Associated Bank Expands Equipment Finance Team in Wisconsin,

Associated Bank broadened its equipment finance vertical with new hires in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.

In Wisconsin, Michael Gaona joined Associated Bank as vice president and portfolio manager for corporate banking, while Rich Pondel joined as senior vice president and portfolio manager for corporate banking. In addition, Associated Bank promoted Jennifer VanHulle to senior sales and support specialist for corporate banking.

Gaona will be based in Milwaukee and be responsible for credit underwriting and financial analysis of prospective and existing customers while supporting growth and development of the bank’s equipment finance and leasing portfolio.

Gaona has nearly 10 years of equipment financing experience. Previously, he was with CNH Industrial Capital, where he held the position of senior credit analyst and was responsible for credit underwriting of strategic accounts. Prior to that, he held similar analyst roles with U.S. Bank and GE Capital Healthcare Finance.

Pondel will be based in Lake Geneva, WI, and be responsible for credit underwriting and financial analysis of prospective and existing customers while supporting growth and development of the bank’s equipment finance and leasing portfolio.

Pondel has nearly 40 years of equipment financing experience. Previously, he was with Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citizens Bank, where he held the positions of senior credit underwriter and credit manager and was responsible for credit underwriting and portfolio management of strategic equipment finance accounts.

VanHulle will be based in Oconto, WI, and be responsible for supporting the bank’s equipment finance division with loans and leases.

VanHulle has more than 16 years of banking experience. Most recently at Associated Bank, she held the role of senior operations technician in commercial loan services and handled the servicing of participations. Prior to that, she supported back-office operations for the bank’s legacy leasing division.

In Illinois, Alex Williams joined Associated Bank as senior vice president and director of equipment finance syndications for corporate banking and Thomas Wolf joined as senior vice president and equipment finance and leasing relationship manager. Both Williams and Wolf will be based in Chicago.

Williams has nearly 20 years of banking experience and will be responsible for all equipment finance related capital markets initiatives across the United States for the bank and will also assist the equipment finance team in achieving its growth trajectory goals. He previously held the role of executive director and leasing syndication manager with J.P. Morgan’s equipment finance business. Prior to that, he was with BB&T’s equipment finance group in its buy-side capital markets group. He also previously worked with GE Capital in various lending/leasing and third-party origination roles.

Wolf has more than 20 years of banking experience and will be responsible for business development and bank partnership coverage for Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. He was previously with Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, where he supported the middle market for the states of Illinois and Wisconsin. Prior to that, he was a business banker with Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

In Minnesota, Alex Steinhaus joined Associated Bank as senior vice president and equipment finance and leasing relationship manager for corporate banking. He will be based in Minneapolis and be responsible for business development and bank partnership coverage for Minnesota in addition to parts of Michigan, Missouri and Iowa.

Steinhaus has more than 10 years of banking experience. Previously, he was with Amur Equipment Finance. Prior to that, he was with the commercial vehicle group at Wells Fargo Equipment Finance.

Associated Bank launched its equipment finance division in October 2021 when it hired Scott Dienes as senior vice president and head of equipment finance and leasing to build the new business vertical.

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