Clarke Farmer

Recent Posts

People, Process, Product: What if “the Profit” Paid a Visit to Your Bank?

Posted by Clarke Farmer

Dec 28, 2016 11:30:00 AM

One of my favorite TV shows is CNBC’s The Profit. In the show, Marcus Lemonis (aka “the Profit”) invests and partners with small businesses that typically need dramatic changes to their business model in order to improve performance and profitability.

The Profit’s method focuses on three primary elements: people, process, and product. It is quite entertaining. The people he gets involved with are usually even more interesting than the business challenges faced in each project. I suspect that any banker who has seen the show can nod their head and chuckle in agreement that many of their commercial loan customers fit a similar profile.

That said, do you wonder what the Profit would say if he paid a visit to a community bank? We may never know, but here are a few thoughts specific to the commercial lending side of the shop.

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Topics: Financial Services Industry, Lending

Helping Create Small Businesses that Thrive...Advice from a Sales Manager

Posted by Clarke Farmer

Nov 4, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Business owners are a vital part of our society. They fuel economic growth in our communities by innovating, creating jobs, and finding new avenues to solve problems. They are the virtual backbone of the U.S. economic machine. Your role as a financial institution and lender is more than to determine which loans provide the most value for your clients. Entrepreneurs often rely on their community financial institutions for guidance, expertise, and support when looking for working capital.

However, according to a 2012 survey by JD Power and Associates on U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction, small businesses feel they are underserved. That’s not good for bankers or businesses. Add to that, the small business sector is growing rapidly.

So, how you can you satisfy this growing segment? In short, by helping small businesses thrive. Here are five key strategies for doing so:

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Topics: Commercial Lending

How To Create Commercial Customer Loyalty

Posted by Clarke Farmer

Mar 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

How many battle-tested entrepreneurs still appreciate the lenders that helped them get started years ago? The good lenders are remembered and can enjoy customer loyalty for life. Let’s talk about how to make that happen more often for your lenders.

The most obvious variable affecting any lending relationship is the rate.  Since reducing the relationship to price is a death sentence to value, we won’t talk about price in this article. Rather, we will consider a few other fundamentals that can enhance loyalty when delivered properly.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Lending

Young Lenders and the Groundhog Syndrome

Posted by Clarke Farmer

Aug 5, 2015 1:21:38 PM

clarke_farmer Author: Clarke Farmer, CFarmer@ProfitStars.com

CEOs and Chief Lending Officers, have you ever met a young lender that seemed to see his/her shadow while out on a business development call?  Then, just like the groundhog, that lender will retreat back to the burrow with nothing more than a prospect’s business card.

If so, then you are not alone.  In the last 60 days, I had several conversations with bank executives in Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Fresno and Atlanta on that very topic.  We discussed the challenge of transitioning some of the bank’s credit analysts into commercial lending roles.  As in most community banks, there simply isn’t much training and development infrastructure to accomplish this effectively.

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Topics: Lending

Lending Officer Pain Points

Posted by Clarke Farmer

Aug 5, 2015 1:08:30 PM

clarke farmer Author: Clarke Farmer, CFarmer@ProfitStars.com

My family recently vacationed in the mountains. The highlight of the trip was our hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak near Taos, NM. As you know, a stroll up to 13,161 feet can become quite dangerous in July if one lingers too long to enjoy the view. It didn’t seem to matter how prepared we were for the hazards of the journey, I still couldn’t get my wife and kids down that mountain fast enough when the afternoon storms started brewing. Furthermore, I’m not sure why I subjected my poor body to the aches and pains that followed the next day. Wouldn’t it be nice if lenders could simply “head down the mountain” when things get dangerous or painful with a lending relationship?

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Topics: Lending

Commercial & Industrial Loans: The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Posted by Clarke Farmer

Aug 5, 2015 8:00:00 AM

 Author: Clarke Farmer, CFarmer@ProfitStars.com

Yep, that title sounded a little cheesy when I read it too.  Humor me for a minute, and read on.

I met with a small business owner this week and we talked about what he wants to accomplish in the next six months.  The business is in industrial coating and injection molding.

Although he has a nice building, we did not talk about his commercial mortgage.   Rather, he discussed updating some old equipment and adding a new machine.  He talked about welcoming back old customers that had left his high quality for lower prices.  Finally, his near-term plan is to use excess cash reserves to negotiate better pricing with suppliers.  All of this will be possible with a bundle of C&I loans from a local banker in the total amount of approximately $375,000.  His “new” lender agrees.  It won’t be long before he has the real estate loan too.

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Topics: Lending

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