After a fortuitous stumble into equipment finance, Scott McClain built a rewarding career through industry exploration and relationship development. McClain’s passion for smart growth has earned IBERIA a spot on the Monitor 100 and a recently closed merger with First Horizon Bank.
Scott McClain, EVP & Managing Director, IBERIA Corporate Asset Finance
Scott McClain got his industry start as a credit analyst for a truck leasing company. After six years of learning the business from the ground up, he transitioned into banking, credit and direct sales before expanding outside of transportation into a multitude of other industries, the most recent being renewable energy financing.
Although he “fell into” equipment finance by chance, McClain finds the industry very rewarding. “I’ve had a great career. I do business all over the country, which afforded me the opportunity to see a lot of things and go to a lot of places,” he says. “And I’ve had the pleasure of developing personal relationships with so many people that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to meet.”
As a leader, McClain’s passions include smart growth and observing his team’s professional development. “It’s kind of neat to watch the light bulb turn on when [new hires] come to ask you a question and you can lead them to water to where they can answer it themselves,” McClain says. “And I still learn. I don’t think any of us are done learning. As we continue to grow and see new things, it shapes you, molds you in being able to transfer that knowledge to the team.”
The prominent short-term goal for IBERIA in the first half of 2020 was closing its merger with First Horizon Bank on July 1, getting the company integrated as it becomes First Horizon Equipment Finance and “making sure we’re staffed properly to handle the growth because it’s going to come,” McClain says.
In the long-term, McClain’s priorities include building out the direct sales team, investing in technology and growing the renewable energy business. When the bank started looking into renewable energy in 2014, the ESG initiatives for corporations and banks weren’t a big priority, McClain notes. “That has changed dramatically in the last year, year and a half, to where the corporations are questioning what they are doing to further their environmental, social and governance initiatives.”
Emerging from the pandemic, McClain predicts there will be some pent-up demand for loans because CAPEX is being pushed off until people can get a better picture of what the horizon looks like. “Once we figure out a vaccine or treatments become more refined to where people aren’t as scared to get out and start spending money and juicing the economy, then we’ll see the pent-up demand create CAPEX demand for our industry.”
McClain believes staying innovative is one thing the industry does very well. “We find ways to create new structures, new ways to do things and become more efficient.” His future goal for the industry is its continued differentiation from traditional bank products. “When you’re working in a bank-owned equipment finance company, I think [differentiation] sets us apart from a general banker and adds value to the overall organization.”