About
First Financial
Equipment Leasing

Our goal is simple: provide creative and accessible leasing solutions for companies acquiring capital equipment and technology with a timely and straightforward approach

Why Choose First Financial Equipment Leasing

For over 20 years, First Financial Equipment Leasing has helped businesses discover better leasing options and implement the latest technologies. Our extensive background covers all sectors, including construction & heavy equipment, healthcare, IT solutions and services, material handling & automation, and renewable energy & solar. We constantly identify new opportunities in the market and pivot when necessary, so we can further expand and improve our offerings. Working closely with our clients, through every stage of the leasing process, we create cost-effective, innovative financial products tailored to their objectives. This consultative approach has helped us build lasting relationships with businesses and has made us an industry leader in customer retention.

A new company for a new century.

In 2000, industry veterans Richard Stebbins and Tom Slevin set out to establish a leasing company that offered smart, adaptable, and cost-effective financing solutions. By using a consultative approach and focusing on customer care, First Financial has steadily grown to become one of the largest independent equipment leasing companies in North America.

From the OC to across the country.

Headquartered in Orange County, CA, First Financial Equipment Leasing operates numerous regional offices across the US and formed First Financial Canadian Leasing Ltd. in 2022 to expand offerings into growing and diverse markets. Staffed with dedicated, experienced team members, these offices are vital to delivering outstanding service and a more personalized experience.

Expanding our offerings.

From the very beginning, our goal was to work with customers and businesses of all types. We’ve continued to grow our client base, products, and service options year after year. Today we are proud to collaborate with an array of companies, including middle-market firms, vendors, dealers, hospitals, and Fortune 500 corporations. Our transactions range from $1MM to well over $50MM.

A partnership for the future.

In 2019, First Financial Equipment Leasing joined the JA Mitsui Leasing family of companies and extended our presence throughout the leasing industry. Established in 1971, JA Mitsui is a joint venture of Mitsui & Co. (2022 revenue $96B) and Norinchukin Bank (2022 assets totaling $1.05 Trillion). We look forward to the challenges and opportunities this partnership will bring to our company and our clients in the years ahead.

Leadership Team

Amy Yeager

VP Human Resources

Audrey Kent

VP Head of Credit

Brian Dundon

SVP, Credit and Portfolio Risk Management

Brian Hutchison

SVP Construction & Industrial

Dave Sanborne

SVP & National Sales Manager

David Anderson

SVP Operations Manager

Derrick Bavol

VP Sales Manager

Eric Breekland

SVP Head of Project Finance

Hayley Chavarria

VP Portfolio Risk

Hiroshi Kobayashi

CFO

Jessica VanWert

General Counsel

Lori Leavey

VP Marketing & Communications

Thomas Slevin

CEO & Co-Founder

Our Story

2000
Founders Tom Slevin and Richard Stebbins start First Financial Corporate Services in Southern California with one office and a shared telephone.
2004
Rapid expansion triggers corporate headquarters to relocate into larger facility in Southern California, and opening of several new regional offices across North America.
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2010
Debuts on the Monitor’s listing of Top 25 Independent Leasing Company.
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2012
Debuts on the INC 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies.
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2018
Celebrates almost 10 years of recognition by Monitor as a Top Independent Leasing Company.
2022
First Financial Equipment Leasing Acquires Norfund Capital and broadens offerings in North America with the formation of First Financial Canadian Leasing Ltd.
2003
Company celebrates hitting $100M mark in total lease originations since its beginning.
2008
First Financial Veteran’s Leasing is formed to support and increase diversity initiatives.
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2011
Recognized by the Orange County Business Journal as one of the fastest growing companies.
2016
Surpasses $1B of equipment leases originated since company inception.
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2019
First Financial is acquired by JA Mitsui Leasing and joins a global network of companies reaching 66 countries across a range of diversified markets including IT & Telecom, Electronics, Industrial Machinery, Construction, and Transportation.
Amy Yeager

Amy Yeager

VP Human Resources

Amy Yeager is the head of Human Resources for our operations in the United States and Canada. Her role involves managing all HR functions for First Financial and supporting all employees, whether they work in the office, hybrid, or remotely. This includes developing HR programs, policies, and initiatives that align with the company’s goals, ensuring compliance, and treating staff with respect and appreciation for their contributions.

