Ken Walters put a five-year plan together when Investors Bank acquired his team and its portfolio from EverBank in 2018. In two years, his team has exceeded those initial goals and earned a spot in the Monitor 100.
Kenneth L. Walters, Jr, Group Leader, Investors Bank Equipment Finance
Ken Walters found his industry niche at CIT, where he worked for 18 years across many disciplines, including internal audit, equipment finance, capital markets and equity investment. He then led Emigrant Bank’s private equity investment group, Emigrant Capital, for seven years before serving as president of Emigrant Business Credit, the bank’s equipment finance group.
In 2014, Walters moved to EverBank and started EverBank Capital Equipment Finance with business partner Sondra Rowland. In four years, the portfolio grew to $340 million. In 2018, Investors Bank acquired both the team and portfolio.
Walters attributes this success in leadership to his passion for team building. “When you put all the pieces together and assemble an exceptional team, the rest falls into place. The team allows you to provide superior service to your customers and to achieve the growth and profit goals of the bank.”
Walters feels fortunate to have found a home at Investors. The bank’s culture of prioritizing customer service and giving back to its local communities aligned with the team’s values. “It has been very energizing being part of such an organization,” Walters says.
Like most companies grappling with the effects of COVID-19, near-term goals for Investors Bank Equipment Finance focus on assisting customers through the pandemic. Looking at the rest of the year, Walters is optimistic. He believes the industry is going to emerge very well on the other side due to the critical nature of equipment finance and the services its customers provide.
“We had very strong growth in the first half of the year largely due to our indirect business. We were able to capitalize on larger banks needing to shrink their portfolios,” Walters says. “I’m concerned we may see a slowdown during the summer as companies have delayed capital expenditures. Hopefully there is some pent-up demand over the balance of the year.”
Long-term goals for Investors Bank Equipment Finance include growing its direct sales force and expanding in the lender finance space to help support non-bank lenders. “We currently have two direct salespeople in the bank’s footprint,” Walters says. “Over time we plan to add salespeople in key markets throughout the country.”
Walters believes that attracting top next generation leaders is key to the long-term viability of the industry. “I’m on the financial institutions steering committee for the ELFA and I know [they are] putting a lot of time and energy into increasing diversity and attracting talent.”