Frederick M. Van Etten: Success Breeds Success

by Monitor Staff Vol. 48 No. 4 2021
Frederick M. Van Etten has built and formed multiple equipment finance businesses during his long career in the industry and that experience has taught him that remaining patient and producing at a high level are the keys to not only gaining success but inspiring others.

Frederick M. Van Etten,
Midland Equipment Finance

To Frederick M. Van Etten, becoming a leader takes more than what you can pick up in a book — it’s something you gain by producing at a high level. Van Etten believes high performers motivate the people around them, regardless of their place in a company’s organizational structure.

“If you want to be a leader in your organization, be the best at what you do,” Van Etten says. “Be looked upon in the company as that person who everyone goes to when there is a problem or when the company needs critical items completed.”

Van Etten has certainly been a top performer, having built and run multiple equipment finance businesses since he first stepped into the industry, including Scottrade Bank Equipment Finance and Midland Equipment Finance, where he currently serves as president.

“I have always been performance and success focused in my life and I don’t see any reason to change now,” Van Etten says.

Van Etten has been at the helm for Midland Equipment Finance since its inception in 2018. At the time, Midland States Bank approached Van Etten to build out a larger equipment finance business following its acquisition of Heartland Business Credit. Van Etten, who was then with Scottrade, brought his management team to lead the business, which has grown to $900 million in assets.

Midland Equipment Finance has maintained its growth trajectory during the COVID-19 pandemic because of its patience and consistency.

“Midland Equipment Finance has been a consistent performer due to our focus on key lending segments that we know well and have long-term relationships in,” Van Etten says. “We have not deviated far from our core industry segments and customer profiles, which have shown over the years to be highly resilient to economic swings.”

According to Van Etten, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Midland Equipment Finance has learned the value of encouraging collaboration and solving problems as a team. The pandemic has also forced the company to review its policies regarding work-life balance. But, as always, patience has been critical.

“Staying true to our principles and not changing business strategy considering a very dynamic, industry-changing environment,” Van Etten says. “We knew that, ultimately, the business would return, and we needed to be patient and not make short-term, rash decisions.”

Maintaining a long-term view is part of being a leader, and Van Etten has a set of goals laid out for Midland Equipment Finance, including the improvement of the customer experience through the adoption of cutting-edge digital tools and platforms. Such developments will help as the business takes aim at surpassing $1 billion in portfolio size.

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