2021 Inductee, Bank of America Business Credit
Richard Madresh spent 32 years in the asset-based lending industry, retiring in 2000. In 1968 he graduated from Northeastern with a major in accounting and had begun working at GE, when he was drafted for the Vietnam War. By a fortunate set of circumstances, he spent his Army career in the admissions office for the West Point Preparatory School in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. While in the Army, he attended graduate school at George Washington University and later earned his M.B.A. Madresh began his career at GE Credit and moved on to become chairman and president of BankAmerica Business Credit. He is a past chairman and president of the Secured Finance Network. After retiring, Madresh became the assistant tennis coach at his daughter’s high school, as his daughter was the captain. He now lives in New Jersey and is enjoying being close to his four-year-old granddaughter. Madresh has been happily married for 53 years to his wife, Barbara.
Please tell us how you got your start in the industry:
I started with GE as part of a study-and-work program at Northeastern University in Boston. I went to school six months of each year. I graduated after five years and already had two-and-a-half years of business experience.
While in the Army, I attended George Washington University and graduated in 1972 with an MBA in finance. After the Army, I went back to work for GE on the internal audit staff and after three years rose to manager of the staff that audits GECC’s commercial finance clients. GE had just entered the asset-based lending business and had a $50-million portfolio, which at that point was considered big time. I had the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs being financed and I loved it. I didn’t like accounting for a career. It was a natural progression moving into GE Credit, when I headed the audit staff for the commercial finance unit.
My introduction to asset-based lending came at GE Credit (which later became GE Capital), the lending arm of GE, where I developed an audit program for GE Credit customers.
The average loan level was about $1 million, but I saw it as a major industry. I loved the business and wanted to get into the middle of it, rather than just keep score for somebody else.
I moved ahead and in 1977 I was running the East Coast for GE Credit’s commercial finance unit. Later, I headed its Acquisition Funding operation.
We were doing LBO loans. They were all secured, but there were some stretches. We were doing loans of $50 million, considered huge in those days. There was only 10 percent equity at best, but the profitability for lenders was good. In all, I spent over 16 years with GE.
In 1983, I went to Security Pacific Business Credit on the East Coast. Two years earlier, Security Pacific had purchased A.J. Armstrong for over $100 million, but the Armstrong portfolio was declining and needed help. Security Pacific came to me to take over the East Coast for them. At the time, it had a $150-million portfolio. In 1986, I moved to the West Coast to work under the head of Security Pacific’s non-bank businesses. It was a lot of administrative work and, truthfully, I hated the job. After about six months, I was put in charge of a team to purchase Wells Fargo’s asset-based business. The deal involved a $400-million portfolio and, in the transaction, we picked up about 40 key employees for Security Pacific Business Credit and, I guess as my reward, I was made president. The combined company had a portfolio of about $1 billion. In 1992, when BankAmerica bought us, we had about $2.5 billion. This was a major opportunity for us as it gave us a parent who had the capital for our expansion.
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