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2022 Inductee, Wells Fargo Capital Finance
Stewart Hayes is managing director for Wells Fargo Capital Finance’s (WFCF) Lender Finance group. He joined Wells Fargo in 2000 as one of the original team members of Lender Finance and serves as a senior team member. Lender Finance is a leading provider of credit facilities to commercial specialty finance companies. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he worked at Bank of America Commercial Finance for 16 years, holding executive management positions at both its Business Credit and Factoring divisions.
Stewart has been active in the SFNET for 35-plus years. Highlights include:
• Serving on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for over 15 years.
• Membership chair for five years.
• Annual Convention chair - 2017 (one of the highest attended Annual Convention events ever).
• 40 Under 40 chair for three years - 2020, 2021, 2022
• Current chair of the SFNET Foundation Board.
Additionally, he is a member of both the International Factoring Association and the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Upon completion of a bank credit training program, I was encouraged by Stephen Fisher to accept a placement in the asset-based lending (ABL) group. At that time, not many people were picking the ABL group. This turned out to be one of the best moves in my career. I spent 15 years with industry icon Jim Casper as my mentor. He not only taught me the business, but, more importantly, demonstrated how to conduct business the right way with hard work, honesty, and integrity. I subsequently had the pleasure to work with SFNet Hall of Famers Michael Haddad, Scott Diehl, and of course Andrea Petro (for 17 years).
What role did SFNet, its events and connections play in your career development?
The SFNet provides endless opportunities to connect with and learn from others in the industry. I have had the pleasure of serving in multiple SFNet roles over the years, providing connectivity to multiple individuals and organizations in our industry including many senior executives. While this time was voluntary on my part, this in fact provided significant positive exposure for Wells Fargo, has been instrumental in the success of our business, and greatly enhanced my career. Definitely time well spent.
What are some of your most memorable moments?
A few that jump out: 1) As a senior member of the WFCF Lender Finance team for 22 years, we provide financing for numerous independent finance companies that are members of the SFNet. This has included providing financing for multiple start-up and restart finance companies. It is really gratifying to work closely with someone for many years, watch them successfully grow and, in many cases, successfully sell their business, and have them truly appreciate your contributions. This has led to many long-term personal relationships and great memories; 2) Being involved with the SFNet 40U40 program from the outset has been quite enjoyable and rewarding. It is wonderful to see the extensive talent in our industry and be a part of honoring deserving individuals; 3) - Serving as SFNet Annual Convention chair in 2017. This was one of the highest attended Annual Convention events ever and was at a time when the SFNet really needed it.
What advice would you give?
Be nice to everyone. Our industry is small and you will come across the same people over and over.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
Maintaining a good reputation. I have always strived to treat people the right way, and help them even when we could not provide financing to them. It is nice to know that people will respond when I reach out.