Dear Aunty B,
I have run a successful business for many years and have a very good credit record. I have also been with the same bank since I started my business. I recently found myself explaining my business to a 25-year-old who obviously knew nothing about banking. When I asked him about his past he told me he had studied acting. I looked him up on Facebook and was shocked to see that his main expertise seems to lie in doing trapeze tricks and that the bank would think this was a suitable person to hire as a business banker.
I am now in a situation where I am fearful about complaining in case it backfires but incredulous that the future of my company, my employees and shareholders lies with this young man who would be happier hanging from a roof on a trapeze than wading through my financials. Help!
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Don’t be scared. Be terrified. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum. Or to be slightly more relevant, the trapeze artists are in charge at the banks.
You must take immediate action. A very senior banker told me the other day that all the banks have been hit by the skills shortage. It seems no one in their right mind and with the right skills wants to work in the front line at a bank. So banks are being forced to hire on attitude and train young people up.
This means that your situation is not abnormal. The problem is that as you rightly ascertain, your banker knows nothing about your business or industry. So he is going to feed all your information into a computer which is going to spit out a yes or a no.
To make matters worse, there is very little money to lend to business.
You see, as chief executive of the Australian Bankers Association, Steve Munchenberg, told us the other day: “Banks were lenders. What they are now are allocators of scarce resources.”
So you are now chasing a scarce resource and between you and that scarce resource is a trapeze artist with a computer, programmed to say no. Told you. Be terrified!
Here is what you must do. Forget the 90s, when you had to tell the flirty, smiley 25-year-old that you didn’t need to borrow all that money.
Now you want an old bloke in a cardie or the smart, officious, scary-looking woman to be your banker. Why? You can talk sense to them. If they come back with a no, you can discuss what you might need to do to get that loan. You can have a sensible conversation with them. You have a chance of being lent some money – which after all is what banks are meant to do.
Your Aunty B
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