Business & Finance

Associated hires executive to lead equipment finance business

Associated Banc-Corp. has recruited a veteran commercial banker from Wells Fargo to lead its new equipment finance business.

The Green Bay, Wisconsin, company named Scott Dienes as president of equipment finance and leasing. In the new role, he will be responsible for the equipment finance team, as well as the unit’s overall strategy.

Before joining Associated, Dienes worked at Wells Fargo for 9 years and GE Capital for more than 12 years. He has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, Associated said in a press release Monday.

The addition of Dienes is part of a broader plan to boost lending at the $34 billion-asset bank. Earlier this year, Associated CEO Andy Harmening outlined several steps the company has been taking to boost revenue. Those moves include making technology investments and bulking up across wealth management and commercial banking.

Associated expects loan balances in the equipment finance business to grow to more than $150 million by the end of 2022 and more than $300 million by the end of 2023, executives said during the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call. The company plans to round out that team in the fourth quarter and start making loans in the first quarter of 2022.

Speaking at an industry conference in September, Harmening cited Associated’s strong brand in Wisconsin, the state’s robust manufacturing base and pent-up demand among commercial clients as reasons for the move into equipment finance.

“We’re right in the heart of the manufacturing belt,” Harmening said. “So, for us, this is a logical extension of a commercial middle market strategy.”

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