Jeff Judy

Jeff's Thoughts - January 4 , 2012

Why NOW Is the Time to Talk to Your Borrowers

For your business customers, this time of year is hardly "business as usual." Above all, wrapping up year-end financials and preparing for tax season is a very high priority for most of them. Even those who do not maintain financial statements on a calendar year basis have tax considerations and quarterly roll-ups to ponder.

In addition, it is only natural for many of us to start the New Year thinking about new strategies, better practices, course corrections, possible opportunities, and likely threats and responses, and your business borrowers are no different. This is a time of year when managers and owners of businesses are taking a comprehensive look at their operations and goals and crafting strategies and practices to ensure the best possible outcomes.

That makes this a time of year that is rich in information. Are you plugged in to your customers' thinking?

It is worth your while to maintain a higher level of contact with your borrowers while they are contemplating last year's results, lessons learned from both failed and successful efforts, and their future paths. It is much better to discuss now what they are thinking about doing in the coming year, even if some of those decisions are highly tentative at this point, than to be surprised at what they do a few months down the road.

And engaging in frequent conversation with your borrowers as we go from the old year to the new helps you detect, and perhaps influence, common planning problems such as:

With these and other issues, balance is what we are looking for. It is hard to run a thriving business with tax liability as the only major factor driving financial management. It is hard to build sustainable, profitable, and mutually beneficial credit relationships if credit needs are an afterthought to the planning process.

The beauty of dealing with your borrower now is that it is highly efficient. There are many questions you will want to ask, as the year progresses, for which they have answers at their fingertips right now. You can gain insights into their operations and strategies with much less effort now than you will have to put in to get the same information in just a couple of months.

Are you busy, is your borrower busy, as a new year begins? Certainly!

Too busy? Certainly not! The extra effort you put into engaging your business customers right now is sure to pay handsome returns for the rest of the year.