Cultivating Healthy Tension to Become a Lead Dog in Business Lending



When it comes to business lending, is your credit union the alpha pack mate? All the snapping and growling that comes with that role can be counter to the CU member-first mentality. But one credit union has managed to grow its business lending without sacrificing its service culture.  

Business lending can be a dog-eat-dog world. Former commercial bankers often caution that it can be a ruthless environment, one that sometimes conflicts with the highly communicative, member service-oriented credit union milieu. For credit unions that are new to business services, it can be a real culture shock.

Challenges for business lending executives include meeting business borrowers’ high expectations for speed and transparency, working through the loan request pipeline in an efficient manner, and managing the natural tension between the front-end sales organization and the back-office credit underwriting and processing functions.

Yet SAFE Credit Union, a $2.3 billion-asset institution based outside of Sacramento in Folsom, Calif., has successfully married its growing business lending operation with the credit union service culture.

Currently serving more than 190,000 members with 22 branches in 12 counties in Northern California, SAFE began offering member business loans in 2006. But the CU really didn’t start ramping up its program until 2011.

Now SAFE has grown its business loan portfolio to more than $75 million, alongside another $70 million in participation purchases. The portfolio has experienced 35 percent to 45 percent growth in the past 12 months alone. This year, the credit union is generating, on average, $4 million per month in new business loan volume.

SAFE handles all of this activity through a dedicated and high-functioning team of specialists. Ken Getz, vice president of business banking, manages the business sales division, consisting of two teams. A business lending manager leads one team of five sales officers and focuses on large commercial real estate deals. The second team of five professionals is dedicated to small business relationships and is headed up by a business deposits manager. This team works closely with SAFE’s branch network to develop strong, full-service relationships with its business members.

This content is for CU BUSINESS eMagazine , Special Deal: 2 websites , and NEW! The Leadership Team Builder Group Subscription members only.
Log In Register

Share post:



More like this

Newark Board of Education Employees Credit Union Joins

  Newark, NJ and Princeton, NJ – is excited...

Jax Federal Credit Union Announces Promotion of Joy Bing to Senior Vice President of Consumer Lending and Mortgage

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–June 14, 2022–Jax Federal Credit Union announces the...

Rebecca White Joins Texas Trust as Vice President of HR

ARLINGTON, Texas – June 6, 2022 – Strengthening and...

There’s more to overdraft reform than just fees

The great overdraft debate has focused on fees. And...