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Webster Bank – Creating Growth Opportunities in the Asset-Based Lending Market

Date: Jan 13, 2023 @ 07:00 AM

In October 2022, Webster Bank named Abby Parsonnet as Executive Managing Director, Head of Asset-Based Lending for Webster Bank. In her role, Parsonnet oversees the nationwide Asset-Based Lending and Commercial Services teams at Webster Bank, which includes Staffing Solutions and Factoring.
Parsonnet joined Webster in 2013 as Regional President and quickly grew its metro New York market from the ground up to roughly $1 billion in commitments. In 2018, she further expanded her role by leading Webster’s Sales Council. In 2019, Parsonnet was recognized as one of Crain’s NY Business’ Notable Women in Banking.

Prior to joining Webster in 2013, Parsonnet served as senior managing director in corporate finance and restructuring at FTI Consulting and she also spent more than 20 years with JPMorgan Chase Bank where she served as Senior Vice President and Regional Manager in a variety of roles.

ABL Advisor’s publisher Michael Toglia, met with Parsonnet in December 2022 to learn more about her vision for this group and to discuss the current state of the asset-based lending market.
Michael Toglia:Congratulations on your recent appointment as head of Webster Bank’s Asset-Based Lending and Commercial Services Group. Please tell us about how your prior roles prepared you for taking the helm?

ABL Advisor article with Abby Parsonnet - 
Executive Managing Director, Head of Asset Based Lending - Webster Bank

Abby Parsonnet: I joined Webster Bank to build out commercial banking for middle market companies in the metro New York market.  Prior to that, however, I led businesses which included a commercial banking industry specialty group and a national ABL structuring platform.  So, I have extensive experience in building high performing teams. Leading Webster Sales Council also helped to prepare me for this role.  Sales Council is really an extension of Webster's collaborative client-focused strategy and culture. It's about sales teams comprised of members from all lines of business and geographies, all working together to ensure we bring our full range of Webster's solutions to solve client needs regardless of where in the bank the client's primary relationship exists. The experience I’ve been fortunate to gain in these roles combined with the Webster Bank and Sterling National Bank merger of equals creates really a wonderful opportunity for our nation-wide asset-based lending business - Webster Business Credit.

Toglia: Your new responsibilities are on a national scale?

Parsonnet: Yes, both Webster and Sterling were both nationwide asset-based lending businesses.  The merger brought together two already strong banks, broadened our national coverage and enhanced the scale which provides tremendous long-term growth potential.

Toglia: Please share a bit about your primary focus as head of the group – more specifically, the vison you wish to impart to your team?

Parsonnet: Our strategy is threefold: Leveraging our existing client base to maximize our service solutions through cross selling; continuing to grow Webster's ABL, Staffing Solutions, and Factoring footprint nationwide; and then taking maximizing best practices from both institutions. That's the basics. We can serve clients of almost any size at this point and offer them something very valuable. We're now a top 40 bank in the country and we've become an even more meaningful player in the ABL market.

Toglia: Webster Bank has experienced tremendous success as an asset-based lender serving numerous industry sectors and has built strong market presence in both the staffing and factoring industries. Please tell us a bit about your leadership team – more specifically James Bodie, who heads the Staffing Solutions group, and Neil Wolfe who heads the Factoring team.

Parsonnet: I'm very lucky to have an incredible leadership team with Jim Bodie and Neil Wolfe as well as David Viggiano, our National Sales Manager for ABL. Dave's background is firmly grounded with expertise from some of the best ABL market participants in the industry.

Jim leads our Staffing Solutions group where we provide innovative products for the staffing industry. We have something for everyone in the staffing industry. For clients who prefer to run a leaner back office, we have a product called Full Service, where they can effectively outsource their back office to us in addition to Webster providing their financing and tax payments. We can support them from when they are a small business and throughout their lifecycle. We can offer factoring for credit protection. We can also offer asset-based lending products for larger, or better capitalized clients, or we can work with our middle-market colleagues to provide a cash flow solution. We have a one stop shop for staffing companies that I believe is unique.

In our Factoring group, we have Neil Wolfe, who's leading our nationwide factoring effort, providing credit protection and financing to a wide variety of industries. We’ve been very successful in providing factoring solutions both on a recourse and non-recourse basis to clients. The team is strong and experienced, and they are great at finding innovative solutions and working together to determine whether it should be an ABL execution, a staffing solutions execution, or a factoring execution. Additionally, our cost of funds provides us an edge that puts us ahead of many of our competitors.

