How to pick the right commercial lender for your business

A commercial lender is a critical partner for any business owner.

Asking the right questions up front and establishing a lending relationship can save you both time and money — and ensure that you are working with the right person when it matters most.

As a Commercial Lender with Oregon Pacific Bank, Eric Deisler’s goal is to help his clients succeed. He encourages business owners to establish a lending relationship early by asking the right questions.

“When you forge a commercial lending relationship, it’s not a transaction,” he says. “It’s a multi-year relationship, sometimes decades, so take the time to know your banker. Ensure that they know where you were in the past, successes, failures, and where you want to grow. Talk to them about financials. Ask them if they understand the complexity of the balance sheet, your margins.”

When identifying the right commercial lender for you and your business, Eric suggests looking for a person who provides an easy connection. Are they accessible, transparent, dependable and easy to work with?

Your lender should be invested in your success, proactively reaching out to see how they can help you. Be sure that person is familiar with your industry and the market. Do they understand what your needs are and how to help you reach your business potential?

Ask if their decision makers are local. Larger banks often make decisions out of state. On the other hand, decisions at community banks are made by people who know the impact of their decisions in the local area.

“Being a community bank means you get to work with an experienced banker that’s been in the market for years who understands the system and has decided to make an intentional decision to work for a local organization because they want to give back, but because they also want to make a difference,” Eric says.

It’s also important to look beyond immediate needs. Is a lender going to stand with you during future challenges?

“Look for the option that you know is going to help you now and in the future when your company grows and succeeds, or perhaps runs into challenges,” Eric says. “And, by the way, it’s OK if your company runs into challenges. Your bank’s supposed to be there to work with you during that, and that’s why it’s important to forge a relationship early with your banker.”

Overcoming challenges together can strengthen the relationship between the company and its banker. At Oregon Pacific Bank, we care about our clients and want them to flourish.

“We believe we can bring that genuine approach to business and life, and at the end of the day, that feels good,” Eric says. “It’s nice to be able to help people.”

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