Our dearly beloved bankers. They have a huge place in powering our economy and after talking to many of them, have you ever wondered how anyone gets anything done? The process of borrowing money seems to get harder with more documentation, bases to touch and things to verify each time you ask. And then there’s our favorite: they never seem to explain much of anything very well. Communication is a struggle. Why?
Over the years, banking has evolved from the community banking model to the national banking model. And while community banks exist, the current regulatory environment has many of them under intense pressure. This means more bankers are growing up in the ivory towers of Corporate America and not in the diners of Main Street America. From a young age they are reared into the “banking” culture, when years ago bankers were reared in a more advisory, entrepreneurial culture. Your culture. As such, when you’re not raised in the same area, you may not speak the same language.
Here are some key things to look for in a lending relationship that can help eliminate the communication gap:
Someone that doesn’t make you feel judged. Once upon a time, bankers were advisors in all seasons of the life of a business owner. These days they can feel more like judges in an ivory tower. If you feel looked down upon or judged rather than guided and advised, it’s time to look elsewhere.
They can’t help you if they can’t “get” you. Your lenders don’t have to be exclusive experts in your industry, but they have to possess the desire to become an expert lender for your business. And that means they need to demonstrate a deeper desire to understand where your business has been and is going before they can really create solutions.
You need a relationship, not a deal. Rate-based relationships aren’t relationships at all. Choosing lenders because they have the cheapest money may feel right…right up until they don’t. A capital provider that invests in your people is always a better solution than a low-rate deal. And a lender that loves you when times are good and won’t return calls when the winds are blowing is not a partner. Find a lender that can provide capital consistently, through the cycles.
Aligned interests. If your banker calls you and “pitches” the treasury management product they were told to “blitz” this month…run. Your needs are not something determined in a banker sales “blitz”. They are determined by making an investment in your people, process and future. And consultatively bringing solutions instead of selling products. One approach aligns with your direction as a leader and the other is all about them.
At Charter, our 35 year history and smarter approach to equipment finance bring more options to your business for smarter choices. We’re an entrepreneurial company with a business model built to be on your side and speak your language. As you look to find a lender that does all the above and more, give us call. We’re a lot like you.