’s difficult to
say though if increasing business activity is a sustainable trend. I hope it is.
I’m cautiously optimistic about this.
COVE: What do you think, Jon?
JON ANSELMA, MANAGING DIRECTOR,
PARAGON FINANCIAL GROUP, INC.: As
factors, I’ve always said we’re one of
the greatest economic indicators of
small business, and I wouldn’t say that
I’m seeing economic growth across
the board, but, like Steve said, I’m
seeing current clients gain market
share in their businesses. Many of
their competitors have not survived
the economic downturn and they are
starting to gain that business.
On the new business side we are seeing increased activity also.
COVE: Would you say that certain
industries are indicators of a growing
economy, staffing or transportation,
for example. Are there are certain
industries that are out front in terms
of coming to you for funding when the
economy is starting to grow?
ANSELMA: We have always thought
that staffing and transportation are
the first businesses to decrease when
the economy is going down. And some
of the first businesses to increase when
the economy is improving.
SHAPIRO: I agree with you about
transportation and staffing, but, as I
said, construction, which might be a
little bit surprising, is also picking up.
JOHNSON: I would agree with that,
we have a significant amount of
transportation clients, and there is
some seasonality to that. The month
of January was not good for truckers
partly because the weather conditions
were pretty dismal to move things.
But, in general, that has been a large
amount of growth for us.
COVE: Well, let’s hope the growth
is sustainable and does continue for
everybody’s sake. What kind of lessons,
if any, did you all take away from the
experience of the recent credit crisis and
the accompanying recession? Did your
experiences change anything about the
way you are doing business now?
SHAPIRO: I think that The Secured
Lender has discussed during the last two
years changes that factoring industry
has made in credit approval, due
diligence, and risk mitigation process.
So for me, as for many of my colleagues, the credit discipline with less
exception was the case. The major
lesson for us was to understand how
deeply an economic crisis of this magnitude can affect the balance sheets of