Book Review: The Successful Lender’s Field Guide
Something that I have noticed for a long time, and really one of the reasons I started this blog, is that there is a lack of quality literature regarding best practices in sales strategies, negotiation tactics, and analytical aspects of what we do as lenders. While there are countless business books out there, few speak to our unique issues. A trio of bankers/authors seek to address that issue with the release of The Successful Lender’s Field Guide: Commercial Lending Strategies That Maximize Value For Both Bank and Borrower by Chris Nichols, Ed Kofman & Rick Ruso.
I became aware of The Successful Lender’s Field Guide (I’m not typing that whole title out again) when I got an email at work from a colleague across the country spreading the word on a book he and a few other guys from the San Francisco team had been working on. I was familiar with Nichols’ writing already from his contributions to the CenterState Correspondent Division Blog (which I recommend to any bankers out there – especially community bankers). It’s great content because he shares management strategies from banks around the country, case studies, and talks a bit about sales and marketing strategies in articles that you can read in a few spare minutes. Obviously I was sold the moment I saw this book’s title, so picked it up for the Kindle and started reading.
The book is well-organized and flows nicely. It kicks off with a couple chapters on the general lending business and prospecting, then going into some best practices around pricing and structuring deals. Their presentation on the mechanics of hedging (rate swaps) is the most clear and concise I have ever seen and an excellent way to teach these concepts to a junior lender or as a refresher for even the most seasoned. The section on “Beating Your Competition” was one of the best to address the sales side of the job as it included a series of closing techniques from one of the nation’s top loan officers.
The sales and marketing sections of the book were not overly sales-y but instead were focused on ways to create mutually beneficial deals for both parties, bank and borrower. The authors get granular when the topic calls for it, such as in the hedging section, but they also don’t waste a lot of words delving into concepts that a reader of something this industry-specific should already know.
I found a ton of value in this quick read and even referred back to it as I was working on a term sheet recently. The tactics shared in this guide will be of great benefit to lenders at any stage of their career.