Choosing the financial institution that’s right for your business
When you think about taking out a lease or loan, a bank is probably the first financial institution that comes to mind. Banks offer an array of basic services to meet common overall financial needs at any stage of life, but that means banks are generalists. Compare that to independent equipment leasing and finance companies, which are specialists, meaning that most of these institutions specialize in commercial lending for equipment, vehicles, and tangible business goods within industries where they have expertise and experience.
Finding the right kind of financing is crucial for a successful business. According to the 2022 Equipment Leasing & Finance Industry Horizon Report, nearly 80% of businesses that purchased equipment in 2021 used some form of financing. Below we break down some of the key differences between equipment finance companies and banks so you can be prepared and informed when making your next large business purchase.
If you need a knee replacement, you’re not going to ask your primary care physician to perform the surgery. Your primary care physician can tell you it’s time for a knee replacement, but when it comes to the surgery, you’re going to work with a surgeon who specializes in the procedure you need. The same principle applies when looking for equipment financing, and at United Leasing & Finance, that is what we specialize in.
Since banks are typically generalist lenders, equipment financing is often an add-on and not their primary service. This means a bank may not fully understand your industry, your business, or the equipment needs you face.
United Leasing & Finance is a family-owned, third-generation business started back in 1964. We understand the challenges and obstacles small business owners face because it’s built into our DNA. For example, our expertise in the vehicle rental space comes not only from our dedicated team of fleet and transportation experts — who combined have almost a century’s worth of experience in the industry — but also from our company history. United Leasing & Finance opened an automotive rental company in 1966 that grew to more than 26 locations across four states. Now we use this experience to help other businesses in the industry get the funding they need to expand, update, or replace their fleet of vehicles.
Along with the rental car space, we also specialize in many other industries, including fitness, construction, fleet, franchise, transportation, tents and events, technology, and manufacturing.
One of the biggest differences between banks and equipment finance companies is that banks are held to strict regulations with more red tape to maneuver. After the 2008 financial crisis, banks were forced to tighten their lending standard and underwriting processes, which led to an increase in equipment finance companies in the market to fill the growing need for commercial lending.
Another factor that comes into play is how quickly you need financing to purchase new equipment or vehicles. Through a bank, you could wait days, weeks, or even months to hear if you’re approved for financing. Waiting that long could cost your company thousands of dollars if you aren’t able to remain in full operation without the new equipment. At United, we can typically review your application and have a decision for you within 24 to 48 hours.
Banks are required to follow a regimented guide when lending, and if your request doesn’t check off all their boxes, they won’t be able to approve you for the funds you need. When you apply for funding through United, we have more control and flexibility in our credit underwriting and don’t use artificial intelligence to make those decisions. We also keep in mind your business’s unique story so we can know and consider that in our decision-making process.
United also offers a wide variety of financing products depending on your business’s unique situation. We can handle transactions ranging in size from $15,000 up to $20 million through a variety of lease and equipment finance products. Your business is unique and requires a unique solution for financing depending on the equipment, deal size, credit, ownership, and industry, and that’s where we come into play for our customers.
At United Leasing & Finance, our relationships are everything, and we’re proud of the relationships we’ve built over the decades with manufacturers, dealers, franchisors, and more. Through our almost 60 years in business, we have developed key partnerships with various national vendors to offer you the best service with the most streamlined processes.
We also take great pride in building relationships with our customers, whether it’s a large franchise brand or a small family-owned company. Many banks use large call centers with impersonal customer service. When you work with United Leasing & Finance, you have a specific, assigned corporate account executive who is there to lead you through the entire process and answer any questions you may have. To tailor your experience even more, we have dedicated teams that specialize in specific niches, like fitness and fleet, and have a deep understanding and knowledge of the unique industry you operate in.
Banks are a vital and necessary part of our national financial landscape, but when it comes to your equipment financing and leasing needs, you need a lender that will understand your business’s unique situation, knows the industry challenges, and can be creative and flexible to provide you the funding you need.
United Leasing & Finance is a customer-focused and growth-oriented leasing and finance company committed to providing custom financing solutions to businesses across the U.S. and Canada. For almost 60 years, United has partnered with clients to achieve mutual success from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies.