GE Capital is one of the world’s largest providers of credit and credit expertise. For more than 1 million businesses, GE Capital provides financing to purchase, lease and distribute equipment, as well as capital for real estate and corporate acquisitions, refinancings and restructurings. GE Capital is a leader in a number of industries, from airlines, healthcare and energy financing to fleet, franchise and middle-market corporate finance. For approximately 80 million consumers, GE Capital offers credit cards and retail sales finance programs.
GE Capital is an extension of GE’s rich heritage of building and supporting growth by providing customers with insight, knowledge and expertise in addition to financing. In the places where GE Capital employees live and work, GE Capital provides financial support, volunteer manpower, and intellectual capital to help meet community environmental, health, and social and economic development goals.
GE Capital is committed to strengthening communities through our philanthropic and volunteer efforts. We put our resources and our employees’ know-how to work, because we believe volunteers that support communities by using their professional skills not only help the community in a meaningful way, but also bring best practices back to the business. We have targeted two global focus areas where we can acheive meaningful impact: supporting disadvantaged youth and empowering women.
In the Community, for the Community (ICFC)
Teens who participate in after-school programs are three times less likely to skip classes, use drugs and consume alcohol than teens who do not, a YMCA study shows. Launched at six sites in the U.S. and Canada, ICFC takes aim at the challenges commonly affecting disadvantaged youth by helping fund and support after-school programs. Through its ICFC partnerships, GE Capital has reached more than 100,000 students.
In Eden Prairie, Minnesota, for example, GE Capital has joined efforts with Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners, which has touched over 1,500 local students. GE volunteers are directly involved in after-school programming, planning a health- and nutrition-themed carnival for students. GE representatives also have conducted training on operational efficiency and records management to help the Eden Prairie organization focus on what it does best—serving the youth.
Building through diversity
GE Capital recently expanded its successful female entrepreneurship and business training programs to four major markets in Western Europe, tailoring its programming for each locale.
In Italy, where historically few women have been represented in business leadership and business ownership, legislation passed in 2011 now requires public companies to have one-third female Board representation by 2015. In response, Valore D, the first association created in Italy to expressly support women’s business leadership, partnered with GE Capital. Together they offer 70 women a year an integrated program of lectures, role modeling, mentoring and networking opportunities, to help them advance in their careers and help create a more inclusive, diverse, engaging and respectful business environment in their country. The initiative also supports a training and mentoring program for female entrepreneurs and business owners.
In Germany, GE Capital is working with Business and Professional Women (BPW) Germany, one of the biggest and most influential women’s networks in the country, to develop and offer back-to-work training for mothers and career-development training for working mothers. Only 14% of German mothers return to full-time employment. GE Capital will work with 90 mothers in 2012, expanding the program to 250 women per year starting in 2013, to help them ease back into the workplace. Seminars will cover such topics as interview preparation, finance and marketing, and work-life balance.
GE Capital has worked to create products and services that meet our responsible-lending and environmental standards and that fulfill the ecomagination promise—GE’s commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth. From our renewable-energy investments to the advanced green features of our commercial real estate portfolio, we incorporate environmental considerations throughout our investment and financing activities.
GE Energy Financial Services (EFS) invests globally and across the capital spectrum in essential, long-lived and capital-intensive energy assets that meet the world’s energy needs. EFS boasts an $8 billion portfolio of diverse renewable-energy assets including wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power. Recent investments include Australia’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power project, and Chisholm View, one of Oklahoma’s largest wind projects. The Chisholm View project will contribute up to $5 million annually to the local economy via property taxes and rent payments to landowners, and create 150 construction and up to 15 permanent jobs. The project is expected to generate enough power to avoid more than 565,000 metric tons (MT) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year—equivalent to taking approximately 110,000 cars off the road—according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency methodology.
When GE Capital engages in project financing, we use our deep expertise to evaluate and mitigate environmental risks. Although GE is not one of the Equator Principles Financial Institutions, when engaging in project financing in places where the World Bank and the IFC lend money, GE Capital applies the Equator Principles. In the United States, Canada and most countries in Western Europe, we promote responsible financing by requiring compliance with local law and are able to help ensure this through due diligence using our environmental and legal expertise.
Improving fuel efficiency
GE Capital Fleet Services provides commercial car and truck financing and integrated fleet-management services that aim to help customers save time and money, while also reducing their fleet’s impact on the environment. For customer ADT, for example, GE Capital Fleet Services used modeling tools to determine the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient vehicles to replace old service vans. The deployment of the new, more efficient vehicles will help ADT save more than $6 million a year in operating costs and reduced ADT’s CO2 emissions by 40%.
In 2011, GE announced the purchase of 25,000 electric vehicles (EVs) by 2015 for its own fleet and fleet-services customers—the largest-ever single electric-vehicle-purchase commitment. The electric vehicle conversion and deployment will be managed by GE Capital Fleet Services. Additionally, GE Capital Fleet Services recently established the Vehicle Innovation Center, which aims to help researchers, businesses and consumers better understand alternative-fuel vehicles. In this single facility, located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, one can learn about the technologies behind EVs and their infrastructure and look under the hood of alternative-fuel vehicles from 20 different automakers.
Sustainability is a core part of how GE Capital Real Estate manages its portfolio of commercial buildings. Arden Realty, a division of GE Capital Real Estate, is one of the nation’s leading developers and innovators of sustainable real estate. In 2011, Arden launched ArdenACCESS—an Enterprise Building Automation Platform, an Internet-based tool that tracks energy usage and collects utility, weather, electric-meter and building-automation-system data. ArdenACCESS was approved through GE’s rigorous ecomagination-certification process. Using ArdenACCESS, a typical 140,000-square-foot office building could reduce its energy consumption by 9% or approximately 250,000 kWh annually, avoiding more than 150 MT of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of removing approximately 30 cars from U.S. roads.
GE Capital is an important source of credit in the global economy. We support over 250,000 retailers and dealers in their daily operations and provided $25B of financing to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in 2011 in the U.S. alone. But GE Capital provides its customers with more than just money—we also provide the expertise and research that we think builds stronger businesses and drives economic growth.
Building better businesses
As part of a broadly diversified industrial company, we have tackled many of the challenges that our diverse customer base faces. We offer tools and expertise to help build businesses and drive economic growth through Access GE. Since 2009, thousands of GE Capital’s customers have gained access to a wide variety of resources through this initiative, including insights into macroeconomic drivers and economic conditions; revenue strategies, including mergers and acquisitions; core growth, innovation and growth strategies; and cost-out strategies and tools, such as reducing energy costs, strategic sourcing and operational/lean efficiency strategies.
Taking advantage of Access GE tools, customers like The Great Courses reduced their production time by 20%, while Wendy’s franchisee Junior Bridgeman reduced his operation’s carbon footprint and lighting costs. In turn, more efficient businesses could help fuel job creation and economic recovery.
The middle market
Mid-size businesses are an engine of economic growth. As one of the largest lenders to the middle market, GE Capital decided to undertake research to better understand the “missing middle”—the segment of companies that fall between small business and Fortune 500 companies. This research helped start a conversation around the outsized economic contribution of the middle market and identified critical needs of mid-market companies.
Founded in 2011 in partnership with GE Capital, and located at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University (OSU), the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) is the leading source of knowledge, leadership and innovative research on the U.S. middle-market economy. Through research, executive education and student engagement, the NCMM is dedicated to promoting job creation and growth in the middle market as well as to driving the dialogue on this vital economic segment. Learn more about the mission of the NCMM at middlemarketcenter.org.
Additionally, GE Capital has funded middle-market research in the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Australia.