2018 Year in Review — A letter from DLL CEO Bill Stephenson

Proudly looking back … boldly looking ahead

May 20, 2019
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Bill Stephenson, CEO and Chairman2018 was a year of growth and progress for DLL and our performance was strong in virtually every facet of our company. Our achievement not only spanned across financial and commercial targets, but also touched on customer satisfaction, employee engagement and social contributions. In an increasingly competitive market, we continued to differentiate DLL and grow our market share. It was most satisfying to see these collective efforts drive an increase in our value contribution to all key stakeholders, including our customers, employees, and parent, Rabobank.

Our award-winning global vendor finance business had another strong year and continued to provide a solid foundation for the company to build and prepare for the future. This means accelerating our digital transformation and also developing new business models, such as pay-per-use products to support a world increasingly focused on equipment usage over traditional ownership. These are exciting times for our industry, and I am especially proud of the pioneering role that DLL continues to exemplify in areas such as life-cycle asset management, which focuses on reuse of assets and supports the circular economy.

On the commercial front, we continued to be a key contributor and integral part of the growth and success for our vendor partners. This translated into new business volume of EUR 25.0 billion (EUR 24.6 billion excluding Financial Solutions), an increase of nearly 6 percent when excluding currency movements. Our portfolio grew by an impressive 9 percent to over EUR 33.5 billion, with growth spread across all major industry sectors and geographic regions that we operate in. We also delivered a healthy financial performance and profit contribution to our parent, Rabobank, and jointly embarked on an exciting new initiative to expand our engagement together in certain key markets.

We continue to focus on delivering a first-class experience to our primary customers – the manufacturers, dealers, and distributors who partner with DLL. "
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Our customers are central in everything that we do at DLL. We continue to focus on delivering a first-class experience to our primary customers – the manufacturers, dealers, and distributors who partner with DLL. In 2018, we saw our Global Net Promoter Score (NPS®)1 jump to +44, marking the fourth consecutive year that we improved this very important metric of customer loyalty and satisfaction. The vast majority of our surveyed partners continued to tell us they were satisfied or very satisfied with the products, service, and support they receive from DLL. They also cited our partnership focus, our industry expertise and our people as the top three reasons they do business with DLL.

We also received praise from our industry peers. In 2018, DLL won the prestigious ‘European Vendor Finance Provider of the Year’ award from Leasing Life, one of the top industry journals in Europe. In the United States, we were named the #1 vendor finance company for the 10th straight year by Monitor, a leading industry publication considered the independent voice of the North American equipment finance and leasing market.

The significant investments made in our digital transformation were also recognized, and we were proud to be recognized by the Enterprise Mobility Exchange for Most Effective Mobile App. The award was given to DLL Express Finance, our user-friendly app that simplifies the entire financing process from pricing calculation and quotation to deal closing with electronic documentation and signature.

Looking ahead … the human element still matters
On May 29, 2019, DLL will mark its 50th anniversary as a company – an incredible milestone that few companies achieve. Our global reach, industry specialization, asset knowledge, digital solutions, and people all play a role in delivering a customer experience that has been unrivaled in the marketplace. Yet, the global business environment looks vastly different than it did back in 1969, and the pace of change is accelerating. Advances in technology have had massive impacts on how and where customers do business and interact with companies.

Our global reach, industry specialization, asset knowledge, digital solutions, and people all play a role in delivering a customer experience that has been unrivaled in the marketplace. "
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The transformative role that innovative technologies can play for our customers is truly exciting. I have seen some wonderful examples of how technology can improve the ease and speed of doing business, but unfortunately there are a growing number of examples where technology has been used to solely drive down costs at the expense of the customer experience. With each passing day, the contemporary narrative is shifting toward more adverse experiences with automated attendants, integrated voice response, chat-bots and ‘self-service’ models, when customers are in dire need of speaking to a human being and having a reliable contact to assist them.

Like any company competing in today’s fast evolving marketplace, DLL must evaluate how new technologies can enhance our business model, while still delivering a first-class experience to our customers. If we don’t embrace and experiment with technology, we risk being surpassed by the changing needs and preferences of our customers, and ultimately by our competition. That said, we never underestimate the strong and influential role of people in our business, which has the principle of partnership at its core. The key is finding the right balance between technology and people.

At DLL, our employees (whom we refer to as members) continue to play a critical role in delivering our value proposition to our customers and setting DLL apart from the competition. To that point, at a time when our competitors are seeking to consolidate office locations, we are pursuing pilot deployments of Customer Engagement Hubs in select markets across our global footprint. These new office locations allow us to deliver a more personal and localized level of service to our partners in the regions where they operate.

Our unrelenting focus on disruptive innovation and customer experience, combined with our people and products, will continue to differentiate DLL and ensure success for another 50 years and beyond. "
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Further, we continue to deliver new technology to our customers, but it is always paired up with a robust support model, backed by our members. We are also making significant investments in training across our offices worldwide, ensuring that our members are empowered and have the skills needed for success in the future workplace. This past year, DLL also introduced a new Remote and Flexible Working Policy designed to allow our members to optimize their personal and professional balance and well-being.

Our most recent Global Member Engagement Survey, sent to nearly 5,000 members worldwide, indicated that these efforts and investments are successful. The survey told us that 84 percent of our members recommend DLL as a top place to work. It also indicated that overall satisfaction and engagement is what drives our members to start each day committed to delivering a first-class experience to our customers. I am confident that our customers see and feel this difference and realize happy, engaged members deliver a higher level of service.

Another 50 years of success
Throughout 2018, we took bold steps to disrupt ourselves, stepping outside what worked in the past and seeking new approaches. As I often say to our members, the ‘what’ of vendor finance has not changed … enabling our partner’s success by helping them deliver equipment and solutions to their customers, but ‘how’ this is done will continue to evolve and we must stay in front of that curve. I am proud to say that DLL has not rested on its laurels of past success. Like most great companies, we understand that the ideal time to make changes is when performance is strong and conditions are favourable.

Our results in 2018 show that DLL is healthy and profitable. This position of strength allows us to evolve on our own terms. I am pleased that we have such a strong foundation on which to build for the future, not only delivering continued growth and profit generation, but also making a real impact with our customers by providing them with essential tools and value. Our unrelenting focus on disruptive innovation and customer experience, combined with our people and products, will continue to differentiate DLL and ensure success for another 50 years and beyond.

Bill Stephenson
CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board