Last week I had a small reunion with two former coworkers from my very first banking job after graduating from college. It was great to catch up after 30 years! It was easy to laugh as we looked back at ourselves and how much we all had to learn. While the bank we all worked for had been acquired in the 1990s, one of my former colleagues is once again working in our original building, for a different institution, of course. What a wonderful coincidence! But of the original eight of us who started together in the formal credit training program, he was the only one who remained in commercial lending.
Our discussion about all the changes in our lives and in the financial services industry over the years turned to a challenge that was echoed at a loan review department managers’ forum I recently attended. A consistent concern of banks of all sizes and locations nationwide is how to attract and retain quality loan review personnel. Following the financial crisis, a trend emerged that fewer college graduates were pursuing careers in the financial services industries. To address the concern of attracting and retaining top talent for your credit and loan review department, consider some of these best practices:
- Independence: Loan review departments should report to the board of directors and be independent of the lending function.
- Skill Development: A loan reviewer’s skill set necessitates ongoing training, assignment rotations, industry certifications, and peer reviews. These require time and resources.
- Career Path: If there is a defined career path to senior-level credit or line positions, it will support a continued pipeline of new employees.
If your institution has experienced declines in your internal loan review or credit department staff or the cost of implementing an independent review function is does not fit into your plans or budget, consider contacting Wipfli to provide additional support to your loan review function. Our staff are seasoned professionals, each with over 20 years of experience in the industry.
One final best practice: As Valentine’s Day approaches, be sure to show your loan review or credit department some appreciation. I hear chocolate is appropriate.