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Avoid the 4 Issues Sabotaging Your Lending Team

by | Profitability and Growth


I believe quality loan growth is one of the top three drivers of sustainable profitability for banks.

In this session, I’m going to show you how, by restructuring your lending department, you can increase the productivity per lender by 30–40% or more within 12 months.

If you’re the kind of leader:

  • Who thinks your team is kicking butt and taking names in securing quality loans at premium pricing and you’re sure it’s because of your team’s execution of a predictable success system and not driven by the competition’s recent mistakes or the economy’s impact, you’ll love this because you have a great foundation to get even more traction within weeks.
  • Or maybe you are the person whose team is NOT quite getting the traction you want in pulling in the very best credits at premium pricing. If so, you’ll love this because you’ll see how others who had the same problem, with the same type of people, transformed regular lenders into business development ninjas.
  • Or perhaps you have found that your folks are doing some of the business development activities you want, but not enough and not in an optimal way. If that’s the case, stick tight because I’ll give you some ideas to get that pattern turned around quickly.

Every time a bank “gets serious” about transforming their lending team, they seem to hit one or more of the same four issues:

  • They start strong with a new initiative, and then it fizzles out within weeks or months.
  • They put in a new incentive program, set goals and hope that works—but it NEVER does much or lasts very long.
  • They try to hire a superstar or two—but often that “star” is a nightmare in the making, creating your next asset quality issues or cultural disaster.
  • Or perhaps some of your people get it, but many don’t, like those who expand the unimportant so they NEVER quite seem to have time for their sales calls, but their paperclips are sorted by color. For them, everything else seems to expand to push out time for sales.

If you’ve had any or all of these, join the club. This has been the pattern for almost all banks for decades.

I’m now going to give you three steps that will make your results dramatically different in a few weeks.

Step 1: Unlike most personality assessment hiring tools that “can be cheated” or are a representation of how they see themselves (or they’re trying to convince you that’s how they see themselves), reliability studies clearly demonstrate that emotional intelligence assessments are undeniably predictive about who is going to win at sales and who isn’t. Also, who is likely to win at managing accounts versus who should hunt for accounts becomes obvious.

If you are like most banks, you have at least 30% of your team in the wrong slots. Emotional intelligence is the thinking at the core of the behaviors and is, therefore, very difficult to change. You can’t coach height, right?

Personality assessments do not have a powerful correlation to success by position that emotional intelligence assessments do. Research on thousands of lenders shows a low-risk sales profile will outsell a medium risk profile by 400% on average. What would that mean for your bottom line to quadruple the production per lender? Exactly!

Step 2: In contrast to most sales training that gives everyone the same training and expectations across the board, you would be better served to get people in the right slots. Realize that only 6% of the population has a “hunter” profile. So, you absolutely can’t afford not to pull your hunters out of busywork, loan renewals, and get them leading the teams of account managers who will keep the relationships with your best customers going. A good account manager, HATES business development, and a good business developer can’t be kept behind their desk.

Step 3: Once you know how to put each person in their area of excellence, you can create the process. That consists of figuring out the different responsibilities and determining when the baton is passed on a new loan to an account manager so that the client feels more love—not less. All of that takes a solid system.

Then, manage the system.

So, three steps:

  • Assess the emotional intelligence—the only reliable way of knowing who your hunters and farmers are.
  • Assign the right responsibilities to hunters.
  • Create your “team” selling system. Team selling has replaced independent selling in all professional industries except banking. But the very best community banks are all about it, and they know how to do it right.

By revamping your sales approach and getting people in the slots where they can win with a game plan that sets them up for success, you can transform your loan growth quickly, and more importantly, predictably.

Make sure you tune in next time where I’ll show you how to normalize big wins fast and help your lenders consistently win better deals.

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