Veteran services

Joe Nachbin: Veteran – The Deal Whisperer

Joe Nachbin,

Alta Group

Joe Nachbin’s passion for funding equipment was so strong that he remained dedicated to his work until two hours before his death in July 2022, according to his wife, Ruby Nachbin. Lawyer and investment banker Paul Bent, Alta Group’s senior managing director, said Nachbin was “on the game” and “sharp as ever” until the end. Nachbin had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just two months before succumbing to the disease.

Nachbin has devoted four decades of his career to equipment financing. According to The Alta Group, Nachbin began his career as an auditor for a bank before becoming a salesperson and large-note specialist with Continental Illinois Bank, structuring and managing transactions with Heller Financial and Flagship Credit, providing senior management experience. with Copelco Financial Services and for the past 20 years as a highly valued leasing consultant and expert with Alta Group.

John Deane, a member of The Alta Group’s board of directors, said Nachbin was a member of an unofficial ad hoc committee that represented bank leasing companies that would become the Association of Equipment Lessors, a predecessor of Equipment. Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA). Nachbin later served as a director of ELFA and chairman of its accounting and compensation committees.

Behind the businessman

Ruby and Joe Nachbin have been married for 31 years. According to Ruby Nachbin, her husband was an avid reader, a Chicago Cubs fan, and he loved his stepmother’s sweet potato pie. Nachbin enjoyed spending time with his family and reading to his grandchildren. He was religious and attended most holiday services at his synagogue.

“He was a great listener, he was interested in other people and he always had a quick laugh, which for me is a big thing in people,” Bent said. “It was Joe. I think he was very good about himself.

“I have hardly ever met anyone, especially in a work environment, who has never had bad things to say about anyone. Your mother taught you, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’ Joe lived on that,” Bent says. “I don’t remember in all the years that I’ve known him that he participated in the gossip that everyone indulges in from time to time. He never did that. He was truly an honorable and gracious person. And I think it was real. I think that’s who he really was.

“He helped people when they came to him with their issues or problems, and it didn’t have to be something about an account, but just in general,” says Ruby Nachbin. “He didn’t mind talking about just about anything to anyone…and he was like a vacuum cleaner for knowledge.”

Lead by example and experience

Deane says Nachbin’s leadership stemmed from his knowledge: “Joe was older when he was still working for Alta, and some clients’ first impression was, ‘This guy’s too old. What is he doing here? What is his knowledge? How is it relevant to what I do today? And it was always fun to work on something like that with him and see what happened in the beginning. And then ask him to blow them away with why he was there, what he knew, and the value he brought to the engagement because of his experience and knowledge developed over 50+ years in the business. ‘company.

Bent says people respected Nachbin so much that he was a leader by action: “Joe didn’t have to say, ‘Come follow me,’ he was just giving his opinion and point of view on issues, and people followed his lead. In that sense, he had an innate leadership quality – a leader by example and experience.

Deane notes that while Nachbin was quiet, he wasn’t afraid to tackle something that wasn’t very popular at the time or something that people weren’t focusing on properly. “When he spoke, people paid attention to him,” Deane says.
“Joe was super ethical and professional. He had a kindness,” says Bill Verhelle, CEO of QuickFi. “He just embodied everything that is positive about people you respect in business.”

Nachbin worked closely with Verhelle during his time at First American Equipment Finance, where he conducted a deep dive into the business with Tom Wajnert (now Alta’s Chairman of the Board) and attended executive meetings. business and brainstorming sessions. And even after City National acquired the company and ended his need for financial advisers, Nachbin stayed in touch with the people he had worked with at First American.

“The business relationship was over, but Joe still emailed me around Christmas and just sent his best wishes,” said Mike Ziegelman, who is now chief financial officer at QuickFi. “He was just a genuine guy.”

A sixth sense for deals

Verhelle kept Nachbin on as a consultant after QuickFi launched. “It was almost like an insurance policy involving Joe,” says Verhelle. “The things that get you in trouble in business are the things where you think you don’t need help and are actually derailed. You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s where the problems come in. I just knew that if there was something like this, Joe would find it.

“He had a wonderful nose for sniffing out something wrong,” Deane says. “Sometimes it was fraud in a company’s portfolio. Sometimes it was someone in due diligence trying to explain how they did something that didn’t make sense. So he knew the answer was not necessarily fraudulent, but not complete or not correct.

Bent says Nachbin was a rare person who could read notes from a financial statement or static loss pool like poetry, immediately identifying problems. “I think he was really a whisperer,” Bent says. “He had the magic touch.”

Deane recalls an instance in which the Alta Group declined a commitment because Nachbin urged the team to avoid affiliating with a particular organization, even as a consultant. “Which turned out to be very prophetic, as it was one of the biggest regulatory, legal and fraud stories in the history of the industry,” Deane says.

In other situations, Nachbin would encourage an Alta client to avoid a deal if it didn’t work for them, even if it meant the Alta Group had missed a revenue opportunity.

“When you’re in a business and you get paid by the hour, you want business to come through the front door,” Deane says. “I considered it a mark of high personality. It’s quite easy to circumvent its principles when you want to pay for heating and electricity. And standing firm and not doing that, I think that was a real trademark of Joe.

Deane says Nachbin was “one of the most remarkably straightforward and honest people” he had ever met who was “always concerned with doing the right things”. Deane notes that working on projects with Nachbin “was a joy” because there were no shortcuts. “He really wanted to make sure he understood what was going on with a commitment.”

Nachbin wasn’t driven by his personal standing in a deal or opportunities to make more money or look like a big hit. “It was as far away from Joe as you could get,” Bent says. “He really believed in just doing what he knows how to do best: understanding the deal and working it.

“He will definitely be missed,” Bent said. “He has been a tremendous asset to our company and to the industry. I read recently that everyone actually dies twice, once when they’re physically gone and then the last time someone says their name. And I really took that to heart. I think someone like Joe should be remembered and talked about because he contributed so much to the company, to his colleagues and to the world at large. I think we should have more people like Joe.

Rita E. Garwood is editor-in-chief of Monitor.