Working with alternative lending referral partners can have many long-term benefits for banks and their commercial customers.
As a commercial bank lender, you know that your referral network — and the relationships behind it — drives your success. With many banks making recent changes to their lending criteria you may have already noticed current customers and prospects coming to you with urgent funding needs — including requests that might not fit into the regular lending box.
With a strong network of lending partners, you’ll not only be able to maintain your bank’s book of business, but also fuel its growth.
As part of that network, aiming to develop referral connections with trusted alternative lending partners can have many benefits. If your prospective customers run into a challenge of not being able to meet your bank’s lending criteria, but are otherwise financially healthy, your alternative lending partner could be another option.
How can you get started building a referral network to help you build strong customer relationships? Keep reading for four ways you can lay the groundwork for long-term success:
1. Start the conversation internally
Many traditional banks may shy away from forming referral partnerships with alternative lenders because of bad experiences or news stories about deals gone wrong. If you’re a banker looking to branch out, it’s worth starting the conversation with your management team to see if they’d be open to the idea. Investigate whether there are any internal guidelines that prevent you from forming the relationships in the first place.
2. Make it easy to communicate
As a banker, you’re probably hidden behind a few layers of protection in the form of branch receptionists, telephone extension numbers and bank sub-brands. This can make it difficult for alternative lenders to reach out to you, whether it’s the first contact or even a regular email touchpoint. (Cue those corporate firewalls!)
Instead, make sure your alternative lender contact has your direct phone number wherever possible. Let them know when your information changes so they can stay in touch — especially if you move companies. This will help everyone proactively get in touch and then act decisively when opportunities are referred in either direction.
3. Stay involved in the funding process
While your bank may not be directly funding your client’s current needs, staying involved in the funding process is beneficial to your clients. It ensures they’ll continue to feel supported by their bank and, at the same time, the alternative lender gets better visibility into the relationship.
That visibility also keeps your bank top-of-mind with the alternative lender because it’s a positive conversion for them. An ongoing dialogue and reciprocity between you and the alternative lender allow for a cohesive approach in providing the customer with the highest level of service.
4. Stay in touch — even beyond business!
This classic piece of relationship advice applies to bankers too: stay in touch with your referral partners even when you don’t have anyone to send their way. Checking in on your lending network during a slow period can spark future lending opportunities, but also engages them in ways that make them feel valued and not just another name on your list.
Send them a quick note with some useful information, reach out to congratulate them on a recent success, or use the time to find out more about the lender since they may have introduced new products in the time you’ve known them.
For today’s bankers, it’s all about developing relationships — with potential customers and referral partners. These partners, including alternative lenders such as Liquid Capital, can step in and provide funding when your customer doesn’t currently meet your bank’s criteria. With these tips, you’ll be able to create and sustain relationships with alternative lenders such as Liquid Capital and continue to increase your customer base.
If you’re a banking professional that’s interested in extending your network to offer additional and augmented funding solutions to your customers, learn more about the Liquid Capital Bank Alliance Program