Commercial Lending: Rise of the Machines?

August 24, 2016 Jim Young

The other day someone sent me this recent chart from Business Insider, with a note:

“Check out the job at the top of the list.”

Automatable Jobs

If you’re a commercial lender, you may have experienced a brief moment of terror looking at that chart, but then assured yourself that the “loan officer” referred to there is actually a mortgage loan officer.

Most likely you’re right. Residential mortgages today have become increasingly commoditized and are thus ripe for automation.

So then, no worries, right? No need to quit your job at the bank and head off to get a masters degree in elementary education, right?

Not exactly. Because if you’re at the Bank of Last Resort, you’re probably a commercial lender who’s acting more like a mortgage loan officer.

The Bank of Last Resort, as we explained in our recent white paper, is the bank in the market that customers turn to last, on the off chance that the bank is desperate enough to undercut everyone else by a quarter point.

If you’re a commercial lender there, then you’re simply matching terms and competing on rate. That’s mortgage loan officer territory and, as the chart indicates, that’s a recipe for eventual automation. A living, breathing commercial lender isn’t part of the process when the product has become so thoroughly commoditized.

But what if you’re at the bank on the opposite end of that spectrum, what we call the Bank of First Resort?

You’re the ones that customers turn to first because of all the expertise you offer, a quality that can’t be automated. You don’t just take an “all about the rate” cookie cutter approach to deals. You engage in conversations, seeking to understand what customers want and – perhaps more importantly – what they don’t want. You then use your knowledge and experience to come up with a range of options, seeking to craft a solution that can work for both the bank and the borrower.

Automation still plays a role, but only as an enhancer. It handles all the number crunching and calculations, measuring risk and return while freeing you up to put all your energy into the human element of the deal.

Done well, layering this personal touch on top of the automation creates not just a good deal for the customer, but also a good feeling, one that leads to loyalty and often a larger relationship in the future.

All while keeping you happily and gainfully employed.

Click here to download the white paper, “Are You the Bank of Last Resort?”




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About the Author

Jim Young

Jim Young, Director of Content at PrecisionLender, is an award-winning writer with experience in a range of positions in media and marketing, from reporter to website editor to content marketer. Throughout his career Jim has focused on the story – how to find it, how to understand it, and how best to share it with others. At PrecisionLender, he manages the many ways in which the company shares its philosophy on banking and the power of relationships. Jim graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University and holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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