Amur Equipment Finance, a Grand Island-based business, will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in September.
“Amur has always been an independently-owned equipment finance company that specializes in helping small businesses,” said Todd Wainwright, senior vice president.
Amur Equipment Finance will be honored by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce in June as one of its Business of the Year.
Even though the pandemic affected many businesses, Wainwright said Amur has seen much growth over the last five years.
“We really have focused on being the ‘champion of small business,’” he said. “We have invested in our company, our infrastructure and even more so in our people. We have seen exponential over the last five years.”
Wainwright said since 1996, when the company was founded in Grand Island, the company has built a network of more than 15,000 vendors and has helped more than 40,000 small businesses.
“We really look at small business as the true life blood of America’s economy,” he said. “Our mission is to help them anyway we can through equipment financing solutions.”
Many of Amur’s customers, Wainwright said, are focused on the day-to-day operations of their business.
“We have to be creative in our solutions and be available anytime of the day to respond to them and get them the financing to help them acquire the necessary equipment to build their business, hire more people and grow the economy on the nation level,” he said.
Amur Equipment Finance delivers efficient and flexible finance solutions to better serve business owners, manufacturers, distributors, importers or dealers.
The company announced record growth in the fourth quarter of 2020 with an increased of 27%, year over year, with a 34% year over year increase in application volume, which set new records for monthly and quarterly origination and application volume during the fourth quarter overall.
Amur’s presence in the digital sphere has grown dramatically as well. Year over year, Wainwright said Amur has seen a 16-fold increase in visitors to its website, with a dramatic uptick in usage of the digital tools and applications the company has invested in over the last year to help small businesses manage their financing needs.
That growth has allowed Amur to increased its employee headcount by more than 50 percent since March 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Wainwright said they have opened two new offices in Lincoln and Rapid City, S.D. With its origins in Grand Island, Wainwright now has three offices in Nebraska and has enlarged presence within its Great Plains regional footprint.
Last year, Wainwright said Amur, like many other companies, did not expect the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. He said many businesses had to delay financing new equipment.
“We were able to, in a pretty quick turnaround, change our direction and still be there for the small businesses to help,” Wainwright said. “Obviously, a lot of them were not financing or put their financing on hold, but we were still there and still open for business.”
Wainwright credits that quick turnaround to adjust to the new realities caused by the pandemic to Amur’s employees who did what was needed to help their customers.
“That helped strengthen relationships with our existing customers,” he said. “We have seen a rebound. We are seeing a nice increase in business.”
And as they enter into their 25th year, this Grand Island originated business is expecting continued growth as the economy climbs out of its pandemic slump.
Wainwright said Amur’s growth is a result of its focus of helping small businesses and continuing to develop a “world class company culture” with their employees dedication in helping their customers.
“It starts with our people and expands out in allowing us to be that champion of small businesses,” he said.
Amur purchased the former Wells Fargo Bank in Railside and has remodeled the building to serve as headquarters as the company continues 25 years of growth.
When it came time for Amur to expand its business, Wainwright said it was the employees who wanted to remain in the Railside District. Because of the pandemic, he said their workforce was quickly transitioned to work at home and as the pandemic wanes, more and more workers are returning to its new headquarters.
“We are really proud and happy to be downtown,” he said.
But the future of Amur lies with its employees, Wainwright said.
“We have tons of success stories of people who started at entry level position and who are now managers or supervisors within the company,” he said. “Our investment in our technology and people are what’s going to continue to drive our exponential growth year over year.”
Last year, Amur was voted Best Employer in Grand Island for the fourth consecutive years as part of the Grand Island Independent’s “Best of Grand Island” program, where readers vote for businesses in more than 100 individual categories.
Amur was also honored as a Great Place to Work-Certified for 2020, with 95% of Amur’s employees confirming that Amur is a great place to work. This is the third year in a row Amur has achieved the Great Place to Work-Certified designation.
“That is fantastic,” Wainwright said. “That is one of the things I very proud of, as our leaders are as well.”
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