In Memoriam: Larry Smircich, 69

Veteran of Leasing Industry

Lawrence J. (Larry) Smircich, who served as senior vice president at Chase Manhattan Leasing Company from 1982 to 1989, died suddenly on Friday, January 13, 2012 at his home in Milford, Conn.  He was 69 years old.

At the time of his death, Smircich was managing director of Malvern Hill Associates, a crisis management firm he began with Peter Otto in 1999. He began his career at Chase Manhattan in 1969, leaving in 1974 as an assistant treasurer.  Other employers included National Westminster Bank, Euramlease, Inc., ITEL Capital Corporation, FBA Aircraft, SA, Xerox Credit Corporation and Lessor Capital Services.

He graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Michigan State University in 1964 and did graduate work in philosophy at Columbia. From 1967 to 1969 Smircich served the U.S. Army as Adjutant General, Fort Hamilton Complex, rising to the rank of Captain.

Smircich enjoyed traveling, and loved history and literature. He co-authored two books in the late 1970s on European walking tours.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Rita, and his daughter, Kimberly. 

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From Peter Otto: Larry involuntarily left the graduate program at Columbia to join the United States Army in 1967, where his principal accomplishments were (i) to reach the rank of Captain, (ii) participate the President's decision for the Army to deliver the U.S. mails, and (iii) defend the continental United States from Fort Hamilton and Totten, for which, due to his abysmal eyesight, heavy hay fever and a complete lack of any sense of direction, both in daytime and night, he was uniquely qualified.
      Larry joined the Chase in the Customer Information Division from which he emigrated to the Global Credit Department in 1971 as part of CC5.
      Upon graduation, Larry was assigned to the Times Square division where he learned about lending to the garment trade, factors and the FISH accounting method frequently used in these industries.
      He left the bank to join what became National Westminster Bank and then the European-American Bank, where he ran both institutions big ticket leasing operations.
      Larry returned to the Chase in 1982 to become an SVP at Chase Manhattan Leasing Company where he effected the bank's first securitization of assets, thereby freeing up capital and allowing CMLC to expand its operations.
      In 1989, Larry joined Xerox Credit Corporation where his securitization background helped XCC close several securitization as part of its effort to free up capital and ultimately become a highly effective way to reduce credit exposure and return capital to the parent when Xerox exited the financial services business.
      With the support of XCC management, Larry took its subsidiary Circle Business Credit (a national middle market lender and lessor) private and ran it very successfully for several years prior to its ultimate liquidation.  XCC was highly pleased with the efforts of Larry and his associates, earning for them a maximum performance bonus under the terms of their contract with XCC.
      Larry then became a founding partner of Malvern Hill Associates and continued there through his retirement.  MHA (i) pioneered a series of structured finance programs which provided high advantageous financing terms for national automobile lessors and (ii) provided workout and turnaround management services to many companies, with a concentration in underperforming or fraudulent financial services companies.

     I met Larry in 1971 when we both joined Credit Class 5 at the Chase.  He was a long and dear friend.  We had lunch only two weeks ago.  Needless to say, he will be greatly missed by the whole Otto household.


From Ed Moran: When Larry got out of the Credit Department's program, he came to my team (actually it was Steve Friedman's team but Larry and I were always battling Steve for control). We were always up to our posteriors in alligators over there with the garmentos ("Jack, you did tell this guy that he had to pay this money back at some point, didn't you???")
     A big guy with a big heart and a bigger laugh. I had lunch with him several years ago and his business card is always kicking around on the top of my desk to remind me to call and schedule another hamburger fest. Sadly, I'll have to retire that card with great regrets. Another carpe diem moment.