Commercial finance is a constantly evolving industry. What worked a decade ago might not be effective today, especially in the midst of a global pandemic that has made accessing liquidity even more important than ever. In good times or bad, the companies that stand out the most in commercial finance (and any other industry) are the ones that constantly think ahead and, well, let’s not hide from it, innovate.

Some may just see “innovation” as a buzzword meant for board meetings and promotional materials, but at some level, successful companies are ones that make innovation a core part of their process, whether it be in developing products, constructing leadership teams or executing on growth plans. At this point, every company has some level of innovation in its DNA, but some companies more fully embrace forward-thinking philosophies than others.

To highlight the companies that are putting this type of thinking into practice, ABF Journal is introducing its own new initiative this year: the ABFJ 25. This listing highlights the 25 most innovative companies in commercial finance. In the following pages you will learn about what each of these 25 companies has been doing to remain on the cutting edge in the last 12 months as well as why innovation is an important part of their business models.

This inaugural group includes a wide range of company types and specialties, including those involved in senior and junior lending, financial technology, asset management, private equity and more, illustrating just how much innovation permeates this industry.

While innovation itself cannot necessarily be quantified, the ABFJ 25 was compiled by evaluating companies within the commercial finance space based on multiple criteria, including approach to financing/investing, method of delivery, brand identity, company structure and makeup, industry and cultural impact, investment in innovation, and partnerships. The final 25 were selected by ABF Journal’s editorial team and advisory board.

Just as the companies on this listing innovate, we want to make sure to do the same, so we welcome your feedback for how we can iterate on this initiative in 2021. For now, let’s get to this year’s list.

Click here to see the full list.