Star Hill Financial Launches Franchise Finance Division

Star Hill Financial, a certified Women Business Enterprise, created a new division: SH Franchise Finance. Star Hill Finance also added Mike Orlov and Greg McNally as senior vice presidents and business development officers and Christopher Wellbrock as senior vice president of credit.

“With my experience leading the franchise finance division at Sterling National Bank, I saw a unique opportunity in the marketplace to bring a fresh balance sheet to support the franchise industry,” Keith Smith, president of equipment and franchise finance at Star Hill Financial, said. “We will continue to support national brands with a focus on Tier 1 and Tier 2 quick serve restaurants.”

“As I have said before, expansion and growth is our mission for 2021. Creating a franchise division was a natural addition to our product offering,” Hollis Bufferd, CEO of Star Hill Financial, said. “Mike, Greg and Chris bring over 40 years of experience in franchise financing. Combined, they financed over $1 billion in franchise transactions. They are top performers in their field and we know they will continue to be successful at Star Hill.”

Prior to joining Star Hill, Orlov was vice president of sales at Bridge Funding Group and GE Capital, focusing on major restaurant brands as well as the personal services and fitness sectors.

“When Star Hill approached Greg and me with the opportunity to join their team it was a no-brainer,” Orlov said. “They have a talented team that will allow us to focus on continuing to grow the franchise lending portfolio by offering our customers a wide variety of lending products.”

McNally most recently was vice president of sales at Bridge Funding Group, where he expanded to major restaurant brands, fitness and personal services. He previously held the position of controller at GE Capital Franchise Finance and later moved into a business development role focusing on the pizza segment.

“Mike and I are excited to be working together again,” McNally said. “We are looking forward to building a team from the ground up. Working at Star Hill will allow us the flexibility to pivot based on the ever-changing environment. We look forward to working with our customers to continue to assist them with their growth.”

During his career in risk management, Wellbrock served as vice president and senior underwriter in Sterling National Bank’s franchise finance division. Prior to Sterling, Wellbrock was an underwriter at JP Morgan Chase in the wholesale credit risk regulatory and strategy group.

“The addition of Chris Wellbrock rounds out our executive team,” Smith said. “His experience in risk management, specifically in restaurant franchises, supports the expansion of Star Hill.”

“The synergy of the Star Hill team is amazing,” Wellbrock said. “I am excited to work with seasoned industry leaders like Keith, Mike and Greg.”