Amy is also responsible for recruiting, employee retention, engagement, training and development, performance management, benefits and payroll oversight, and more. With over 20 years of experience in HR, primarily in financial services, Amy is a certified HR professional, with both the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society for Human Resources Management – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credentials. She is proud of her contributions to our strong company culture and enjoys the challenges and variety of responsibilities that come with managing HR for a growing company.

Outside of work, Amy loves spending time with her loved ones, baking, and traveling. She is most proud of her two children, one of whom is passionate about football and the other about performing on stage while continuing their education.

Audrey Kent

Audrey Kent

VP Head of Credit

Audrey joined First Financial as a Senior Credit Analyst to assist in the transition from syndications to holding transactions with credit risk. Currently, she is the Head of Credit and oversees the credit and pricing activities of the department. She works to promote collaboration between the various teams within First Financial to support growth initiatives. Prior to joining First Financial, Audrey held different credit and capital markets roles, including a Vice President role in Principal Investments at Wells Fargo.

Audrey earned her Bachelor of Science degree in finance and management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Orange County with her husband and two young daughters.

Brian Dundon

SVP, Credit & Portfolio Risk Management

Brian Dundon joined First Financial in 2013 and currently serves as Senior Vice President. In this role, he oversees First Financial’s credit, syndication, and portfolio management activities, with the ultimate goal of empowering First Financial and his colleagues to make well-informed, forward-thinking business decisions that will bring long-term benefit to its customers.

Brian was drawn to leasing and finance after the Great Recession in 2008 and has since dedicated his 10+ year career to being a facilitator for smart, responsible business. Prior to joining First Financial, he was the Senior Credit Analyst for CHG-MERIDIAN’s U.S. operations, joining shortly after its founding in 2009. 

Brian holds a B.A. in Economics from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. When not at work, he can be found baking artisan bread with his wife and daughter and finding new and creative ways to use CSA produce.

Brian Hutchison

Brian Hutchison

SVP Construction & Industrial

Brian Hutchison was appointed as the SVP, Construction, for First Financial in 2023 when FFEL expanded into the construction equipment sector. In this position, he is responsible for providing a vision, developing strategies, and leading the company’s growth with vendors, dealers, and customers in the construction industry.

Brian has extensive experience in the equipment leasing business, having worked for over 25 years in both the construction and agricultural equipment markets. Prior to joining First Financial, Brian worked for 19 years at DLL Financial Solutions, where he held various positions in field sales, global vendor management, and Joint Venture management. Brian resides in North Houston, TX, and enjoys spending his free time with his wife and three children.

Dave Sanborne

Dave Sanborne

SVP & National Sales Manager

Dave Sanborne brings over 30 years of equipment leasing and sales management experience to his position. His expertise ranges from establishing sales strategies and business development to best practices in recruiting and developing sales talent.

Prior to First Financial, Dave served as Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager for Insight Investments in Southern California. He also served as Executive Vice President and National Sales Manager for Comdisco Inc. a Chicago based Fortune 500 technology leasing company. Dave holds a B.S degree in marketing from the University of Arizona and currently resides in Scottsdale Arizona.

Dave Anderson

David Anderson

SVP Operations Manager

David Anderson joined First Financial in 2022 as the Vice President and Operations Manager. He oversees the Contracts, Technology, and Facilities departments and is responsible for ensuring that all areas of the business have the necessary tools to provide excellent customer service.

David has over 25 years of experience in non-bank lending environments, providing commercial customers with equipment leasing, factoring, and trade finance products. As the Senior Vice President of Operations at Mitsubishi HC Capital (U.S.A.) Inc., he significantly expanded the business in the mid-ticket equipment leasing and trade finance markets in the United States.

David graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a B.A. in Economics. His interests include surfing, record collecting and whatever impressive thing his wife, son or daughter have accomplished most recently.

Derek Bavol

Derrick Bavol

VP - Sales Manager

Derrick Bavol is Vice President – Sales Manager, leading the Enterprise sales team for the Technology, Transportation, and General Equipment Markets. Prior to joining First Financial, Derrick served as the SVP of Global Sales for Mitsubishi Lease and Finance (MUFG) from 2016-2021, where he and his team were responsible for growing the portfolio from $80M to over $1.2 billion in less than 5 years.

With 27 years of experience, he also served as the President of a prominent privately held leasing company that originated over $100 million per year and sold its portfolio and business in 2014. Derrick holds a degree in marketing from Oakland University and currently resides in Sarasota, Florida.