Toglia: As the economic environment continues to evolve, which sectors do you believe will provide the greatest opportunities for growth over the next few years? Which sectors do you feel will feel more challenges?

Parsonnet: In the near term, the world is awash in inventory for the reasons we all know, from supply chain issues to people trying to bring in inventory to manage those supply chain issues, as well slower sales as consumers become more cautious. As a result, we will likely see many clients now paying for significant amounts of inventory. Additionally, we are in a higher interest rate environment where the cost of carrying inventory has grown significantly. I think you're going to see a lot of cash flow borrowers migrating towards the ABL product where we're perfectly equipped to handle the solution. We're expecting an extremely active ABL market in the near term across all industry sectors and geographies. I think longer term you'll see a great opportunity for ABL in manufacturing as we continue to work to onshore manufacturing. Manufacturing has always been a very ABL-friendly industry and somewhere we can really help clients when other modes of financing are not necessarily as appropriate.

As for challenges, I believe retail will be challenging. Consumer patterns have changed. We can see the effects of inflation on households possibly slowing consumer spending or consumers leaning towards necessities. Online competition and changes in the underlying business model makes retail a very challenging sector. And, while retail finance has been a long-established ABL-friendly industry, the dynamics of how you handle online retailers or people with specialty brands and digitally native brands, are challenges that I think the industry is reviewing closely.

Toglia: Competition is fierce in the ABL industry. What is most important to borrowers when seeking to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with a lender? Has this changed much throughout your career?

Parsonnet: There's always competition. We don't let that get in the way of our mission of helping our clients. We think our clients are looking for reliable partners in good times and bad, and partnerships go two ways. We've built long-term relationships with proven benefits, and our clients have learned that they can trust us to work with them through difficult times. That's really at the heart of any banking relationship. That's what clients want.

Toglia: As you look to empower future leaders in Webster Bank, what do you feel is most important for both Webster Bank and its employees to focus on to create long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with customers?

Parsonnet: I think as an industry there's often a lack of talent development, and it’s important. It’s finding, developing and nurturing your top performers to take on leadership roles and making sure they get the well-rounded experience they need which should include credit underwriting, portfolio management and field exams as this is invaluable experience in asset-based lending. Professionals need to learn how to handle all facets of the client relationship and be fluent in it. It’s very hard to be a trusted advisor to a client if you haven’t really experienced all areas of banking. Having the right kind of training is critical to building future leaders. It’s having them come face-to-face with clients and giving them the authority and autonomy to create client solutions and figure out how to effectively interact with clients and understand their needs. It’s not a plug and play model. It’s something that takes years of experience. At Webster, we have a wonderful rotational credit program where we put our trainees into various areas of the bank for long rotations. It’s a two-year program created to groom them in all aspects of banking and then nurture their career from there. Banking and finance are experience based. There’s an intuition that comes with time that can’t be taught. So, it’s time. It’s identifying your top performers, making sure you are fulfilling their career goals as well as helping them learn how to service their clients. It’s old school, but it’s always worked, and it continues to be the way things work today.

Toglia: Is there anything I left out today that you wished I had asked that you’d like to include in the interview?

Parsonnet: The combination of the two banks created a very powerful opportunity for our clients and for our bankers and created a best-in-class deposit franchise as well. It also provides a platform for our continued belief in investing and giving back to the communities that we serve in corporate citizenship. Finally, our merger provides us with a bigger range of products and expertise. The breadth and depth of products we provide is hard to match in a bank format. Additionally, Webster’s traditional relationship focus is unique, and this is really what we’re all about as well as being consistent in the markets we serve. it’s a value proposition that our clients welcome and I am confident will create tremendous growth opportunity for us in the future. It's really an exciting time to be here.

Michael A. Toglia
Publisher, CEO | ABL Advisor
Michael Toglia is the Founder, Publisher and CEO of ABL Advisor.

Toglia's experience in commercial finance spans over 30 years having held various roles in senior management, business origination, capital markets and commercial credit underwriting. Prior to entering the publishing industry, Toglia served as Vice President of Capital Markets and as the National Sales Manager for both the Equipment Finance and Asset-Based Lending Divisions of Textron Financial Corporation. He also held various roles with General Electric Capital and CIT Group.

Toglia currently serves as Marketing Chair for the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Philadelphia/Wilmington Chapter and also serves on the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) Communications Committee.

Toglia served as the Executive Director/CEO of the National Equipment Finance Association from 2018-2020 and has been an active member of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association for years having served two terms as a member of the Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee.

Toglia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and an M.B.A. in Finance.

Contact Michael Toglia at 484.380.3184 or

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