How to Prospect Bankers as a Referral Source
Develop Connections And Build Your Business
Building your business by networking and developing relationships is one of the most important things you can do to be successful. Establishing positive and mutually beneficial relationships with bankers is a very good place to start. Having a connection with a banker is prosperous because they can refer new business to you when they cannot offer a solution for their client’s.
One of the best referral sources you could develop is with a banker. They have an endless supply of business owners requesting financing. You will have to return the favor, so for the clients of yours that need to utilize the services of a good banker, then it will be your responsibility to provide referrals to the banker as well.
There are three main ways a relationship between a broker and a banker can work.
- You can get business opportunities from prospect bankers as a result of that banker’s inability to get the loan request approved in-house. This may be due to the request not meeting the lending criteria, or it may simply be an area of the market that the bank does not wish to pursue.
- You can send prospect bankers a referral. Many times, as a broker, one may encounter loan requests that are too small for a national lender and would be best handled on a local level where the bank can capture a deposit relationship along with the loan request.
- You can help prospect bankers keep an existing client. It is possible that the banker is unable to approve an existing client’s loan request, but wishes to keep the current deposit relationship with his client. It is often that bankers will call on a broker to facilitate a loan request that the bank is unable to provide. Examples of which include asset based lending products such as factoring or purchase order finance, and often, an SBA loan that the bank may not have expertise in underwriting.
Where do you find a good banker referral source?
Start with your own bank. Invite your local branch manager out to lunch (everyone loves a free lunch!) Explain to the Branch Manager how you two can work together to develop business one of the three ways mentioned. Ask your Branch Manager to introduce you to the area business banker (bank sales people who are devoted to developing business relationships only). Also, most banks divide the lending groups into classifications based on the sales volume or loan relationship. In addition to a business banker, most banks will have a middle market lender (a banker that handles larger businesses), and your branch manager should be able to introduce you to his or her middle market lender as well.
Local community banks and small regional banks are also a great source to develop a “banker referral source.” Many smaller banks were not caught up in the riskier lending practices of the larger institutions and are still active lenders in your individual markets. Additionally, smaller banks are often a bit more flexible on underwriting criteria for loan requests within the bank’s local market.
Once you and the banker identify each other’s resources, the process will build, and each of you can recognize referral opportunities quickly. More often than not, the best source of business is someone you already do business with. So why not start with your own banker?