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Capital One Business Credit: Agile and Prudently Aggressive

Date: May 06, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

In early March, Capital One Bank announced that industry veteran Daniel deBrauwere was named to serve in the newly created role of head of Capital One Business Credit, the bank’s asset-based lending business housed within Capital One's Commercial and Specialty Finance Group. The appointment comes a few short months after Capital One announced deBrauwere had joined the bank to expand its ABL presence on the West Coast. In the following interview, deBrauwere shares his thoughts on the asset-based lending marketplace and more importantly, where he and his team members intend to position themselves within the industry.

ABL Advisor: Dan, congratulations on your recent appointment. To get us started, please give our readers a sense of your background in the asset-based lending industry.

Dan deBrauwere:I started out in banking in the mid-1980s at Wells Fargo right after I finished graduate school. I was in commercial banking for five years and when the recession in 1991 hit, many banks bailed out of lending. By nature, I am a very active person and when I looked around, it seemed that the only people who were active and doing business in all areas of the economic cycle were the asset-based lenders. I made a decision at that point to get into the ABL business. That’s when I joined CIT.

Photo of Daniel deBrauwere - Managing Director & Head of Asset-Based Lending - Capital One Business Credit

From CIT, I was recruited to Bank of America and I was there from 1997 until 2009. When I left Bank of America Business Capital in 2009, I changed direction and went to work for CRG Consulting. It was a wonderful and exciting time and I worked with some very talented people. Had I pursued that career path when I was younger, I might still be there. But I had to admit that my highest and best use was not as a consultant, so when the opportunity presented itself to get back into the banking business – this time with Capital One – it was an easy choice for me. Managing a P&L is really what I do best.

ABL Advisor: What specifically attracted you to Capital One? When ABL Advisor spoke with Dean Graham last April, Dean mentioned Capital One’s brand recognition as a significant factor in making his decision to join as the head of Capital One’s Commercial and Specialty Finance business. Did Capital One’s brand recognition factor heavily in your decision?

deBrauwere: As Dean said, the Capital One brand is very powerful. While many people may not associate our brand with asset-based lending, everybody knows the brand. What really attracted me was Dean’s organization – a specialty lending group that financed asset classes in many different areas. I said to myself, “These folks really understand asset-based lending and if I’m going to hitch my wagon to an organization, it should be one that understands the business.” It was an exciting opportunity to work with great people and be a part of a successful, growing organization. If you’re an asset-based lender, you can’t ask for much more than that.

ABL Advisor: Last fall we learned that in addition to your joining Capital One to expand West Coast presence of the ABL shop, the business was renamed from Capital One Leveraged Finance to Capital One Business Credit. Can you shed some light on the reasoning behind the name change?

deBrauwere: It’s really pretty simple; the name change was a way to clarify what we do. Leveraged finance is a very broad term, and while what we do is leveraged finance in general, we are more appropriately named Business Credit since we mostly provide asset-based loans to our customers.

ABL Advisor: Can you tell us how Capital One Business Credit is structured today in terms of loan production offices nationwide and the number of dedicated staff members?

deBrauwere: At Capital One, we are a line of business organization, unlike many of our competitors who have asset-based lending as a product. We are still growing, but we are everywhere we need to be. Our group has people nationwide in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and we’re in the process of adding more both inside and outside of the bank’s footprint. We also have a great underwriting and servicing platform headquartered here in New York.

ABL Advisor: Where do you see Capital One Business Credit being in the next three to five years?

deBrauwere: I’d say significantly larger than we are today. We are going to continue to expand everywhere we see the opportunity to do so … and we are seeing a lot of opportunities for expansion.

ABL Advisor: Could you give our readers a sense of a typical Capital One Business Credit borrower in terms of industry sector and transaction size?

deBrauwere: For the most part, we are industry agnostic … we’ll lend to pretty much any sector. All we need are accounts receivable, inventory, and/or other assets. We are relationship lenders, and if a company has legitimate and bona fide receivables, inventory and/or other assets that aren’t subject to offset, counterclaims and things like that, it’s most likely a business we would consider financing.

Our borrowers tend to be manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers … sectors in which you have large working capital assets and low fixed assets. Our deal sizes range between $10 million and 100 million plus, and we are making our presence known in our target transaction sizes. In addition, we’re looking to move up and act as co-agents, rather than simply participating in syndicated deals.

ABL Advisor: How would you characterize the ABL market these days in terms of competitiveness?

deBrauwere: It’s competitive everywhere, and you have a lot of banks that are very well capitalized that can’t merge with another institution. There’s no natural thinning out of the herd, so to speak, and the need for assets with yield is drawing banks into the ABL world. At the same time, I believe that there’s always room for a nimble, agile, creative and prudently aggressive lender in the marketplace. We are trying to fit that role … that’s who we are trying to be.

ABL Advisor: What are the marching orders you are hearing from your senior management these days?

deBrauwere: The number one priority is to grow the business within our credit parameters. We should ensure that we establish Capital One Business Credit as relevant in the marketplace and make it a world class business.

ABL Advisor: What excites you the most about asset-based lending? What keeps you in the game?

deBrauwere: I’ve worked in a lot of areas during my career … from corporate banking, project finance, investment banking and commercial banking. Once a recession hits, you have very little to do in those businesses, and I hate being bored. On the other hand, ABL is a vibrant business. It’s constantly changing and moves at a fast pace. It’s very credit-centric and intellectually challenging as well. In commercial banking and corporate banking, credit (i.e., loans) can be a secondary consideration, and sometimes is non-existent to those relationships. As asset-based lenders, the people we lend to actually need the credit. In short, ABL is a need-based product that’s creative, vibrant and always active. I thrive on the challenges that ABL presents.

ABL Advisor: As a dyed-in-the-wool Californian, are you ready for East Coast living particularly after this year’s seemingly endless winter?

deBrauwere: My family is delighted to be moving out East. My wife, daughter and I are third and fourth generation Californians and we’re excited about the change of scenery and tempo. As for the weather, I’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. I have no concerns and we are looking forward to making the move.

ABL Advisor: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know that we may not have asked?

deBrauwere: We are open for business. Capital One Business Credit is one of the best kept secrets out there; we haven’t had a very high profile in the past and we’re looking change that. Our team is in place, we’re rowing in the same direction and it’s just a matter of time before we gain greater recognition … we’re ready to make that happen.

Senior Editor | ABL Advisor
Stuart Papavassiliou is senior editor of ABL Advisor and Equipment Finance Advisor. He has worked in publishing for more than fifteen years.

Contact Stuart Papavassiliou at 484.380.2964 or

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