National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers
The National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers (NAELB) 2007 Annual Conference will be held May 17–19 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. There will be more than 50 exhibitors, 20 workshops and unlimited opportunities for networking. The theme is “The Sweet Sound of Success,” which is appropriate. In 2006, we set attendance records at our annual conference and two regional meetings. The staff processed a record 297 new memberships. At year-end 2006, with 875 members, NAELB is the largest equipment leasing association in the United States and continuing to grow.
New members come from all walks of life with varying education and professional backgrounds. As I talk with individuals interested in becoming lease brokers, some of the aspects that attract them to the industry are the minimal barriers of entry to becoming lease brokers, as well as the freedom and independence of having the choice to work from home. They all have doubts, questions and economic concerns. They ask the same questions about success and failure (which I tell them is not an option), as well as business sources and funding sources. My answers and recommendations never vary. I tell these individuals to visit the NAELB website (www.NAELB.org ); read the association’s mission statement; watch the Distance Learning presentation, “On Being A Broker” presented by Gerry Egan, an experienced lease broker and past president of NAELB; join NAELB; and no matter how much knowledge they have, there is always more to learn at our annual conference and regional meetings.
NAELB is a volunteer organization formed by a small group of brokers from Atlanta more than 16 years ago. As of this writing, membership consists of 875 member companies of which 733 are brokers, 104 are funding sources and 38 are service providers. The mission statement of NAELB is to promote the interest of its members through education, advocacy, improved communication and programs designed to enhance the professionalism and profitability of brokers, funders and others engaged in the business of equipment lease financing.
All policies and decisions are made by the board of directors, which consists of eight broker members. There are more than 70 volunteers from all member categories serving on numerous committees and special task forces, each of which is important to the operation of the NAELB. The daily processing, administration, accounting and events planning are outsourced to a professional association management company.
There are those that incorrectly perceive NAELB as an association for new or inexperienced lease brokers. On the contrary, of last year’s 251 new broker members, only 29% had no prior leasing experience. These statistics confirm NAELB attracts a healthy mixture of both new and experienced lease brokers searching for education, networking opportunities and member benefits only the association can provide.
Education is the foundation of the NAELB. At this year’s conference, educational workshops are categorized into either sales or operations categories. The workshops are clearly marked as appropriate for beginners, intermediate or those with advanced leasing knowledge. Sessions applying towards CLP recertification are clearly noted as well.
New this year is the NAELB Broker 101 class. This is a four-hour interactive training session designed for new brokers. Presenters will cover topics such as setting up your office, generating business and funding transactions. This class is an excellent opportunity for the new broker to learn real-world applications from more experienced brokers.
NAELB is also the industry leader in Internet-based education. Our Distance Learning Program is a web-based education program, which can be viewed anytime via the association website. These diverse programs are good tools for both new and experienced employees. The first six modules are complete; three presented by Egan and three by Dave and Steve Allison. The Egan sessions are available now and the Allison sessions will be available in the coming months. Look for announcements in the mail and keep checking the website for those modules.
The quickest path for acquiring the skills necessary to be a successful lease broker is to learn from other successful lease brokers. This informal training, which we call networking, takes place at all NAELB functions. NAELB is known for being an open and caring association. You will feel the NAELB spirit at all NAELB events.
When NAELB surveys our members, we ask them what they consider the most important benefit of joining. The NAELB Ethics program is always in the top three. Broker members want to associate with others that adhere to a strict standard of behavior. Our membership application and renewal forms require members to sign a statement that they will abide by the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is posted on the public section of the website where it is accessible for anyone to view the policy and learn the procedure to file a complaint against an NAELB member.
At this year’s Annual Conference, NAELB will offer our first ever “Best Business Practices” examination. Correct answers will be based on the NAELB Code of Ethics. The exam fee is $100. Those interested can sign up when they register for the conference. Those that pass the exam will be given a license from NAELB to use the term “NAELB Best Practices Broker” on their letterhead, business cards, brochures and similar items. This member benefit will enable the broker to market themselves to their customers, vendors and funders as an NAELB Best Practices Broker.™
Technology is an important tool for the growth of NAELB. As with any forward-thinking organization, NAELB continually evaluates its technology needs. A special task force is currently reviewing evaluations and recommendations from consultants to improve our website. The task force has two goals: improve the branding of the association and create a more user-friendly, members-only section.
The public portion of the website is the association’s primary marketing tool to attract new members as well as promote all upcoming events. The finished product will be a professional user-friendly site.
The Members Only section is the processing center for the association. Event registrations and member applications are processed online. Members can update their profile, research for funding sources, lease documents and find other members. Special features include Leasing Logic, Distance Learning and the most popular feature, The Forum. The goal of the association is to help members utilize the website by making it easier to navigate.
Today, lenders are under pressure to meet volume requirements without sacrificing credit quality or margins. Lenders who have traditionally stayed away from broker business are turning to brokers to fill the volume gap. Other lenders who have historically avoided unfamiliar markets are now entering these markets because of the expertise of brokers.
As NAELB brokers develop, many have expanded into middle-market transactions. Consequently, middle-market lenders have recognized the value of brokers and are accepting transactions from qualified brokers.
Brokers are also under pressure to create new sources of revenue. Some brokers are redefining themselves and creating additional revenue streams by offering other financial services such as factoring, asset-based lending, commercial real estate mortgages, resource products and SBA loans, to name a few. Funders are readily available and willing to accept broker referrals. The future is indeed bright; 2007 will be another successful year for brokers!
Posted In: NEWS
Association, equipment, Finance, lease
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