Encina Lender Finance Expands Executive Leadership Team with New Hires, Graham Steps Down



Encina Lender Finance, ELF, expanded its executive leadership team designed to bolster the company’s position as a nonbank lender finance platform serving both commercial and consumer specialty finance companies in the U.S. and Canada. Luke Graham, who joined ELF at launch as its CEO, has left the company to pursue other opportunities.

The new hires are:

Edward Chang, CEO, joins the company from Wells Fargo Bank where he spent more than 15 years in various senior credit roles of increasing responsibility. Recently, he led the portfolio management function for the lender finance group within Wells Fargo Capital Finance, which provides credit facilities to a range of specialty finance companies across the United States. Chang is based out of ELF’s headquarters in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Mark Kassis, head of risk management, commercial vertical, will be joining the company from Regions Bank later in third quarter, is a more than 30 year veteran of the commercial finance industry. Recently, he has held various senior credit positions at Regions Business Capital with a primary focus on lender finance and asset-based lending. Kassis will be based out of ELF’s headquarters in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Bill Laird, head of risk management, consumer vertical, will be joining the company from Wells Fargo Bank in August and has been lending to consumer finance companies for more than 30 years. Most recently, he served as the national portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Preferred Capital with oversight responsibility for a range of consumer finance companies. Laird will be opening a new office for ELF in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

David Mattei, managing director, funding strategy, joins the company from GE Capital where he spent more than 20 years developing and executing a variety of funding structures across a diverse range of both commercial and consumer asset classes. Recently, he served as director of analytics, investor reporting and program management. Mattei will also provide support to ELF’s sister company, Encina Private Credit, and is based out of Encina Private Credit’s offices in Norwalk, CT.

In addition to these significant new hires, ELF expects to announce further hires in the coming months.

ELF also promoted John Thomas to president and chief operating officer. Thomas, who is a more than 30 year veteran of the commercial finance industry, joined ELF at its launch in October 2020 with a primary focus on developing the company’s risk infrastructure. In his newly expanded role, he will have responsibility for operations/treasury, systems and portfolio analytics. Before joining the company, Thomas most recently served as the head of lender finance at AloStar Bank. He is based out of ELF’s headquarters in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

“We are thrilled to have attracted such high caliber executives as Ed Chang, Mark Kassis, Bill Laird and Dave Mattei to join our already talented team at an important inflection point in our growth trajectory,” Andrew Salter, executive chairman of ELF and founder and CEO of Encina Capital Partners, said. “We are also pleased to expand John Thomas’ responsibilities with his promotion to president and COO. Finally, we are grateful to Luke Graham for the significant contributions he made in helping us stand up and scale our platform and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”


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