First Financial Leasing and Finance was born in 1997, the brainchild of Dan Pace and Cindy Watson. What had started simply as an idea to fill a void in the niche market of equipment leasing has grown into one of the premier institutions in the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending arena. By Kathy Shives
First Financial Leasing and Finance was born in 1997, the brainchild of Dan Pace and Cindy Watson. What had started simply as an idea to fill a void in the niche market of equipment leasing has grown into one of the premier institutions in the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending arena. Much of Dan and Cindy’s early experience revolved around the Medical, Fitness, and Service Industries, helping their clientele obtain the equipment required to start and grow their own companies. As their experience in the financial lending space grew, so did their reputation for being devoted to their clients.
Supported by an ever-increasing client base, First Financial developed longterm strategic relationships with vendors, manufacturers, and lenders needed to continue the company’s growth. What began as a small niche operation, Dan and Cindy have grown into a business differentiated from their rivals by their in-depth knowledge of SBA lending requirements and their team of specialists dedicated to helping clients navigate the SBA application process.
Recently First Financial has become a family affair. To keep pace with the growth of both the industry and the business, the two founders first recruited Dan’s nephew Mike Allen to fill the Chief Financial Officer role and, most recently, Tim Fitzpatrick, Cindy’s nephew, to assume the company president’s position. Mike’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, as well as a master’s in Business Administration. He has 20 years of auditing and advisory services working for a national accounting firm working with a wide range of privately held and publicly traded companies, including several of the firm’s largest clients. Tim joined First Financial directly from JP Morgan Chase and has nearly 30 years of experience in the financial industry. He holds undergraduate degrees in both Business Administration and Computer Science and a master’s in Business Administration. While at Chase, Tim gained valuable experience across the firm, leading process improvement initiatives within operations, managing the build-out of multiple technology platforms for their network of branches, and overseeing the customer management and reward programs for marketing. For Mike and Tim, the opportunity to assist entrepreneurs in chasing their dreams of starting their own businesses was a significant factor in deciding to leave much larger corporations.
The newly matched pair is teaming up to advance First Financial through improvements to processes, products, and systems, preparing First Financial to compete and excel in an ever more crowded arena. They combine the loyalty and dedication of family with the insights and innovations gained from decades in the industry. A few recent changes include new technologies to streamline application entry with increased security of the client’s information, reduced internal manual efforts throughout the application process, and improved communications between all parties involved with a loan. Great products and an unrelenting focus on service remain core to the business model established so many years ago.
First Financial now boasts a full suite of SBA-backed lending products, in addition to their 401k roll-over offering, that fit almost any need. Their most popular Express product provides $150,000 that is perfect for most franchises. It covers the franchise fee, working capital, and liquidity cushion for those crucial first years of operation. Other products provide up to $5 million and are better suited for business acquisition and build-outs. As mentioned above, the sense of service runs deep at First Financial, and creating a military-focused product demonstrates it. Their My Military Financial Services brand and the M5 Loan offer adjusted scoring and fee discounts to current and retired service members. It is unique in the industry and sets them apart from the competition.
As the company continues to grow, outstanding service and family will continue to be the foundation on which everything is built. They are humbled to serve their repeat clients and eager to welcome new customers to the First Financial family. They stand ready to assist you with all your business financing needs. If you are looking to purchase a new startup business, acquire an existing business, need working capital for an existing business, or lease equipment, First Financial has numerous options to explore.
To learn more about First Financial, visit ffcash.com.
– Kathy Shives
Kathy Shives heads up First Financial’s marketing efforts in addition to working directly with the firm’s small business clientele to obtain the financing and cash flow necessary to grow their businesses. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business and over 15 years of experience as a Project Management Professional certified project manager.