Continuing in its quest to reinvent itself as a specialty-finance lender, TCF Financial Corp. of Wayzata, Minn., has launched a new division that will specialize in asset-based and cash-flow lending to smaller middle-market companies across the U.S.

The new unit, TCF Capital Funding, is based in Burr Ridge, Ill., and is headed by Joe Gaffigan, a 25-year veteran in the leverage-finance business, TCF said in news release Monday. Gaffigan was a co-founder of MFC Capital Funding and most recently served as the Minneapolis company's president and chief executive.

Five other leverage-finance veterans have joined Gaffigan at the $19 billion-asset TCF.

Though known primarily as a retail bank, TCF is in the midst of transforming itself into a national specialty lender because its Chairman and CEO William Cooper believes there is not enough conventional loan business to go around. The company recently acquired an indirect automobile lender and has significantly ramped up its lending to dealers and distributors of recreational vehicles, power sports equipment and lawn and garden equipment.

Craig R. Dahl, TCF's vice chairman of lending, said in Monday's announcement that the addition of Gaffigan's team will help TCF continue to diversify and grow assets "on a disciplined basis.

"Their experience and successful track record in the asset-based and cash-flow lending industries…will allow TCF Capital Funding to quickly become a significant contributor to our corporate objectives," Dahl said.

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