Commercial Lending Takes Home Gold!

Commercial Lending Takes Home Gold!

I grew up playing every sport imaginable and I was often the most competitive kid on the playing field.  I loved to play, to compete, and to win. My love of sports culminated every four years during the biggest athletic competition in the world and I was glued to the TV. In 1996, I was 12 years old when Kerri Strug landed her incredible vault. I had a Shannon Miller, the most decorated gymnasts of all time (well until Simone Biles and we’ll get to her soon) poster hanging on my wall. I loved watching the gymnasts compete at the highest level, on the world’s biggest stage, and of course, taking home the gold.

Fast forward about 25 years and now I was working with USA Gymnastics and the heroes that I had idolized – Kerri, Shannon, and Simone. I saw firsthand the dedication, determination, and what it takes to become a champion. I was in Rio when Simone won her gold on the floor and vault. Cheering on US gymnasts from the stands and witnessing the GOAT win her gold medals is a memory I’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Now at Baker Hill and back to being glued to my TV, I’ve found that there’s a lot of ways that commercial loan origination is like my time working with gold medalists. 

There’s no “I” in Team or Loans.

Gymnastics is a perfect mixture of an individual and team sport just like a bank. To make a winning team, you need each gymnast to do her job and when she excels so does the team. Excellent vaulter? Great, don’t worry about the beam. High flying on the uneven bars? Wonderful, another teammate will be graceful on the floor exercise. In a bank, it takes a true team of individuals with unique talents to execute the perfect commercial loan and generate profitability. Commercial lenders, credit analysts, loan operations, and portfolio managers all need to excel in their specific areas so the bank can take home the gold … well actually the loan.

Have a process and trust it.

To win the gold, every gymnast must have a plan. With her coach, she plans out the training, nutrition, rest, and even pre-competition routines, and she practices this plan for months and even years leading up the big competition. The process is birthed out of the plan. Day in and day out at the gym when the world isn’t watching, the gymnast methodically works through her process. When the lights are on and scores count, she knows what to do thanks to countless days of creating a routine. To be successful in commercial loan origination, it is critical for the bank to have a process and continually practice the process. Commercial loan origination is most successful when a bank has a consistent method that they trust and can implement it day in and day out when the world isn’t watching.

Balancing the beam and the risk.

Did you know the balance beam is only four inches wide and four feet tall? Now close your eyes.  Imagine yourself flipping on a beam four feet in the air. And you thought commercial lending was risky! A gymnast knows a lot about risk. She is constantly calculating and managing her risk as she attempts each jump, flip, and turn on the beam. Just like a gymnast, every commercial lender is weighing and managing the risk associated with all commercial loans. Will the loan fall off the beam and cost the bank the gold? Or will the loan land on its feet and bring home the medal? Being able to manage the risk in commercial loan origination is the difference in becoming a hero or walking away in defeat.

As the competition continues, I hope you’ll join me in cheering on all of the athletes from the USA as we watch the years of hard work and dedication culminating on the world’s biggest stage. In the same way, Baker Hill has been around for 35 years and through years of hard work and dedication, we have created Baker Hill NextGen®.  Our solution can help you build a strong team, create a consistent process, and manage risk.  Oh and, we’ve already won the gold according to the Aite group. You can be next!