Eric Breekland

Eric Breekland

SVP - Head of Project Finance

Eric Breekland joined First Financial in 2022 to lead the Project Finance team. Eric focuses on renewable energy assets in the Americas and is responsible for building the infrastructure and team necessary to structure, arrange, and execute significant project financings. With over 20 years of experience in renewable energy finance, Eric has an impressive track record of structuring debt for international energy and infrastructure projects in both private and public markets.


He previously served as a Managing Partner at Pursuit Capital Advisors for four years, where he specialized in helping developers, governments, and international banks bring projects from the early stages to financial closings and sales. Eric also spent 11 years as a Director at Mizuho and five years at Lyon Credit Corp., a division of Credit Lyonnais, in the energy and infrastructure project finance divisions.

Hayley Charvarria

Hayley Chavarria

VP Portfolio Risk

Hayley Chavarria joined First Financial in 2023 as Vice President – Portfolio Risk at First Financial in 2023. She has more than 35 years of experience in the leasing industry and is responsible for managing residual risks, enhancing lease profitability, and supervising all activities in the Portfolio department. Her duties include overseeing asset, lease, and customer portfolio reporting, asset valuations, and devising profitable end-of-lease strategies.

Prior to joining First Financial, she worked for renowned leasing companies such as El Camino Resources, Ltd. and CHG-MERIDIAN U.S. Corp, where she gained extensive leasing knowledge.

Hiroshi Kobayashi

CFO

Hiroshi Kobayashi serves as the Chief Financial Officer of First Financial Equipment Leasing and is the liaison between FFEL and JA Mitsui Leasing, Ltd (JAML). In this role, Hiroshi works closely with FFEL’s headquarters, JAML New York, and JAML Tokyo to ensure strong collaboration and support initiatives for growth and customer care.

Before joining FFEL, Hiroshi was with JAML since 2014, serving as general manager of several business departments. Hiroshi has over 30 years of experience in the finance industry, including corporate finance at a prominent bank based in Japan, structured finance business in a Tokyo-based US investment bank, and the planning department of the Financial Exchange in Tokyo.  

Hiroshi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Tokyo and a Master of Science in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He currently resides in Orange County with his wife and two children. They enjoy the Southern California lifestyle, especially the friendly people, great weather, and family environment.

Jessica VanWert

Jessica VanWert

General Counsel

Jessica VanWert serves as the General Counsel of First Financial Equipment Leasing.  She focuses on providing innovative legal solutions and guidance on legal matters related to customer transactions as well as internal Company policies and processes.  She is guided by a goal of aligning the Company’s legal, risk mitigation and compliance functions with its growth objectives.

Jessica started her legal career at a prominent Detroit-based law firm, where she specialized in providing legal counsel to financial institutions on multi-lender commercial loan transactions. After working for a decade at the firm, she gained more experience in the finance industry through internal counsel roles at banking institutions and an equipment lease and finance company.

Jessica has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Indiana University – Maurer School of Law. When she’s not working, Jessica enjoys running, attending live music events, traveling, and spending time outdoors with her husband and two children.

Lori Leavey

Lori Leavey

VP Marketing & Communications

As the Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Lori is responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans for marketing, branding, and communication programs. With more than 27 years of experience, she specializes in messaging and positioning, brand identity, content strategy, vendor and partner programs, and creating effective internal and external communication programs that contribute to business success.

Throughout her career, she has gained valuable experience working both in-house and on the agency side. She has successfully managed multiple customers and teams in various industries including financial services, technology, and nonprofit organizations. Her impressive resume includes working with well-known companies like Toshiba, Ingram Micro, Smartling, and Opportunity International.

Lori graduated Magna Cum Lauda with a BFA in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University and participated in a study abroad program with Semester at Sea aboard the SS Universe. She enjoys traveling with her family, and volunteers at Laguna Ballet, a non-profit pre-professional ballet school.

Thomas Slevin

Thomas Slevin

CEO & Co-Founder

As CEO, Tom provides much of the vision and leadership for the organization and oversees all operations of the company. He is on the board of directors and various operational and strategic committees including business planning, credit, senior management, and risk management. Tom’s approach with customers and employees is the same now as it was when he co-founded First Financial over 20 years ago: proactive listening, direct and clear communication, and a long-term mindset. 

Prior to starting First Financial, he was an AVP and senior marketing executive at Comdisco, a Fortune 500 equipment leasing company. Tom’s additional experience includes positions with Xerox and IBM. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from Fairfield University, Connecticut. Tom lives an active lifestyle playing tennis, swimming, hiking and trying to keep up with his three teenagers as well as various philanthropic activities.