Alliance Funding Group No Comments

The quest for wealth first drew Brij Patel, president of Alliance Funding Group, to the finance industry. After launching a company, transitioning from a broker to a lender and asset management firm, Patel has demonstrated that true success stems from adaptability and a willingness to embrace change.

After earning an accounting degree, Brij Patel found his way into equipment leasing. One of Patel’s lessees suggested that Patel launch a leasing company. Patel jumped at the opportunity and grew the company to 10 employees before selling it to the investor. After that, in 1998, Patel launched Alliance Funding Group (AFG).

Since its inception, AFG has undergone several phases. After operating as a broker for seven years, the AFG team learned the ins and outs of discounting and AFG became a lessor. At the company’s 15-year mark, an M&A opportunity arose, which ultimately revealed the limited enterprise value creation of brokers lessors without a tangible book of assets. Patel and his partners decided to transform AFG into a lender and asset manager, adopting a multi-product approach encompassing small ticket, mid-market and working capital solutions.

Making the switch from broker to holding a sizeable balance sheet takes capital. After building the human capital and infrastruc- ture necessary to operate as a lender, AFG secured a $125 million revolver and a $175 million warehouse facility and went to market with its first ABS issuance in 2023. Although AFG has secured solid standing as a lender, the company has maintained its decades-long industry relations as a lessor and continues to sell portfolios that are ser- viced and retained. AFG’s total assets under management are more than $700 million.
Patel’s short-term vision for AFG involves continued investments in technology to enhance risk management capabilities. He believes AI should augment human capabilities rather than replace them, making humans more powerful and driving productivity.

Looking at today’s market, Patel has his eye on delinquencies. If they remain stable, he
foresees banks getting back into the game; if they rise, he expects banks to continue their retreat.

“Their cost of funds advantage will absolutely play a role, but I still believe private credit,
in every lending vertical, will play a larger role overall in this environment,” Patel says. “They’ll just get more business because banks are going to be more conservative in lending.”

For young entrepreneurs, Patel offers this advice: “One thing I’ve learned over the last 28 years managing a business is to be patient, flexible and opportunistic. We are not where we are as a company because we’re that much better than anybody else. We just fought through all the economic cycles, survived, learned and grew.”

Credit: Erin Rafter of Monitor Magazine