Hyundai Capital America (HCA) captured an honor this week, because as award organizers put it: “HCA saw the writing on the wall — a world with increased ride share, autonomous driving, electrification — and knew innovation was necessary or they would succumb to obsolescence.”

For its efforts, the captive finance company won the Association for Financial Professionals 2019 Pinnacle Grand Prize for excellence in treasury and finance. The Pinnacle Grand Prize, sponsored by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), was presented before the opening keynote at AFP 2019 in Boston.

Association officials explained HCA’s award submission involved overhauling its business in order to prosper with industry evolution. They explained HCA’s finance team decided to implement a new capital structure that could be agile and competitive in support of subscription ownership.

AFP said HCA “dramatically” reduced its leverage and projected a strengthened financial profile, thereby reducing borrowing costs. The rating agency implied rating for HCA’s capital adequacy improved by four full notches. The transformed funding flexibility has enabled the front-end of HCA’s business to pursue new and innovative products.

“AFP is honored to recognize Hyundai Capital America’s contribution,” said Jim Kaitz, president and chief executive of AFP. “As disruption continues, Hyundai Capital America’s solution embodies the innovative spirit required to advance the treasury and finance profession.”

MUFG donated $10,000 to the charity of HCA’s choice, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, which specializes in pediatric care. The hospital has a pediatric residency program, as well as the Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopedic and Hyundai Cancer Institute.

Ranjana Clark, head of global transaction banking, head of transaction banking Americas and Bay Area president for MUFG, hosted the ceremony.

“MUFG is proud to partner with the AFP in recognizing companies for their advancements in treasury and finance,” Clark said. “Hyundai Capital America’s entry highlights how an innovative approach can evolve the way companies conduct business. We congratulate Hyundai Capital America on receiving the Pinnacle Award and we are pleased to support their charity, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, in serving the community.”

The runners-up for the Pinnacle Award were Baird and Expedia Group. Along with Hyundai Capital America, these organizations were selected as finalists for their innovative solutions that demonstrated increased revenue, reduced risk, enhanced productivity, saved costs or improved quality.