Urgent, So Urgent: Business Banking Tips Inspired by Foreigner

Industry Trends

Hey there, money mavens and rock enthusiasts! As part of the Baker Hill Summer Concert blog series, I was asked to write about one of my long-time favorite bands and the lessons we can learn from their lyrics. Earlier this summer I got to see Foreigner on their farewell tour. It was simply amazing to see this band whose songs were played on many a cassette mix tape when I was a kid. Who would've thought that rock anthems could hold the key to mastering the art of commercial banking and risk management? Get ready to rock as we explore how Foreigner's timeless lyrics can help us navigate the wild ride of banking and risk management.

"Double Vision"

Picture this: You're jamming out to Foreigner's "Double Vision" while keeping an eye on both the present and the future of your loan portfolio. Especially now when we have discussions about recession and the risks that are in your current portfolio, I see too many bankers not giving the loans that are in the pipeline the proper attention. You need the dual perspective to make informed decisions. It's like playing air guitar and air drums at the same time — a real balancing act! That’s when you realize you need the band to back you up; you cannot do it alone. With solutions like Baker Hill NextGen® Portfolio Monitoring, we can help you maintain that historical look, while also keeping an eye out for future risks.

“Say You Will” … and make it “Urgent”

One of Foreigner’s lesser-known hits is “Say You Will” (at the concert they did an acoustic version of this song that was simply AMAZING), but when it comes to small business the lyrics really do get to the heart of the matter. Small business is risky. We don’t always have the complete story to make sure that we are completely comfortable with risk, so we find ourselves with business owners humming these lyrics, “Say you will, say you won't. Make up your mind tonight.”

Once you make up your mind, turn to another Foreigner hit, “Urgent.” That small business owner wants financing and will “say it’s urgent, so urgent, so oh-oh urgent.” If you are not familiar enough with the tools for small business, like FICO’s SBSS or Experian’s complete set of small business scores, it is time to go on tour with some of the best roadies in the scoring business. Baker Hill will help you be the bank that your small businesses call first because they know you will respond quickly and “treat them right.”

“I Want to Know What Love Is”

Time to slow it down a bit and pull at the heartstrings of that geeky high school boy in the Union High School cafeteria (also the after-game dance floor) building up the courage to ask that one girl to dance. Yes, we “want to know what love is,” and like Foreigner reassures, “I know you can show me.” But are you showing your business banking clients the love?

At Baker Hill’s 2023 Prosper event, our friends at the Risk Management Association (RMA) shared their study on risk ratings. In a very traditional 1-to-10 risk scale, what they saw is that most bankers would be very comfortable with a slim group at the top, a majority in the middle, and a slim group at the bottom; in other words, only three segmentations to work on. If you apply this to the entire population with an automated rating system in place, EVERY category on the spectrum is represented. Your number ones are really truly number one, and they’re treated as such. You handle your number threes differently (and appropriately) based on the shift either up or down from where they were previously ranked. In most cases, they’re scaled up, allowing them to feel more love — and yes, they “want to know what love is,” and when you segment in a truly automated fashion, you get them to see that love from the bank or credit union.

“Juke Box Hero”

The Juke Box changed music! In today’s world of Spotify and Apple Music (and a dozen other streaming services), it’s hard to imagine that the Juke Box was the first on-demand music device. Think music-tech but an old school flair. What is the Juke Box of fintech today? What would be the equivalent of that “beat up six-string in a secondhand store,” that you don’t know how to play, but you know for sure it feels good in your hand?

In today’s banking environment, you need the right tools to rock your borrowers’ and bankers’ world. You can’t remain old-school like that classic juke box and still give your stakeholders the streaming-like experience that they’re expecting from you today. It’s so critical to make sure that you’re creating that fintech ecosystem that is hot-blooded and delivering the excitement and energy that matches those expectations.

To paraphrase the “Juke Box Hero” lyrics, start rockin', and never stop, you gotta keep on rockin', someday you’re gonna make it to the top of fintech operations at a bank. Fintech never stops, and your application of it should change with the times. Be the hero — have stars in your eyes.

“The Modern Day”

So, there you have it, fellow rockers of finance — commercial banking and risk management don't have to be all ties and seriousness. With a little Foreigner flair, you can rock your way through “the modern day” world of finance while keeping risks in check and grooving to the beat of success. Just remember, every riff has its risks, but with the right mindset, you'll be rocking the financial stage like a true rockstar!

Mic drop!!!

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Topics: industry trends