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Ohio-based construction company finds solutions to growing pains.

Rudolph Libbe Inc. looks to Commerce Bank for payment automation, competitive loans and business advice.
Rudolph Libbe Inc. | Walbridge, Ohio

New construction powers a robust economy and since 1955, Rudolph Libbe Inc. (RLI) has been building business through its construction services in a variety of industries, including commercial/retail, education, industrial/manufacturing, healthcare and warehouse/distribution. In 2021, RLI was ranked No. 160 among all domestic contractors in total construction revenue by Engineering News-Record.

“It’s easy to see the tangibles of our work — the hospitals, schools and office buildings — but our behind-the-scenes efforts lay the foundation for those results,” said Brian Zientek, Chief Financial Officer, Rudolph Libbe Inc. “For example, our accounting department helps ensure we’re fiscally efficient so we can continue to win new building projects.”

One way RLI maintains operational efficiency is through its relationship with Commerce Bank.

Rudolph Libbe Inc. uses CommercePayments® commercial card solutions, including its AP Card and Purchasing Card, to solve its payment challenges. Additionally RLI has turned to Commerce Bank for some of its real estate and equipment loans.

Implementing automation to solve payment challenges.

“A mentor once advised me to stay lean by leveraging technology when there’s an economic downturn,” said Zientek. “The theory is there’s no organizational ramp up needed when the economy rebounds.”

Heeding that wisdom, about a decade ago, Zientek began automating the AP function at RLI wherever possible by eliminating paper checks and issuing payments via CommercePayments® AP Card.

The CommercePayments® AP Card provides RLI with several benefits, including:

  • Working with its existing accounting system
  • Enrolling suppliers through the life of the program
  • Providing detailed reporting
  • Maximizing float time
  • Minimizing risk
  • Accommodating ad hoc, one time or point-of-sale purchases
  • Hosting a dedicated customer service line for its suppliers

While the AP Card helped automate some of the organization’s AP challenges, RLI turned to the CommercePayments® Purchasing Card to address other accounting demands. RLI found a way to simplify and control its purchases and payments on a single platform. Additionally, the Purchasing Card offers account monitoring to help prevent fraud.

It's a good thing Zientek took his mentor’s advice. Rudolph Libbe has tripled in size during the past two decades. By implementing Commerce Bank’s payment automation tools, they have managed this growth seamlessly without adding accounting staff or new processes.

Not only do CommercePayments® solutions bring RLI savings in time, money and resources, they add revenue to its bottom line.

Choosing Commerce Bank’s loan solutions.

Commerce Bank also helps support RLI’s growth through its real estate and equipment loan programs.

“When it comes to commercial loans, Commerce Bank’s rates are competitive with other financial institutions, but it comes down to relationships,” said Zientek. “They are easy to work with and are always accessible, which helps make my job easier.”

Commerce Bank’s construction loans are designed for organizations that are ready to expand or improve operations. Financing and lending solutions help enterprises of all sizes with options, including:

  • Lines of credit: Flexible lines of credit aid businesses in purchasing additional inventory or operating expenses
  • Equipment financing: Funding for vehicles, technology or machinery
  • Real estate loans: Aid for residential development or other construction projects
  • Term loans: A loan repayment schedule to match an organization’s cash flow
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) loans: Finance the sale of a company to employees

“I have a dedicated Commerce Bank account team that responds quickly and that’s important to me,” said Zientek. “When I can get my question answered or a problem solved fast, it helps me keep things moving.”

Finding a trusted business resource.

For RLI, the relationship with Commerce Bank goes beyond products — the company is also a go-to business resource for them.

Commerce Bank provides RLI with construction industry insights, economic updates and trends via a customer newsletter from its Capital Markets group. Zientek says this helps him stay abreast of what’s going on in his market. Additionally, Commerce Bank has explored customized solutions to existing products to meet RLI’s specific problems.

“We go to Commerce Bank with internal challenges because they are a good sounding board and help us brainstorm solutions,” said Zientek. “They help take away pain points that come with growth.”

“Commerce Bank understands the construction industry doesn’t grow at a steady pace. One year, our organization may be a $400 million company and the next year could be double that volume. Commerce Bank has provided payment solutions and loans that fit our needs, no matter the stage of our business growth.”

Brian Zientek
Chief Financial Officer — Rudolph Libbe Inc.

Learn more about construction financial solutions from Commerce Bank.

CommercePayments® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank.

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