LeasingNews.org – May28, 2010
I should have called Lease Police!
by Christopher Menkin
It is difficult to get across to funders the value of a vendor report by Lease Police. The report only costs $3.25, but just one report can save a funder hundreds of thousands of dollars in one simple click of the mouse.
Some of the most valuable information in every LeasePolice report is actually provided by other subscribers. While there are other information sources being used by the leasing industry such as D&B and Equifax Business Reports, LeasePolice.com is the report specifically designed and devoted to the leasing industry. While D&B can offer many data points, it relies heavily on information submitted by the actual firm actually being investigated leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. The Equifax Business Report uses more independently obtained data, but provides no very little information that helps determine whether the vendor will serve as a reliable and trustworthy supplier of equipment to a funder’s lessees.
Perhaps at one time "fraud" was considered a small ticket lease problem, but with recent events including Equipment Resource Acquisition that caught ICON Capital for $25 million or Fifth Third Bank, $10 million, Funders are learning that fraud is not only a small ticket problem. All of these fraudulent transactions could have been spotted and eliminated for the cost of $3.25 LeasePolice report. In most of these frauds, the firms involved had extensive D&B and Experian Business reports; however LeasePolice.com had them identified as a problem from almost the first moment they started applying for credit.
How can LeasePolice identify these fraudulent vendors and lessees before the competition? It is real simple: the other data sources approach each report as if the firm in question is applying for simple net 30 terms. Their only anti-fraud screens are verifying incorporation information, office location checks, etc… They do not notice the subtle patterns that all frauds exhibit and they get virtually no input from their subscribers. By using LeasePolice.com, you are tapping into the collective knowledge of over 200 banks and lease funding companies as well as countless independent brokers. If one of those companies discovers any improper action by a lessee or vendor, it is easily reported by LeasePolice.com’s online interface. Just ask yourself, are you smarter than the collective knowledge of that many industry professionals? In most instances, the answer is no.
In all the recent frauds, the key to finding out what the real story is focusing on the vendor. Unlike D&B and Equifax Business Report, LeasePolice.com is the only data source that tracks portfolio losses by vendor. The accumulation of data indicates vendors/suppliers that have a higher incidence of producing leases and loans that default (due to non-payment). These vendors may be fraudulent and usually they will have an alert issued on them or they may be a legitimate vendor who just produces a lot of bad deals. Either way, you can easily avoid them with LeasePolice.
When Bernie Boettigheimer, CLP, retired on April 28, 2006, he had in the back of his mind the experience he learned when he first started out for Dun & Bradstreet when he was a kid, and after corporate roles, got into leasing and realized most of the problems were tied to the sellers of the equipment. He had this idea of developing software that would provide information solely on vendors who sold to leasing companies. Experience had taught him that the vendor quality is just as important component to a successful deal as lessee/debtor quality. It took him two years to get the program up and running, and another couple of years to reach the plateau he has today. The LeasePolice report also ties in credit information that independently verifies the vendor’s time in business, web presence, organizational formation, ownership, information from other leasing companies, leases that have defaulted that originated from that vendor, as well as any complaints that Lease Police investigates them.
He also has a large number of non-subscribers who call him with information, and has developed an extensive list of vendors that provide invoices for disguised "sale/leasebacks" or for equipment that does not exist. In the span of a few years, he has become the unofficial nexus of information on almost any fraud discovered in the leasing industry. Considering that all this can be obtained at the cost of 1/10th of a D&B, Paynet or Equifax Business report, it gives any funder an incredible value. Do not be a funder who saved $3.25, but now has a large uncollectable receivable. The price is too cheap to ignore.
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