2016 and perhaps beyond.
For 2015, we enjoyed an increase in
volume with only nominal bad debts,
and we hope to see these trends
continue this year. I firmly believe that
the factoring product remains one
of the best commercial bargains. So I
think we’re all in all in a decent place
as an industry and we look forward to
a successful 2016.
Let’s turn it around and talk about
where we see the most opportunities
for growth in 2016.
ESSIG: Our primary area of activity is
U.S. domestic… recognizing, of course,
that a sizable percentage of our
clients source product from abroad.
About two years ago, somebody asked
this same question and I said one of
the areas of growth is export finance.
This morning I noted that about two
years ago the euro-dollar exchange
rate was $1.38, now it’s $1.09 with a
similar differential with the Canadian currency. All of the interest in
exports seemed to disappear with the
strengthening of the U.S. dollar.
Specific to the traditional factoring
market, we’ve all been very heavily involved in apparel, footwear,
furniture, housewares and electronic.
I read a Moody’s report the other day
that said the outlook in the apparel
and footwear business is about for
3 to 5 percent growth in 2016, down
from 5 to 7 percent in 2015. It’s been
well-publicized that the strong U.S.
dollar has discouraged tourists in the
U.S. from spending on certain brands,
which will also be a continuing drag
on retail sales. Housewares and furniture seem to be very strong within our
The largest manufacturing segment
of our portfolio, (via our Michigan
office) is in the automotive industry,
and automobile sales, as we know, are
continuing strong so that segment is
After all the year-end analysis is
completed, the results will likely
show that we continue to focus in our
core markets with strong emphasis
on business development and client
retention to grow and maintain a
strong portfolio. Not likely to achieve
any significant same-to-same client
growth in 2016.
HELLER: We’re working reasonably
aggressively in Asia, in Hong Kong,
Taiwan and China and have seen some
significant growth in import business
coming from there to the U.S. We see
that continuing to grow significantly,
especially out of Hong Kong in 2016.
In 2015 we completed the acquisition of One West Bank, based in
Southern California, which provides
us a deeper bench of products that we
didn’t have before. This, in turn, could
provide us more opportunities for our
West Coast office, as well as provide
products that we can sell to some of
our other clients throughout the country. We plan for growth in 2016 that
has us touching different markets that
we haven’t touched before. We have
committed ourselves to go forward
aggressively in these markets, to test
and manage them, and see if there is
business to grow.
Additionally, we also see opportunity in the furniture space. Our furniture
business has grown nicely in 2015 and
we expect it to continue to grow in ’ 16.
We also see ecommerce as an enormous growth business. Even though it
represents a small total percentage of
apparel and accessory and footwear
and home goods sales, it’s still a large
number of dollars. To be successful,
we’ve got to be ahead of the game,
understand how to deal with it and
understand that the world is changing
In the end, I look at the overall value
we bring to our clients. I believe that all
of us and our teams are experts in the
markets we serve. That’s what we offer
well, in excess of anybody else in the
marketplace. For example, we can offer acquisitions to clients in situations
where we know who the buyers are
and who may want to be the sellers.
That sort of relationship is priceless
and takes years to build.
STANLEY: I was in sunny Las Vegas
last week at the Consumer Electronics
Show, which represents an expanding marketplace for us. We have a
significant number of clients in that
category, and it continues to amaze
me—the technology and the broad
array of products that are coming to
market. We’re witnessing emerging
trends in wearable tech, which is an
exciting and rapidly evolving segment
of the industry. And we’re also seeing
a continuing paradigm shift in the way
consumers shop and buy, most notably with the steady and rapid growth
of the online marketplace. It’s an
environment that affords us many opportunities, but one that also presents
its own unique challenges. Historically, factors have focused on financing
B2B accounts receivable and inventory
destined for brick-and-mortar retailers. Now, we need to develop innovative ways to finance business that is
flowing directly to the consumer. This
is where we see the growth opportunities going forward.
BRISTER: Our business is probably a
little bit different than some of the
others on the phone, just in scope.
We’re in five different vertical segments. So I might broaden the reach
just beyond retail a little bit, because
again, I see retail being continuing to
be challenged and I think, as noted by
others, that you are going to see a lot
of consolidation, you’re going to the
move to online and all the omni channels, it’s going to become even more
And on the flipside, I would say that
one of the benefits of that disruption is that there probably will be a
few more bankruptcies coming out
of it that may actually help our value
proposition of explaining to people
why factoring is a good product and
that insuring your receivables is also a
good thing to do.
From the growth standpoint in
2016, we’re seeing growth in our government servicing group that centers
on government contracting. And given