For Factoring, Different Spin, Same Issues as MCA

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Factoring Conference

They called it the 2017 Factoring Conference, but an MCA professional would’ve hardly noticed. On the agenda was news about Dodd-Frank’s Section 1071, the now-dead NY lending legislation, usury litigation, confessions of judgment, stacking, fintech and gripes about brokers. And yet factors and MCA companies still largely live separate lives.

The underlying differences between the two industries are as much cultural as they are contractual. The International Factoring Association’s directory reports having nearly twice as many members from Texas as they do from New York. They also list having more members from Utah than they do New Jersey. Compare that to our own readership at deBanked in which website visitors and magazine subscribers are most heavily concentrated in New York, California, Florida and New Jersey. Texas ranks 8th for subscribers and Utah is much, much farther down. And while purely based on my unscientific observation, I’d wager a bet that the average age of a factoring company owner is at least a decade older (probably much more) than the average age of an MCA company owner.

Differing philosophies between the two industries are perhaps exacerbated by this generational and demographic gap.

On a fintech disruption panel at the factoring conference last week, Pearl Capital CEO Sol Lax told attendees that the MCA industry was not only innovative but ultra competitive. “You either need to evolve or become a phone booth,” he said. Other panelists explained that today’s average small business is focused on speed and simplicity and that they’ve built their models around that.

But factoring has survived the test of time. In the latest issue of The Commercial Factor, Jeremy B. Tatge traces the first factoring agreement in America to 1628. “This spirit has endured and survived wars of independence, such as the American Revolution, two World Wars in the Twentieth Century, and even down to the present day (NATO being but one of many examples),” he writes.

Will technology finally break that spirit or will today’s stereotypical young MCA company owner from New York and Florida eventually find themselves becoming older, wiser, and ready to lay down roots in the midwest? Will they trade the Las Vegas conferences for honky tonks in Cowtown?

I don’t believe that such a transition even has to happen. Whatever differences the two industries have, they are united by common causes and issues and can evolve together.

Last modified: April 10, 2017
Sean Murray

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