JODY GREEN (CBI EQUIPMENT FINANCE)
Customizing Every Deal
In an interview with Nadine Bonner, Monitor’s senior editor, Jody Green confesses that he’s been president of Commerce Bank Equipment Finance for “about a minute,” before this interview! Which is almost true. Green was promoted to the top spot in January 2019 following the retirement of 25-year veteran Roger May.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Green spent three years at Commerce, a publicly traded bank based in Kansas City, MO, before moving on to GE Capital for a nine-year stint. He returned to Commerce in 2017 as National Relationship Manager. Which means despite his brief time as president, he has a strong sense of the company and the challenges of the industry.
From a short-term standpoint, Green says that the company is keeping a “keen eye” on the tax laws, especially in regard to understanding the changes in the 2017 laws. And, like everyone in the industry, the impact of new accounting regulation is on his radar.
“These are some historic changes for the equipment world, and we’re really focused on understanding those internally so that we can go out and serve our clients,” Green says.
Serving clients remains the focus for Green, who notes that despite the changes in the industry, Commerce is on a steady course. “Strategy-wise, we want to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he says. “We’re certainly agile and innovative but it always starts with the customer and with our employees. We’re going to continue to focus on bringing a high level of service and offer really customized tailored solutions to meet their needs.”
At the same time, Commerce is expanding its originations team as part of the bank’s overall expansion strategy. Green’s team has staff on the origination side from Cleveland to Denver to Chicago to Houston and “all points in between. That’s really kind of what we would call our footprint area,” he says.
In the last six months, he has filled originations positions in St. Louis and Houston. He added that the company’s entry to Texas “started off with a bang,” and it now has staff in Houston and Dallas.
What is the secret sauce that differentiates Commerce from its many competitors?
Green stresses that all of the deals are very customized to meet each client’s unique needs.
“We take a very consultative approach with our customers and prospects to really understand their business, their goals and objectives. Then we tailor a solution to meet that, and Commerce gives us the opportunity to really get creative,” he says, adding, “We don’t do a lot of cookie cutter processing here.”
This culture of creativity and customer care is what drove Green back to Commerce.
“I look at every transition as an opportunity to grow and expand personally. In my career path, I took what I learned at Commerce, and I made the transition to GE. But everything I learned originally from Commerce didn’t leave. It just helped me augment my knowledge base. It helped me grow and expand while I was there.”
In the end, he returned to Commerce because he valued the culture and the people who created it.
“It’s the people and it’s the innovation that drives those people in the culture. It’s not uncommon to see folks that have been at the bank for a decade or two decades or several decades, and the same thing is true on our customer side. That’s a testament to Commerce. The culture is, start with your customers and what you’re trying to do for them, and then treat the people that are getting you there the right way,” Green says.