Finding today’s “win-win.”

Times have undoubtedly changed. Lenders are under exponentially larger regulatory pressure in how they lend money. The days of the lender making a decision with his or her signature while you sat in their office are long over. Lending has become impersonal, distant, judgmental and seemingly…as the survey respondents identified…adversarial. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few items to seek in a lender to develop a “win-win” relationship in today’s market.

  1. Do they listen? The marketing machines of large national lenders will make you believe that simple and fast are the only measures of financing success. While important, these factors alone do little to address your company’s unique lending needs. Solutions built only on these pillars are more about fitting you into a “credit-score” modeling box than solving your problems. A lender should listen. You can’t have a real advisor with you for the long haul if they won’t take the time to listen.
  2. Multiple options and new ideas? A real advisor should have years of experience and be able to build solutions to meet your needs. If that lender only has one real lending solution to offer in the market, that severely limits their ability to meet your needs in a rapidly changing business climate. More options also lead to new ideas and better ways of borrowing for your company in a wide variety of business situations.
  3. Seek consistently competitive solutions but beware of “cheap.” Interest rates matter, but it is only one piece of a more complicated puzzle. Too many lenders leverage their knowledge of this puzzle to manipulate the importance of interest rate when other factors like term, cash down, and end-of-life options have far more impact on payment and your cash flows. A lender that cares about your long-term success will work to remove the mystery of this puzzle and not use interest rate as “bait”. Lenders that lead with rate are trying to “do deals” and that attitude rarely leads to a relationship of mutually aligned interests.
  4. Do they care? Lending is not a numbers business…it’s a people business and you can’t get to the numbers if you don’t invest in the people first. Your lender should care about your business, your employees, and your family. Your business is more than an income source or line item on an application. A “win-win” lending relationship should show real investment on the part of the lender in actually building a relationship with you. They should call and check in with you, not because they are selling something, but because they care. They should want to learn about where you are headed, not because of the need to answer a credit question, but because they want to see you win. And they should want to finance your company for today AND the road ahead.

Times have changed for sure. But finding a “win-win” business lending relationship is not a thing of the past. We’re SLS Financial Services and we’ve been helping our customers win for more than 30 years. In fact, the newest approach in lending might just be a little bit of old school thinking. We’d love to show you how it works – Give us a call!

Doug Fuller



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