Leasing Your Way

to Non-Interest Income

Focus Bank, located in the Southeast Missouri community of Charleston, started its leasing program in 1987, and never imagined it would be so well received and so profitable.
With a leasing portfolio that now exceeds $20 million, Focus Bank has what it believes is the largest community bank leasing operation between St. Louis and New Orleans.

“When we started leasing, we were a small community bank in a predominantly agricultural area with declining population and little growth potential,” said Don Burnett, president and CEO of Focus Bank. “As a progressive bank, I knew we needed a product that would give us a competitive advantage, and leasing was the answer.”

Spinning off its own success, Focus Bank developed the Banclease program that offers a complete turnkey installation of leasing for community banks. The program includes custom software, onsite training, marketing collateral, telephone support and leasing documentation. Since 1993, Focus Bank has trained more than 200 banks in 34 different states.

According to Britt McConnell, community bank president and director of Banclease, the most important aspect of the program is that it belongs to the customer. “They manage it, fund it, and make credit decisions which are in the best interest of their institution,” said McConnell.

Keith Jantzen, regional vice president of First State Bank Nebraska in Lincoln, likes the fact that the Banclease program allows his bank to create a custom lease that can be tailored to each customer. “Recently, a customer came to us with a lease option from a dealer; however, the lease terms were based on engine hours for a new combine. Having to drive long distances between his farms, this would have been costly due to the arrangement of the lease,” Jantzen said. “Because of the flexibility of this software and the awareness of our lender, we ended up doing the deal with terms that matched our borrower’s needs, and we feel this gives us a competitive advantage over others who don’t have a leasing program.”

Unlike other software or competitive products, the entire Banclease program, created by bankers for bankers, comes with a money-back guarantee. According to Banclease cli- ent Alan Karcher, regional president of Carrollton Bank in Jerseyville, Ill., they have found the support from the Banclease staff to be excellent and couldn’t see why anyone would use the money-back guarantee.

“We have been using Banclease for nearly 20 years and couldn’t be more satisfied,” said Karcher. “We market leasing as another option to our various commercial loan products. Our leases range from farm equipment to lights on a baseball field. Inevitably, leasing questions arise, but the Banclease support team knows the answer before you ask the question...they are just that good,” Karcher stated.

Through the years, Focus Bank has found equipment leasing to be a key product for cross-selling, gaining market share in a competitive environment and increasing non-interest income. To the delight of the Banclease staff, clients have echoed this sentiment.

“As a result of our 20-year association with Banclease, we have been able to further help our agricultural customers by providing a lease product that they can utilize for tax planning and help manage their cash flow,” commented Randy Hutches, regional president and Springfield branch president of Colorado East Bank & Trust in Lamar. “In addition, we have also been able to provide a service for several of our municipal customers which provides them with an avenue whereby they are able to lease any number of things and avoid having to obligate themselves to a term debt.”

Leasing can be a cost-efficient source of financing, offering significant benefits to banks and their customers. And with Banclease, clients also have the satisfaction of knowing they are dealing with another community banker that has made this program work. To learn more about the Banclease program, visit www.Banclease.com or call 800-530-5327. AB