In the lower corner of California, just above the U.S.-Mexican border, is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Where palm trees and hilly terrain meet the Pacific Ocean lies the city of San Diego, Calif., considered by many to be the jewel of Southern California.
Nestled in miles of scenic California coastline, this once quiet beach town has emerged to become the sprawling metropolis it is today. Witnessing this change first hand is an organization founded in 1896, the San Diego Wholesale Credit Association (SDWCA).
One of two NACM affiliates in the state of California, the SDWCA consists of more than 1,200 commercial business credit grantors from manufacturing, service industries, and financial institutions.
Located in a newly built office building purchased in 1990, the NACM affiliate is just a stone's throw away from the San Diego harbor and San Diego International Airport.
Throughout its 95 year history, the San Diego Wholesale Credit Association has been a very successful operation. More recently, it has enjoyed continued success during the 16 year tenure of its president, Carl L. Garner.
Garner graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and attended John Marshall Law School in Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to San Diego with a major U.S corporation in 1969. In 1971, after Garner's position required relocating to the East Coast, he resigned and joined the San Diego Wholesale Credit Association. Upon the retirement of his predecessor in 1975, Garner was elected to serve as president of the association.
With an extensive background in law, one of Garner's specialties is insolvency work and business reorganizations. During his time as president, he has been very active as a U.S. bankruptcy trustee, a state court receiver, and a U.S. Bankruptcy Court disbursing agent. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Bankruptcy Forum.
In addition to his involvement in the area of bankruptcy, Garner is a well-known speaker in the San Diego area. At least once a week, he fulfills speaking requests from such groups as the greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Rotary Club, and many major San Diego area law and accounting firms. Some of the topics his speeches cover include how the San Diego Wholesale Credit Association works and the services it provides, credit management programs, insolvency proceedings, and alternatives to bankruptcy court.
Setting Association Goals
When Garner took over as the president of SDWCA, he outlined a number of changes he expected the association to accomplish. One of these was to operate as a commercial business rather than as a not-for-profit association.
"Gaining my education through the business and legal communities, I recognized that you must make profits to grow, expand, and develop new products and services," Garner says. "For that reason, we have worked with our Board of Directors to increase the profit line of the association."
Garner emphasizes that since this change has taken place, the association has been able to enjoy many luxuries that would not have been possible before.
"Implementing this business-oriented philosophy has allowed us to purchase a valuable commercial building in downtown San Diego, to buy a new computer system for the association, to increase salaries, and to give performance and profit-sharing bonuses," he says. "These are just a few of the benefits we have experienced since taking this posture."
Another position Garner stressed was the need for the association to become more service-oriented toward its members. According to Garner, instead of supplying only a product and service, the association has made it a priority to specifically ask its members what the association can do for them to improve the handling of their credit obligations.
A third change Garner initiated pertains to the association's Board of Directors. …