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Banker Triage for Business Borrowers: Can this Business Be Saved?

If you feel like you are in the medical instead of the banking profession, it is understandable. Triage in the medical field requires medical personnel to distinguish between who can be saved and who cannot.


So here is the business borrower triage. What are you doing (or doing more of) to distinguish between the three?

  • This business will be okay without extra help
    • These are your strongest business borrowers
    • Other bankers would love to have them so they probably still need attention
    • They may be more worried about your bank than you are worried about them
    • They probably know other strong businesses that are doing well but concerned about their bank and so could be a good referral source for you
  • This business will be okay with extra help from us
    • Creativity in credit availability may not be a popular concept right now but may be absolutely necessary with this group
    • You will create a loyal fan and community cheerleader with business borrowers who perceive they would not have made it without you
  • Won’t make it through even with your help
    • This will be the very tough call
    • In this economy, a business has fewer other options if the bank says ‘no’
    • If you can develop strategies or suggest alternatives that help them survive even though you have to say ‘no’, you still have an opportunity to create a loyal fan and community cheerleader

What alternatives are you suggesting when you have to say no?

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.