First Municipal Credit Corp. (FMCC), a black-owned lease finance company, was recently awarded a multimillion dollar contract to provide the state of Maryland with a $25 million line of credit for funding telecommunication systems, lottery terminals and all of the personal computers that will be used in the county and city school districts over the next 18 months.
The concern nailed down the coveted deal after Maryland State Treasurer Richard Dixon mandated that a portion of every contract go to a minority-owned firm. But FMCC President. J.P. Grant says this mandate didn’t open any doors for him during the bidding process. “I contacted a few [majority-owned firms] to see if I could bid with them on a subcontract basis. But they said no. I said fine, we’ll just go head to head. Our company put in the lowest bid, and now instead of only getting 15%, I won the whole thing.”
A former employee of IBM who handled city and state government accounts selling computer systems, Grant, 44, says he learned then that “most city and state governments didn’t like to purchase technology equipment outright. They preferred to lease it. I realized that could be a business.” And over the last six years, FMCC has thrived. The concern has done business with federal and municipal governments as well as hospitals, school districts and universities. Grant says business revenues have ranged between $90 and $110 million over the past three years.
“Turning to firms like ours makes sense to municipalities and state governments looking to replace outdated equipment that could easily cost them millions,” says Grant.
FMCC’s other clients include Johnson Controls, IBM and Bell Atlantic.