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3 ways to lose your business borrowers…and 3 ways to keep them

business handshakeJack Hubbard is a sales guru for banks and wrote an interesting article in the September 2007 RMA Journal on “Small Business, Big Picture”.

  • Lose them by losing touch. Keep them by face-to-face calls.
    • Jack sites a survey done by Barlow Research showing that when business owners received no face-to-face calls from their relationship manager at their primary bank, they were only 44% likely to purchase their next product from that bank. With two visits during the year, that percentage jumped to 69%.
    • To do:
      • Plan a visit to your current customers in the next month.
      • Find something in your reading in the next week (newspaper, magazine, blog) that you can cut out and send with a note. Make it a handwritten note.
  • Lose them by pushing product. Keep them by becoming a true resource.
    • Jack suggests a trip through your bank’s website from a customer point of view. While you personally may not have responsibility for the website, you certainly can assess how user-friendly — or not — it is. Where the bank website falls short, develop those resources yourself and share them with your customers. And make yourself a hero by recommending a feature for your banks website that will really help your business borrowers.
    • To Do:
      • Develop a list of resources. If they are books, buy some of each and have them to give to your business borrowers when you stop by.
      • Consider starting a blog that is business-success focused.
  • Lose them by being lender-focused. Keep them by being client-focused.
    • How would your clients respond if someone asked them if you are helping them improve their business plan, sharing marketing ideas, passing along technology tips, referring business and helping them grow their business?
    • To Do:Back to the list you developed in the step above.
      • Send them in the mail.
      • Blog about them.
      • Put them in your newsletter.

    Other ideas?

About the Author
Linda Keith CPA is an expert in credit risk readiness and credit analysis. She trains banks and credit unions throughout the United States, both in-house and in open-enrollment sessions, on Tax Return and Financial Statement Analysis. She is in the trenches with lenders, analysts and underwriters helping them say "yes" to good loans. Creator of the Tax Return Analysis Virtual Classroom at, she speaks at banking associations on risk management, lending and director finance topics.
  1. brianatportent

    Good article.

  2. Stacy Cox

    Hello Linda.

    I recently atteded you two day class in Concord, CA (Sept 18 &19). Your style reminds me of a highly regarded and dear friend of mine who taught my credit course when I started in business lending with Wells Fargo Bank back in 1995. In the end, 14 of us worked 20 credits, digging for dollars, and having mock interviews with the borrower. It taught me to think out of the box…as do your presentations. 3 ways to keep clients: listen to the borrower, ask educated questions, evaluate the overall relationship and recommend the best solution for the situation (not for the lender’s bonus on booked deals). 3 ways to lose them: ask uneducated questions, evaluate them only for what they ‘request’ (which often times is not the right solution), and sell product (rather pushing and too much like a novice annoying sales person). Thank you for all…great resource, I look forward to continued communications.

    Stacy Cox
    Commercial Underwriter (now parttime – career VP Commercial Loan Officer)
    Bank of Alameda
    Oakland, CA

  3. Linda Keith

    Stacy, I like your three, too. I particularly like the loser one:
    *Evaluate them only for what they ‘request’.*

    As a commercial borrower, I periodically thought I knew what I wanted and didn’t . I could often count on my banker, Kathi O’Neal, to propose a better solution.