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.

Executive Team

Thomas Slevin

CEO & Co-Founder

Hiroshi Kobayashi

CFO

David Anderson

SVP Operations Manager

Dave Sanborne

SVP & National Sales Manager

Management Team

Hayley Chavarria

VP Portfolio Risk

Rosie Curiel

VP Credit

Darren Lang

SVP Inside Sales

Lori Leavey

VP Marketing & Communications

Jessica VanWert

General Counsel

Jeff Whitcomb

SVP Construction

Amy Yeager

VP Human Resources

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.
monitor logo
2010
Debuts on the Monitor’s listing of Top 25 Independent Leasing Company.
inc 5000 logo
2012
Debuts on the INC 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies.
monitor logo
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.
oc business journal logo
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.
Ja Mitsui logo
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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rosie Curiel

VP Credit

Rosie Curiel is the Vice President of Credit at First Financial, having joined the company in early 2024. She boasts an extensive commercial credit underwriting background and has worked with various banks and private lenders throughout her career.

Rosie has successfully managed credit teams in her previous roles and is well-versed in a fast-paced work environment that demands regular communication with sales teams, other internal staff members, existing and potential clients, senior leadership, and credit committees.

As the Vice President of Credit, Rosie is responsible for managing the Credit Department, which comprises credit underwriting, risk analysis, and pricing, and supervising the staff that performs these functions. She brings with her 14 years of community bank experience, focusing on underwriting, credit, and portfolio management. In her most recent roles, she worked at Pacific Premier Bank, Plaza Bank, and Banc of California.

Rosie holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from CSU, Chico. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her two sons, attending spinning classes, cooking, and hiking.

first financial equipment leasing icon

Darren Lang

Darren Lang is an accomplished sales leader with over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, specializing in FMV originations and strategic account development. He has a proven track record of driving significant business growth, generating over $1 billion in FMV originations and developing new client strategies that have resulted in hundreds of new strategic clients. Darren has extensive lease accounting, lease structuring, and sales team management expertise. He has recruited, trained, and led top-performing sales teams. He is known for his strong interpersonal skills, analytical problem-solving abilities, and strategic thinking. 

Darren holds a B.A. in business and marketing from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. Outside of work, Darren enjoys spending time with his family, learning, traveling, playing golf, and working out.

Lori Leavey, VP Marketing & Communications

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.

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.

first financial equipment leasing icon

Jeff Whitcomb

Senior Vice President Construction

Jeff Whitcomb has over 25 years of experience in equipment leasing and sales leadership. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated expertise as an entrepreneur, establishing new companies with strong "can do" cultures, as well as taking on challenges at large multinational organizations. His extensive industry knowledge and broad network have consistently yielded positive results. Jeff is particularly adept at mentoring others to help them expand their capabilities, whether they are clients or colleagues.

Before joining First Financial in 2021, Jeff held various sales and sales management positions at eMarket Capital, De Lage Landen Financial Services, People’s Capital and Leasing Corp., ampCNG, Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing, Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance, and Pathward.

Jeff earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Bucknell University and an M.B.A. from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at The University of Arizona. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas

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.