Offering knowledgeable support and financing for commercial equipment and vehicles
Allan Levine is the president and COO of Madison Capital, and Mark Caplan is chairman of the firm’s management committee. Based in Maryland, Madison Capital has over 40 years of experience in commercial vehicle and equipment financing. Over the decades, the company has grown to provide financial solutions to businesses throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Madison provides direct funding for most equipment types and all makes of vehicles.
In addition to his role at Madison Capital, Allan has also held leadership positions at the Jewish Community Center, the Gordon Center, and the Chimes. He is currently a trustee of the Maryland Zoo. Mark, meanwhile, is a member of the board of directors and chair of the Compensation Committee at Bay Bank, the president and CEO of The Time Group, and a founder and current Chairman of WPM Real Estate Management.
Q: Who makes up Madison Capital’s clientele?
Allan Levine: Our clients are public companies on one end and small businesses on the other, but our general business is that middle market small client who wants to do a transaction for equipment in the $50,000–70,000 range. On the vehicle side, it could be one vehicle, for example just for a company needing a delivery vehicle. Or, it could be a rental car company that needs a hundred vehicles. That bandwidth is all over the place. It’s of course evolved over time from the smaller transactions to the larger transactions, but we can service anyone. Again, the best way we market is we find a niche that we think needs financial servicing. For example, let’s say that niche would be rental car companies. We would join the organization that houses rental car dealers, and then we’d market to that organization through telemarketing, through direct mail, and by going to the various shows. In a lot of our business on the car side, we probably have a 90% renewal rate.A 90% renewal rate on the car side is extremely high. On the equipment side, it tends to be a bit lower, but we still have a very high retention rate of our clients.
Q: What makes Madison Capital unique from other financing options?
Mark Caplan: First of all, we are a direct financing source. We are generally, except for large transactions, lending on our own balance sheet. That makes us desirable to clients versus other businesses who are just in the brokerage business. We will originate, this year, about $25 million in business split roughly equally between vehicles and equipment. As Allan said, our average deal is $50,000–70,000. That’s a lot of transactions, especially given that we’re pretty specific about who we go after. We know in what lines of business and where we make sense, and each transaction needs to be an overall solution that makes sense both sides. You know, we think that we’re taking a good credit risk, good collateral—all of that. Then on the client’s side, they’re looking at us among the variety of financing choices that they have, and seeing us as the one that makes sense for them specifically. They could use their cash, they could go to a bank. If they’re a publicly traded company, they might have other public markets. All of those kinds of things. On the marketing side of what we do, it’s Allan and his team; and we’ve got an EVP, Nancy Pistorio; and Scott Hamburg, our director, who’s pretty disciplined. That’s actually one of the things that we want to make clear: we try and be pretty thoughtful about where there’s opportunities, and we sit down as a group on a quarterly basis and go through that. We’re trying to pick up trends in the market, where we want to be versus not, and then the ways in which we go after those customers, including some of the tools we might want to develop. ALLAN LEVINE: One of the stores I like to tell: there used to be 40,000 banks in the United States, and if you look at that number now, there are about 6,500. For those in the know, they think that number goes down to 3,500 or 4,000. So what are your choices when you have a business and you want to find capital? You can go to a bank; their process might be good, it might fit for you, or it might be too long. You can go to friends and family. You can use a credit card. Or, you can use a finance company like ours that can turn your transaction around in a day or two, depending on size. We are a wonderful alternative to all the other sources out there, and we’ve been servicing clients in the business marketplace for a long time because we’re quick.
Q: What helps make your company so efficient?
Allan Levine: With digital docs, we can take a transaction in the morning, process it, approve it, and send docs out digitally right away. By the way, we’ve been on digital docs for almost 10 years. We were one of the first clients with DocuSign in the state, in the country, and we have a wonderful platform to deliver products. As time has evolved, the levels of security of the DocuSign have increased, so it’s a very secure process.