The State of the Changing Equipment Finance Industry: Changes That Will Survive the Pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been a slew of changes across various industries — including restaurants embracing more mobile ordering and delivery than ever before and doctors pivoting to rely heavily on telehealth services — and the equipment finance industry has not been immune to these. changes. The industry as a whole has evolved its approach to attracting and retaining talent as well as experienced operational and technological changes, which has enabled it to operate in an environment that limited physical interaction and encouraged working at distance.

While some of these changes may be a sign of the current COVID-19 environment, others have improved industry efficiency and are sure to survive the pandemic.

  • Wider idea of ​​flexible working: Before the pandemic, most equipment finance managers worked to ensure new team members could physically walk into the office every day. Over the past 18-20 months, industry leaders have developed new ways to collaborate outside of the office. While it’s always important to have in-person meetings, the pandemic has caused a shift in the industry and many leaders now believe that it may not be necessary for employees to be in the office every day. days. The pandemic has truly changed the idea of ​​flexible working, which enables industry leaders to attract and retain top talent from a wider geographic radius.
  • Use of remote assessments: The pandemic has served as a catalyst for the implementation of new equipment recovery tools. Video-based remote assessment technologies have been introduced. Once the assessment is done by video, it is recorded in its entirety in the system, so there is video support of the conversation and the assessment. While remote assessments reduce travel and costs for bankers and customers, video recordings of these assessments were an unintended improvement to the process. While in-person assessments are still important, the future of the industry will likely include a combination of in-person and remote assessments depending on specific client needs.
  • Use of video conferencing platforms for supplier engagement: Due to government mandates and the goal of minimizing the spread of the virus, bankers are using video conferencing tools like WebEx and Zoom for supplier and customer engagement. However, once virus transmission issues are minimized, this all-remote model is unlikely to remain in place. The human element is crucial for suppliers and customers and helps build relationships and ongoing trust. Going forward, this engagement will likely consist of a hybrid mix of video conferences and in-person visits.
  • Increased focus on digitization and limiting paper-based processes: Many equipment finance processes have traditionally been paper-based, including the creation of working papers. Prior to the pandemic, TD’s asset management group digitized this process to create holistic virtual work files. This digitization has proven invaluable during the pandemic when the workforce has become very remote and colleagues need to get back to business quickly and efficiently for their clients. Digitization in many aspects of the industry, from work files to electronic signature, has improved the speed and efficiency of these processes for customers and the industry as a whole.

As we move forward into 2022, digitization and the implementation of technologies to increase operational efficiency, such as remote assessments, show no signs of slowing down. As an industry leader, TD Equipment Finance will continue to evolve its operations and practices to improve the overall customer experience.

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