Speakers Detail Keys to Business Lending Success

July 13, 2010

“As our business lending department continues to grow, we continue to work closely with our marketing and business development department,” said Sandi Carangi, vice president of marketing and business development at Erie (Pa.) Federal Credit Union, during a Monday afternoon breakout session at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas. The marketing folks have access to all the competitive intelligence the business lenders need, she said.

Erie Federal’s business loan portfolio should be about $10 million by the end of this month, said Carangi. About half of its business loan volume comes through its credit union service organization. She said her credit union has opened 217 business accounts during the past year, with an average balance of more than $2 million in deposits.

Sandi Carangi
Interest income on business debit and credit cards is very strong, says Sandi Carangi, vice president of marketing and business development for Erie (Pa.) Federal Credit Union.

“It’s not clear yet how legislation will affect interchange fee income, but right now interest income on business debit and credit cards is very strong,” she said.

Joining Carangi was Scot Hadden, vice president of business banking for Servus Credit Union in Alberta, Canada. His credit union has been offering business services for many years and has a mature business services department, with a $3 billion business loan portfolio and 200 employees dedicated to business services.

Hadden says his credit union's keys to business services success are to be:

* Fast. Most small-business owners aren’t blessed with patience, so don’t be bureaucratic.

* Competitive. The market is smart, but you don’t have to have the lowest fees and rates.

* Flexible. If a deal is strong, your terms should be flexible.

* Advisory. Make it your business to know their business.

* Relationship-based. This is the most important one and is the key to success in business banking. Visit your businesses and take interest in them and their business. Smile, relax, and have fun. Go the extra mile for your businesses and offer a full package of services.

* The employer of great people. There are a lot of people out there who have the tech skills to do business lending, but you also need people with sales and relationship skills.

* Involved in your community. Be visible and support other small, nonprofits.

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