I had an intriguing discussion with a client the other day. During out discussions about financing, my client delivered the above quote to me when I explained exactly what was being asked by their bank. The request dealt with their ability to pay for their loan with current resources, the amount of debt the company was incurring, and their business plan. Bank comments were very focused on legitimate analysis of operations, but the response was not in language that businesses typically use, and the solution was not immediately apparent.
To quote the Warden from Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here, is a failure to communicate.”.
Not unlike my client, bankers work very hard (I would know; I was a banker for 24 years). The hours are NOT sexy (as it may be perceived). The competition is fierce, crazy, and growing. Travel can be often, and tiring. Profit margins are really not very large, and regulations are everywhere, and daunting!
That last point, regulations, affects the behavior of banks. It’s not personal. Bankers are challenged with navigating through a desire to gain a new client and expand business, while avoiding riskiness and potential losses. When it comes down to it, despite how great many ideas and projects are, bankers are ultimately held to a standard that might say “AVOID RISK!”, simply because of a few issues. If the issues are great enough, the answer for financing might be “No”. When this happens, the response (and perceived rejection) from the bank can often be hard to understand. What do you do now?
Bankers spend a great amount of time working with clients to solve their financing problems. When a request receives a “Yes!”, everything is great, as a new relationship usually grow and thrives. But when the answer is “No”, the challenge is even greater:
- How do you get a company that you like a lot to keep talking with you?
- How do you keep the conversation going after you just told a client that you can’t support their request?
As a banker, I knew a lot of the answers, but there was a conflict; I was the banker. My job was finance, not operational strategy. But, the “No” was where the challenge (and the fun) was!
So, back to my client, and me, the “Bank Translator”.
My client found GREAT COMFORT in my answers: the answer from the bank was not as convoluted as it first appeared. There are things to be done by my client, including developing a strategy to help them to get to “Yes”, which is where I will help. My client will understand how the bank focuses on finding a way to balance growth and risk, in language that companies don’t often use to manage their operations.
Do you ever feel like your bank’s response to your request is confusing?
A great place to stop along the journey, translate the response, and plan a strategy, is a MILE MARKER. MILE MARKER BUSINESS AND CONSULTING SERVICES, LLC. is built on the backbone of understanding banking and finance requests, and helping clients navigate and continue their journey with a “Yes”. Come to the Mile Marker; let’s start a conversation!