Paul Fogle utilized his background in commercial lending to bring Quality Leasing into the national marketplace and increase the company portfolio from $20 million to $160 million in eight years.
Paul Fogle spent the first 23 years of his career in commercial real estate, working for a large bank and a Wall Street firm, with private investment banking firms, and as an independent broker and third-party originator. In 2012, Quality Leasing owner and long-time friend Jeff Wood asked Fogle to take the reins as managing director.
Quality Leasing was founded in 1957 as an adjunct to auto dealership financing. By 2012, the company still dealt in auto leasing but had begun the transition to more commercial business activity. “When I got here, it was becoming more corporate,” Fogle says. “We had some fleet clients and there were people that financed automobiles through their corporations. But what I found was the company dabbled regionally in a lot of different things but didn’t really have a focus.”
Although leasing was a new territory for Fogle, his background in commercial lending enabled him to identify profitable opportunities in the national marketplace. “There seemed to be a lack of lenders in over-the-road trucks and trailers in the B and C credit space, so we initially focused on this market,” Fogle says.
In addition to trucks and trailers, Quality Leasing now works across multiple equipment sectors, including manufacturing and medical. “When I started, the portfolio was about $20 million and we’re up to about $160 million today,” Fogle says. “So we’ve found some good niches.”
Other factors that contributed to Quality Leasing’s dynamic growth include servicing everything the company books and having an experienced team that handles individual relationships from start to finish. “Our salespeople are experts at commercial financing,” Fogle says. “They know how to underwrite. They know what to look for, what questions to ask and how to get transactions done. And the more knowledge you have, the more efficiently and successfully you can [accomplish] the task at hand.”
Quality Leasing also sources most of its volume from indirect channels now, which Fogle believes benefits earnings in the long term. “With the third-party channel, I think you can do more with fewer people and do it better,” Fogle says. “We really get the opportunity to build strong TPO relationships instead of trying to cast a wide net across the country by hiring a phone bank of telemarketers calling businesses all day long.”
The COVID-19 challenges at Quality Leasing included setting up remote work arrangements for the administrative team. The company also experienced a flood of deferral requests, which were granted on a case-by-case basis. The majority of deferred accounts are now paying as they were prior to the pandemic. “It’s a testament to our banking relationships that allowed us the flexibility to provide customers relief,” Fogle says.
Fogle’s biggest takeaway from the pandemic is a reinforced appreciation for the Quality Leasing team. “We have such great, caring people here that worked together to react quickly, pool brainpower, get creative and truly help the people that were negatively affected by this pandemic,” Fogle says. “The Quality staff obviously wants our company and our customers to do well, and the more people we can help out, the better off we all are.”
The transportation industry has been significantly affected by the pandemic economy. Now it is seeing a revival, from an equipment finance perspective, despite perceptions within the lending community that COVID-19 has had a negative impact.