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TCF Equipment Finance Review

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TCF Equipment Finance Review

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Date Established
1923
Location
Milwaukee, WI

Pros

  • Suited for small businesses
  • Moderate APR

Cons

  • Opaque terms and fees
  • Stringent qualifications

Overview

TCF Equipment Finance is a division of Minnesota-based TCF National Bank.

TCF offers a broad range of equipment financing options to well-established businesses at reasonable interest rates, catering to borrowers interested in buying or leasing.

They are, however, a conservative lender with stringent qualifications. Newer businesses or those who haven’t established good credit will probably need to look for other financing alternatives.

Think TCF might be right for you? Read on.

Services Offered

TCF Equipment Finance provides the following types of business funding:

Industries Served

TCF can provide equipment financing to businesses in the following industries:

  • Agriculture
  • Airport
  • Capital markets
  • Commercial marine
  • Construction
  • Franchise finance
  • Environmental services
  • Golf
  • Healthcare
  • Homecare
  • Manufacturing
  • Material handling
  • Municipal
  • Railroad support equipment
  • Transportation
  • Specialty markets

Borrower Qualifications

TCF prefers to do business with established businesses with decent credit. While there are no minimum revenue guidelines per se, TCF will want you to demonstrate an ability to make your monthly payments. The more money you’re seeking, the higher your income will need to be:

Time in business: 5 years
Credit score: 700+
Revenue:Variable

Terms & Fees

Here is an overview of TCF Equipment Finance’s products:

Amount:$25K+
Term length:Varies by lease and industry
Interest rate:5.5% – 7%
Down payment:First and last month for most leases. Loans typically cover 80% of cost
Buyout agreement: Tax Leases;
Lease Purchase;
Finance Lease ($1 Purchase Option)
Equipment Loans;
Operating Leases;
Interim Funding;
TRAC Leases;
Equipment Finance Agreements (EFAs)
Additional costs:Unknown
Effective APR:Learn more

The big trick to equipment financing is structuring your lease or loan in a way that suits the needs of your business. TCF offers a fairly large number of potential solutions to sift through.

Equipment financing products break down in a few different ways. The first big distinction is between leases and loans. Loans tend to be more traditional bank products that cover around 80 percent of expenses, though this can also include EFAs, which cover the whole of the equipment cost like a lease, but use the terminology of a loan (borrower, lender, etc).

Equipment loans will typically use the equipment you’re buying as collateral, so in most cases, these products will be secured loans. For this reason, equipment loans often have lower interest rates than unsecured loans from the same lender would have. If you default, the bank can simply take possession of the equipment they financed.

Otherwise, equipment loans resemble typical bank term loans: they accrue interest over time and feature payments at regular intervals, usually monthly. If you think you might pay off your loan ahead of schedule, make sure you are aware of any prepayment penalties that may apply.

Leases are a bit more complicated. Leases generally fall under one of two major umbrellas: finance (capital) leases and operating leases.

Capital leases tend to transfer the title of the equipment to the lessee before the end of the lease, making them function primarily as loan alternatives. One of the most common types is the $1 buyout lease, which offers fixed-rate payments for the duration of the lease, ending with a $1 residual. Other forms of capital leases, like lease purchase, may offer more flexibility in terms of monthly payments, leaving a larger residual payment at the end of the lease.

Operating leases, on the other hand, tend to function more like shorter-term rental agreements. In many cases, the lessee will return the equipment at the end of the lease, although they will often have the option to buy it, usually at Fair Market Value. Tax leases, in which the lessor explicitly retains ownership for tax purposes, will usually fall under this umbrella. TRAC Leases are another variation that are often used for commercial vehicles. Be aware that laws governing operating leases are changing, making it more difficult for lease payments to be written off as operating expenses.

Application Process

You can begin the application online. TCF isn’t specific about the turnaround time on applications, but generally, equipment financing is significantly faster than business loans. TCF will do a hard pull on your credit before rendering an initial decision. This typically takes between two to four hours. You will, of course, want an idea of the equipment you want to buy or lease and the vendor with whom you want to make the purchase. You’ll also want to have basic information about your business and recent finances ready.

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Sales & Advertising Transparency

TCF’s website is a bit on the old-fashioned side, but it gives an effective rundown of the types of equipment financing they provide as well as some of the advantages offered by each type of product. You won’t find any concrete information about rates or qualifications, though, without contacting the bank for more information. For those interested in buying used equipment acquired by TCF, you can also find information about making direct purchases from the bank.

Customer Service & Technical Support

As is often the case with an institution of its size, it can be a bit of a chore navigating to the right department to get your questions answered. TCF staff is friendly, however, and happy to take down my information and return my call. Beyond that, however, there aren’t a ton of user reviews (good or bad) of the equipment financing division of TCF, so it’s hard to say how good the average customer experience is.

You can contact TCF Equipment finance by phone, by email. You can also find them on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

TCF Equipment Financing has an A+ rating with the BBB, but they aren’t currently accredited. There are no reviews or complaints listed on the site, although the parent company does have a number of complaints logged, many of which are complaints about overdraft fees.

  • Recent Government Action Against Bank: TCF Bank currently rates at a B+ due to regulatory actions against them for violating the Bank Secrecy Act.
  • Customer Service: My call was returned in a matter of hours, but if you’re looking for immediate service, you may be disappointed.
  • Newer Companies Have A Hard Time Qualifying: If you’ve been in business less than five years and don’t have excellent credit, you’re out of luck.

Positive Reviews &Testimonials

What’s the upside to doing business with TCF? Some of the better aspects include:

  • Lots Of Options: TCF will work with you to find a lease or loan that fits your needs, whether you’re looking to buy or lease.
  • Good Rates: Though not easy to qualify for, TCF’s rates are quite reasonable. If you have excellent credit, they’re worth a closer look.
  • Well-Established: TCF has been around for a while and has deep pockets, taking some of the potential stress and anxiety out of borrowing.

Final Verdict

TCF is a good solution for businesses looking for a stable, more traditional lender to handle their equipment financing needs. With decent customer service, versatile options, and reasonable interest rates, businesses that qualify should find plenty to like here. Newer businesses, unfortunately, probably won’t be able to meet TCF’s stringent qualifications.

If you’re looking for alternatives, check out our other equipment financing comparisons to find a lender who works with your industry and offers the terms you’re looking for.

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Quickly compare top lending options
LenderBorrowing AmountTermInterest/Factor RateAdditional FeesNext Steps

$2K - $5MVariesAs low as 2%VariesVisit Site

$5K - $500K24 - 72 monthsStarts at 5%YesCompare

Up to $250K1 - 72 monthsStarts at 5.49%VariesCompare
Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Finance Writer at Merchant Maverick
Chris Motola is a writer, programmer, game designer, and product of NY. These days he's mostly writing about financial products, but in a past life he wrote about health care and business. He's a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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