eOriginal client Pawnee Leasing Corporation is a leader in the digital transformation of equipment leasing and finance. Moreover, they understand that to get full value, Pawnee Leasing needs not just origination and eSignature technologies, but an end-to-end digital lending solution that seamlessly integrates with its existing origination platform and allows loans to be managed throughout their entire lifecycles, including extending into secondary markets.
Founded in 1982, Pawnee Leasing provides small-ticket commercial equipment leases and loans of up to $250,000 for all levels of lessors and credit applicants. In 2006, Pawnee Leasing was acquired by Chesswood Group Ltd, and today, operates as Chesswood’s largest subsidiary company.
A client since 2013, Pawnee Leasing’s digital commitment has often been led by manager of business intelligence and analytics Brian Schonfeld. His responsibilities include design and implementation of analytical projects, scorecard design and management, and reporting. Brian joined eOriginal to address the state of digital adoption in equipment leasing and what the future looks like.
What is driving the digital transformation of equipment lease and finance?
We think what’s driving this transformation is the same thing that’s driving the digital transformation of all business – the change in demographics and the pervasiveness of technology. Generation Z, and to some extent millennials, grew up with technology. To them, texting or chatting is a more comfortable and familiar form of interaction, to the extent that they would more than likely choose a lender offering that service over one that doesn’t.
These changes in technology have created new options for how we communicate. In addition to the generational change, it’s both quicker and easier to apply for a lease on your phone than it is to visit a location or talk to somebody over the phone. And who would prefer filling out documents on a computer, printing them out, and sending them via an overnight courier when you could simply pull your phone out and authorize a complete document package, regardless of where you are in the world?
What makes your company unique in its approach to technology in lending?
We think one of the unique aspects of Pawnee Leasing Corporation is our dedication and commitment to the broker channel. Whilst we certainly value and appreciate all our partners in business (i.e. vendors, service providers, lessee, and borrowers), our sole origination platform is the broker channel. Accordingly, our focus is: How do we make the process as easy as possible for our brokers? Not only did we generate a digital document platform, but we integrated it seamlessly into our system so that all the broker has to do now is click one button and everything else is taken care of. In fact, Pawnee’s entire technology platform was built around the philosophy of making our partners’ interaction with Pawnee as quick and easy as possible.
What does an equipment leasing process look like in 10 years?
This is a great question – and one we constantly ask ourselves. We think we’ll see technology play an even bigger role than today, so much so that human interaction with our customers will be severely limited, or even curtailed entirely in the future. That in itself presents several challenges, the first being fraud.
With so much communication between systems, how do you verify that you’re dealing with the correct person and reviewing a valid transaction? As advanced technology becomes simpler to operate and more accessible, you’re going to see more fraud at the lower levels of sophistication. Altering the photo of a driver’s license was nigh impossible just ten years ago, and now can be accomplished by anybody with Photoshop. To combat this, new processes will need to be developed to verify identities and validate transactions.
Advances in technology will also change the playing field as far as automation goes. Automated credit decisioning, automated document generation, and even automated funding will be the new norm; and companies that don’t offer this level of service may find themselves left behind.
Finally, it will be curious to see if we see the entrance of the large technology behemoths (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) into the equipment leasing world. They’re just starting to enter the world of consumer/commercial finance, and their resources could provide a serious challenge to the equipment leasing and financing world as we know it.
Brian Schonfeld is the manager of business intelligence and analytics at Pawnee Leasing Corporation, a small-ticket equipment leasing and financing company located in Fort Collins, Colorado. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Chesswood Group Limited (TSX:CHW), Pawnee finances a highly diversified portfolio of commercial equipment leases and loans originated through relationships with over 500 independent brokers. His responsibilities include design and implementation of analytical projects, scorecard design and management, and reporting. A certified lease and finance professional, he holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and master’s degrees in business and applied economics from Colorado State University and the University of North Dakota respectively.