Pioneer in Small Fleet Leasing Retires
Jerry Duffy, senior VP, leasing & fleet management for The Bancorp Bank, retired Dec. 31, 2017, capping a 45-year career in small fleet leasing market.
Duffy started his career in fleet leasing in 1971 after graduating from Villanova University with a degree in economics. Duffy went to work for Genway Corporation, which set up General Motors dealers to use a leasing finance plan, which at the time was still a relatively new and not well understood form of vehicle funding. “Soon after, a dealer with a Genway franchise went under and I was asked to run the small leasing company that Genway was forced to take over,” said Duffy. “I had to quickly learn all facets of the leasing business.”
Duffy continued to work for various business interests owned by Eustace Wolfington, the founder of Genway, until 1975 when he had the opportunity to start a vehicle leasing department within the State National Bank of Maryland.
“The department was as unique then as it is today – there is no leasing company. The lease was direct between the lessee and the bank,” said Duffy.
The State National Bank of Maryland was owned by the Cohen family from Philadelphia. “They understood leasing and allowed me to grow the portfolio. State National Bank was eventually sold and Betsy Cohen started Jefferson Bank, which then bought the leasing portfolio of State National Bank. She later sold Jefferson Bank and started The Bancorp Bank and the whole thing happened again,” said Duffy. “I worked for Betsy Cohen for 40-plus years with the leasing department following Cohen from bank to bank.”
At the time of Duffy’s retirement, The Bancorp Bank had a portfolio of over 12,000 vehicles on lease operating in 48 states. “Over the years our direct from the bank lease competed with dealers, brokers, and the majors. We always focused on where they didn’t go – small commercial fleets and government, primarily local governments,” said Duffy. “More important than access to lease financing, these end-users needed assistance in how to buy, manage, and dispose of motor vehicles. We became their fleet managers.”
Duffy was an active member of the National Vehicle Leasing Association (NVLA) and supported its efforts to protect the interests of independent leasing companies from regulators, the financial community, and manufacturers.