My father-in-law Ralph was a WWII veteran and serial entrepreneur. Over his 94 years, he owned a night club, a dry cleaning shop, a demolition business—and more. He was an excellent negotiator and he knew how to lead and inspire a team.

And he knew first-hand the value of a strong banking relationship.

Ralph loved to tell a story about how one weekend many years ago, he bought $2,100 worth of antiques at an auction with the plans to resell them at a profit. When he bought the antiques, he didn’t have the money to cover the check he wrote. So on Monday morning, he called his banker to tell him what he’d done and ask for a loan to cover the check.

The banker asked what collateral he had. “Well, I’ve got an old hound dog,” Ralph said. “I guess that will be enough,” said the banker. And the deal was done.

Though lenders of today—and their regulator friends—would frown on such a deal, the lesson is powerful.

their relationship lasted many years

His banker was trusted, tried and true.Ralph Piland

Though you can’t do a deal over a handshake and a hound dog, you can look for ways to help your customers—both large and small—succeed in their businesses. As a lender, you should be a counselor and valued teammate. Are you there when they're in a pinch? Do you help them look ahead?

Are you asking the right questions to serve in that role?

  • What type of loan structure best suits his business?
  • Would it be better for her to buy or lease that major equipment?
  • How are the tax changes affecting his ability to grow?
  • What working capital does she need to get to the next level?

If you ask and advise, you’re no commodity.

You’re a go-to. When your customers are profitable and prosperous, your institution is, too. You’ll create enduring loyalty that becomes legendary.

Be an entrepreneur's best friend. If you need help creating loyal relationships with your customers, call Martha direct: 785.969.6203.