Jake Thun (1938-2021)
We were sad to learn of the passing of Jake Thun. As President of Royal Bank Leasing, he served on the Board of Directors of the CFLA and, before that, on the Board of one of its predecessor associations, the Equipment Leasing Association of Canada.
Jake was a central player in CFLA’s first critical policy challenge. In 1998, the federal Task Force on the Future of the Financial Services Sector was looking at the Bank Act and auto leasing.
As former CFLA President David Powell remembers it, “the question was could the newly merged association develop any consensus among such divergent, competing interests? Auto lessor members were adamantly against the banks offering vehicle leasing. The equipment lessors were ambivalent but concerned about upsetting the banks. Bank members clearly wanted to be able to lease vehicles to their clients.”
There were many tough moments in developing the CFLA policy position. “The auto members made it clear that their membership was dependent on the Association presenting a policy position to their liking”, recalled Powell.
In the end, the CFLA submission satisfied the auto members. Most of the equipment members went along in solidarity, essentially to ensure that the Association had a future.
That left Jake, the only bank representative on the Board of Directors. For the one time in its history, a Board member asked for a full vote. It was Jake. His was the only dissenting vote.
Jake was a strong and loyal supporter of the Association. While other bank members left the CFLA in protest, Royal Bank Leasing did not. “Unsurprisingly, the CFLA position was not well-received within the bank. It must have been difficult for Jake,” remembered Powell, “but he knew that an effective association was necessary for the long-term benefit of his business.” So he convinced the bank to stay and he remained on the Board.
He retired in 2001 after over a decade of service to the industry.
A last word from CFLA CEO Michael Rothe. “Over all of its almost 50 years, CFLA has been fortunate in having so many backers like Jake. In their quiet but determined way, they have been committed to making the Association the success that it is today.”