Job descriptions by themselves never work. They’re vague and meaningless. And they really don’t directly correct behaviors. When Business Week asked employees whether they were in the top 10 percent of performers in their companies, between 84 and 97 percent, depending on position, said “Yes!”
Oh my…are that many people delusional? Not exactly. They just don’t know what “success” in their position would actually look like. They think the busywork in their job description is what matters because they haven’t discovered how to focus on the few things that REALLY matter. Banks are not exempt from this mindset. If you ask commercial lenders how they’re doing, most would say they’re performing strongly. But performance for them too often means sitting in the bank, waiting for B and C credits to walk in, interviewing them, getting their data, sending it to the credit committee—then trying to sell the committee on how to make that loan work, even though it has risks.
After that loan is approved (about a 30 percent likelihood, which means 70 percent of their time is wasted), they go back to the borrower who says, “Great! You’ll need to match a rate.”
In other words, you have a “high performing” lender who’s extremely busy making bad credits at low margins.
What if, instead, one of the critical drivers for a commercial lender was the Number of Aces on Your Top 1,000 Prospects?
You would know that for every stage of the sales process, all lenders were substantiating those aces to make certain those prospects were still on board at premium pricing. You would know that you are going to get paid for your Unique Selling Propositions—and that you’ll get 50 to 150 additional basis points because your lenders followed the process whereby the borrower told her that was worth hundreds of thousands to him. You would know lenders were spending their time calling on nothing but A+ quality credits. And, by the time they hit the credit committee, you would know those loans could actually be done.
Lastly, you would know that your lenders were creating such great relationships with borrowers that referrals would inevitably follow. That’s an example of a franchisable system that produces commercial lenders who are performing.