How to Select and Work with a Banker Part 3

Marshall Rathmell |

Knowing how to select and work with a banker to maximize your financial success is an important objective which we see people fail to achieve on a regular basis.  To help people understand how to navigate this process, I asked a group of private bankers to share their thoughts about what people should know about banking. 


In the first three parts of this four-part series, I am sharing the responses I feel will be of greatest benefit to most people.  In Part 4, I offer my own comments on the bankers’ points and what anyone shopping for or using a banker should consider.




Question 1:  What would you tell someone to pay attention to if they are getting a loan to purchase commercial property? 


“Most savvy business owners know what they’re doing, and in many cases, much more than their banker when it comes to this.  Just a few things they may want to keep in mind are: 


  • What’s more important: to pay off debt as quickly as possible or to create additional cash flow for the property owners?
  • What is the overall long-term goal for the property?
  • The area/location of the property
  • The condition the property/building is in
  • If the  building/property truly suits their needs
  • The price point and how much equity they can afford to put into the purchase
  • What/who is located around the property?”

-Patrick Thompson, National Bank of Commerce


“So often, a client is solely focused on the value of a commercial property and the upside growth potential of the property.  While that is important, it is even more valuable to understand the cash flow opportunity that a specific property has relative to the outstanding loan on the property to ensure adequate long-term cash flow coverage to protect the particular asset being considered.”

-Josh Petty, BB&T


“What are you trying to accomplish with this purchase?  What do you know about the surrounding market?  Are you looking to occupy or is it for investment purposes?  What do you know about investing in commercial real estate?  Is this a buy and flip play, or are you looking for an additional income stream?  The list goes on and on.”

-Layne Held, ServisFirst



Question 2:  How do you think the banking industry will change over the next year, 5 years, and 20 years?     


“The banking industry is under ever-changing regulatory scrutiny.  As a result, the larger banks have had to spend tremendous capital since the economic downturn to ensure adequate capital and a liquid balance sheet to comply with federal standards.  Because of this, I believe you will see consolidation over the next decade, where larger banks will acquire many of the smaller institutions who can no longer afford the regulatory costs of doing business.  There will be an emphasis on economies of scale which will lead to further consolidation.  I believe in 10 years, you will see several national banks coupled with a handful of super regional banks spread out in the major geographic centers of the country.”

-Josh Petty, BB&T



“My bird’s-eye view would be that a couple of key buzzwords continue to be ‘consolidation’ and ‘technology.’  Consolidation will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. It’s not easy or cheap to start and run a bank properly and effectively for shareholders.  Unfortunately, some people had to find that out the hard way. 


“Just like in every industry, technology is changing the way we do business.  It is important for banks to keep up with the advances in technology, but at the same time, make sure these advances continue to protect the privacy and financial records of customers.  Specifically, the mobile technology is scary to think about in terms of banks, but it is an extremely valuable tool for customers.  The need to go to a branch is becoming more and more obsolete, and that has been a cornerstone of our bank’s philosophy.  Regardless of the industry, one fact remains: you still need a go-to banker to help as you grow financially.”

-Layne Held, ServisFirst


“Many people ask us what we think rates are going to do, or what’s going to be the Federal Reserve’s next move.  There is no way to accurately forecast what rates are going to do or how the Fed is going to behave; however, we continue to see commercial banking evolve with fewer branch locations and more technology.  Many more companies are opting to use a community banking model like that of National Bank of Commerce.  In the near-term and long-term future, technology and relationships will continue to win out, regardless of the economic environment.  Our bank strives to be on the front-end of both.”

-Patrick Thompson, National Bank of Commerce



Question 3:  What does an ideal client look like for you? 


“Local business owners and management teams who value a close relationship with their commercial banker.”

-Patrick Thompson, National Bank of Commerce


“Someone seeking individual attention and a relationship.”

-Jeremy Tuggle, Bryant Bank


“We aim to work with quality people who have excellent character references and are of strong integrity.  Someone who can look me in the eye and say, ‘I am going to pay you back.’”

-Layne Held, ServisFirst





Questino 4:  What is the best thing you were ever able to do for a customer? 


“I’ve had a few that stand out; however, being able to give a member a loan in their time of need is always a great feeling.  One time, I was able to give a member a loan that helped pay for dental work for their daughter.  Hearing the relief and happiness in their voice after they were going to be able to help their daughter was amazing.”

-Alex Lawley, America’s First Federal Credit Union


“Think outside the box to find a solution that three other banks couldn’t find.  It allowed the company to move forward with a new contract, and they are now doing 10 times the business they were doing prior.”

-Jeremy Tuggle, Bryant Bank


“Any time we can provide financing to a company, we are helping them make a living and provide for their family.  We are helping them keep their doors open, helping them grow their business, and allowing them to provide jobs and help their employees make a living and provide for their families.  One simple loan can do so much.  Sure, any bank could have made that loan, but the fact is, they didn’t.  We did.  That’s what it’s all about.”

-Layne Held- ServisFirst


Click here to read Part 1 and  Part 2 of this series.


-Marshall Rathmell-