Simmons Bank Bolsters Commercial Lending Capabilities with Addition of Experienced 11-Member Commercial Finance Team - August 10, 2021
Little Rock, Ark. – Simmons Bank (Simmons), a wholly owned subsidiary of Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ: SFNC), announced today the addition of an experienced 11-member commercial finance team led by industry veterans Lee Palm, Brian Shapiro and Phil Mulder.
Palm will lead the group as president of Simmons’ new Commercial Finance business unit. Shapiro will serve as managing director heading up the transportation and marine business, while Mulder will oversee the credit function as the division’s head of credit and risk. Palm, Shapiro and Mulder are all financial industry veterans brought aboard to lead Simmons new equipment finance team that will primarily focus on business aviation, OTR trucking, franchise finance, marine financing, and a specialized buy/sell desk function, all adding expertise in support of commercial loans and leases to customers in the middle market and large corporate finance space. Filling out the 11-member team are other long-time industry veteran commercial finance experts that bring demonstrated experience in sales and credit.
“Lee brings extensive industry experience building and leading successful commercial finance businesses and the relationships he’s developed will benefit Simmons as we look to further expand and diversify our commercial banking capabilities,” said Matt Reddin, executive vice president and chief banking officer at Simmons.
“Being able to add an entire team with the expertise and skillset that encompasses all of the business verticals necessary to begin operations represents a unique ‘plug and play’ opportunity that will allow us to immediately hit the ground running,” added Reddin “Equally important, we’ll be able to offer our commercial finance customers a deeper banking relationship with access to our full array of complementary commercial banking and wealth management products and services.”
Palm most recently served as president of commercial finance at TCF Bank, a $50 billion asset bank formed through the merger of Chemical Bank and TCF Bank. In this role, he developed a successful de novo business plan to establish a commercial lending business targeting corporate aviation, inland marine and rail, trucking, healthcare finance and franchise finance.
“Having had multiple opportunities to start-up significant and successful platforms for both banks and large commercial finance companies, my role will be to utilize the strong capital base afforded us and to replicate those successes as we weave our group into the fabric of Simmons,” Palm said. “I’m excited about leading a high-performance team of commercial finance professionals to brand our bank in key areas of expertise that will contribute to Simmons’ long-term growth strategies designed to build shareholder value.”
About the Commercial Finance Team
Palm has over three decades of success building profitable, diversified de novo businesses by assembling teams of high-performance, industry expert professionals that come together to deliver superior results in the area of growth and profitability. His experience starting and building businesses for high profile corporations in the U.S. include Transamerica, GMAC, Prudential Capital, Talmer Bank, and most recently Chemical/TCF Bank.
Shapiro has over three decades as a leader in the commercial finance and leasing arena. He has successfully built large, profitable and growth businesses for companies including Borg Warner, Pitney Bowes, GMAC, Prudential Capital, Talmer Bank and most recently Chemical/TCF Bank.
Mulder has more than 20 years of experience with a broad background in commercial credit and risk management experience from both JPMorgan and Citizens Financial Group. For the past 10 years he has led a commercial finance underwriting and portfolio management team responsible for the western U.S. and industry verticals. His experience encompasses a full range of clients from middle market to large corporate across all commercial finance industries with specialties in rail, corporate aircraft and indirect lending. His primary focus has been on risk management, deal structure and credit policy.
Vasilakos is a commercial finance and banking veteran with more than 30 years of experience. A high-impact leader who uses proven business-building abilities to enhance relationships and drive growth in highly competitive environments. His career trajectory began as an award-winning top line salesman to several highly successful leadership roles, Vasilakos brings a wide breadth of experiential knowledge to the team.
Riecker is a restaurant financing industry veteran with over 20 years of experience, including leading several national franchise finance groups. Additionally, Riecker brings a broad range of finance knowledge and expertise focused on the QSR and the health and fitness segments.
Fletcher is a seasoned financial sales executive specializing in the branded retail, franchise industry. During his career that spans more than 25 years with both asset based and securitized lenders, he has sourced, negotiated and closed more than $1.5 billion in loan originations, primarily to small and mid-sized food service franchisees.
Finch has over 20 years of experience covering all facets of franchise lending including credit, special assets, business development and capital markets. In addition, he brings deep expertise in C&I and real estate finance in the franchise restaurant and retail energy sectors.
Chiarenzelli brings 24 years of major account experience in commercial finance with GE Capital, Caterpillar Financial, BMO, and since 2016 with the Chemical/TCF Bank commercial finance team. His career has primarily revolved around building and managing relationships with trucking and construction companies in the middle market and larger corporate segments across the United States.
Lewis is a licensed aircraft technician with more than 30 years of experience in the business/corporate aircraft segment, including 20 years at Net Jets, a premier fractional aircraft ownership company, where he served as executive vice president and maintenance director and executive vice president of aircraft sales and acquisitions. Lewis has spent the past 7 years in aviation finance with the commercial finance team.
Roegner has more than 30 years of experience in credit, underwriting and managing portfolios for middle market and large corporate clients. His underwriting expertise covers a diverse spectrum including commercial finance, asset based lending and large ticket structured corporate finance transactions.
Lyle brings 25 years of experience as an equipment finance professional. He is well versed in all debt and lease structures with a strong emphasis on developing and maintaining long-term relationships in the transportation, construction and inland and offshore marine space.
About Simmons Bank
Simmons Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ: SFNC), a Mid-South based financial holding company with approximately $23.4 billion in assets as of June 30, 2021. Simmons Bank operates 198 branches, including 68 in Arkansas, 48 in Missouri, 33 in Tennessee, 23 in Texas, 20 in Oklahoma and 6 in Kansas. Founded in 1903, Simmons Bank offers comprehensive financial solutions delivered with a client-centric approach. Simmons Bank was recently named to Forbes magazine’s list of “World’s Best Banks” for the second consecutive year and ranked among the top 30 banks in Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Banks” for 2021. Additional information about Simmons Bank can be found on our website at simmonsbank.com, by following @Simmons_Bank on Twitter or by visiting our newsroom.
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