The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the world, including the equipment finance industry, and forced many to become more agile and accelerate digital transformation. This was necessary not only to remain in business but also to grow. Now that we’re cautiously and optimistically emerging from the pandemic, what have we learned about disruption and business agility?

IDS recently sponsored, moderated, and participated in a special two-part equipment finance Monitor Daily Live+ event. This regular series provides educational and learning opportunities for equipment and leasing industry professionals.

Ray Wizbowski, Chief Marketing Officer with IDS, moderated one of the expert panel discussions that focused on how the pandemic impacted agility in the equipment finance industry. Panelists included Nick Small of Cisco Capital, Kirk Phillips with Wintrust Commercial Finance, and Katie Emmel with IDS. They discussed the challenges of adopting an agile approach to processes, best ways to implement this kind of change, and new ways of thinking, as well as the key benefits of agility.

In the second part of the Monitor Daily Live+ event, Eldon Richards, IDS Chief Technology Officer, spoke with two equipment finance industry experts about technology considerations as we move forward in the new normal. Panelists included Steven Fricano of Santander Bank, N.A., and Matt Bednar of DLL.

Equipment finance decision-makers share how the pandemic disruption impacted the industry – past, present, and future

We also took this opportunity to poll the Monitor Live audience to understand how the pandemic disruption changed the way equipment finance organizations do business. And learn how this disruption will impact their business model in the future. Audience members, equipment finance decision-makers, and individual contributors shared their 2020-2021 learnings to the following six questions.

As we emerge from the pandemic, which of the following will best position you for growth?

More than 44% of the equipment finance audience said that offering digital technologies to maximize efficiency, reduce operating costs and attract new business will best position them for growth as we emerge from the pandemic.

Experts predict remote work will become permanent after the pandemic. What will your workforce look like in the new normal?

A large majority of equipment finance professionals attending the Monitor Live webinar (86%) predicted a hybrid remote-onsite workforce in the near future.

We saw a significant rise in innovation over the past year – mainly out of necessity due to the pandemic. What areas of innovation are you now prioritizing to remain competitive?

With 56.1% of the vote, equipment finance lenders believe digital transformation, automation, and cloud computing are key competitive innovations to prioritize.

Two-part question: We’ve seen an increase of consolidations in the market. What impact will consolidations have on your business? Are these consolidations positive or negative?

More than half (51.4%) of equipment finance professionals said that consolidations will somewhat impact their business, with another 20% saying it will impact them significantly. Another 20% said it was too soon to predict.

The current administration is advocating a significant investment in infrastructure (roads, bridges, cyber, etc.). The Equipment and Finance Leasing Association (ELFA) is projecting an 11% in equipment finance growth in 2021. How do you plan to capitalize on those positive trends?

With nearly 66% of the vote, equipment finance lenders chose an all-of-the-above response on how they planned to capitalize on the positive growth in 2021. The options included: invest in existing and new talent, new technology, and digitalization.

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