Commercial Loans Blog

Seven Ways to Spot a Hot Commercial Loan Officer

Posted by George Blackburne on Fri, Jul 27, 2012

In our last lesson I wrote that much of your success as a commercial loan broker depends on you hooking up with the right loan officers at the right banks.  But who are the right loan officers?  Who are the loan officers who are closing most of the commercial loans for the bank?

Below are some techniques and clues that might help you spot a “hot loan officer”.   I’m not talking about looks here, but rather who has the highest closing ratio.

  1. Ask the bank’s receptionist or the commercial loan department's secretary.  “Ma’am, I’m just a starving mortgage broker here on straight commission.  Would you please-please tell me who closes the most commercial real estate loans for your bank?”  It’s been my experience that if you are really good at sounding pathetic, the clerk will direct you to the right loan officer.  “They’re all good,” she’s likely to say, “But you probably want to work with Bill Bradley.  Do you want me to transfer you?”

  2. Pay attention to tombstones.  Tombstones are announcements about commercial loan closings.  In the old days tombstones were little display advertisements placed in financial newspapers; but modernly most tombstones go out by email.  Which loan officer for the bank closed that deal?

  3. Stay close to the speakers at commercial real estate finance conventions.  These guys and ladies are usually the “big guns” at their banks or lending firms, and they have lots of buddies at other firms who are also big guns.

  4. Look for the younger male loan officers who are, at least partially, on commission.  The ideal loan officer will be a man in his late 30’s who is either on commission or a salary-plus-bonus compensation system.

  5. Avoid the sleepy old men.  It’s been my experience that most of the old men working as commercial loan officers for banks are on straight salary.  Too often these sleepy old guys couldn’t give a flip if they ever make another commercial real estate loan.  Often these older guys are just counting the days until retirement.  They certainly aren’t going to risk their retirements by fighting hard for you in Loan Committee.

  6. As a general rule, I am also not crazy about submitting my commercial deals to women bankers who are on straight salary.  If you find yourself a little outraged by the above comment, please keep in mind that if she would get my deals closed, I would be happy to do business with a green-haired lesbian from Lapland.  What do I care?  I am just reporting my very painful observation that my closing rate with salaried female loan officers is about 1/10th my closing ratio with salaried male loan officers.  (Please read that last sentence again.  This closing rate differential is too important to ignore simply because the subject is politically sensitive.)  Too often, it seems, these women loan officers are just out to prove that they are strong enough to say no.  Since every commercial loan has at least a few black hairs on it, these women bankers merely glance at the package until they find a black hair.  Then they kill the deal.  I have tried to figure out why the closing rate of women bankers is so pitifully low.  Perhaps it is because these ladies are often the sole breadwinners for their families, so they dare not risk their jobs by arguing too passionately for my deals in Loan Committee.  Women loan officers also seldom go out to nudie bars with the “good ‘ole boys” on Loan Committee, so women in banking really are the subject of a little discrimination.  Hey, I’m not sayin'...  I’m just sayin’...  All that being said, I have to confess that my very last deal was closed for me by … a salaried, divorced, female banker with children.  She was excellent.  LOL.  Still want to scratch my eyes out?  I'm really not prejudiced against women.  The top three executives at Blackburne & Sons are all ladies, and their abilities are miles above our men.  All I'm saying here is that I have had a miserable record of geting salaried women bankers to close my deals.  After 33 years, its hard to ignore the reality of the statistics.

  7. But if a woman banker is on straight COMMISSION, she may be my first choice, especially if she is attractive.  It’s been my personal observation that women on straight commission can be very powerful business animals, like a mama bear protecting her cubs.  Don’t get in this woman’s way.  She’s on a mission to get deals closed.

If you found this article to be instructive, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to our blog via email.  To get a copy of each new training blog article as it comes out, without having to remember to come back, please fill in your email address in the space provided on the right.

Lastly, if you're a buddy or a former student of mine, would you please do me the great kindness of hitting the Like button, the Google+1 button, and the Linked-In Share button above.  Thanks so much.  :-)

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Topics: hot loan officers

The Importance of Calling to Confirm Receipt of Your Commercial Loan Package

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Jul 25, 2012

This may shock you, but most commercial loan officers will NOT read the commercial loan packages that you send to them.  This is especially true for bankers working on salary.

Your commercial loan package will sit on their desks (or will rot in their email boxes) for weeks – until you call to “confirm receipt of the package.”

Why?  Most commercial loan officers will assume that you, the commercial mortgage broker, have shot-gunned the package out to dozens and dozens of different banks.  They are not going to waste their time slogging through some great, big, thick commercial loan package until you signal that you really want to hear from them.

Question:  So how do you send “the signal” to the loan officer that you actually need him to read the package?  Answer:  By calling to “confirm receipt of the package.”

The call should go as follows:

“Hey Jim, this is George Blackburne from C-Loans.  I realize that you could not possibly have reviewed the package by now, but I sent you an email a few hours ago containing a very short PDF of a commercial loan package.  I think it’s a great one!  All I’m doing right now is calling to confirm that you received my package.”

“You don’t remember receiving it?  Your email address is james.t.kirk@mybank.com, right?  The subject line reads, “Jim, Here’s a Sweet Commercial Deal in Your Backyard”  You still don’t see it?  Huh.  Would you mind checking your junk mail filter?  Sure, I’ll be happy to hold.  You found it?  Hallelujah, Jim!  Okay, I’ll leave you to do your thing.  I think you’ll love this deal.”

Remember, it is the custom and practice in commercial real estate finance for commercial loan officers to completely ignore your loan package – until you call to "confirm receipt of the package."

If you found this article to be instructive, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to our blog via email.  To get a copy of each new training blog article as it comes out, without having to remember to come back, please fill in your email address in the space provided on the right.

Lastly, if you're a buddy or a former student of mine, would you please do me the great kindness of hitting the Like button, the Google+1 button, and the Linked-In Share button above.  Thanks so much.  :-)

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Topics: calling to confirm

Commercial Loans and Inspecting Commercial Properties That Are Too Far Away

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Jul 23, 2012

The reason why you want to inspect the commercial properties that you are trying to finance is because you don’t want to waste a lot of time trying to finance a commercial property in a low-income, high-crime-rate, high-drug-use area.

But some commercial properties are located just too far away to personally inspect.  If your commercial deal is simply too far away to personally inspect, you can do a pretty decent job of pre-screening it by using a few of the wonderful tools on the internet.

My personal favorite site for demographic information is City-Data.com.  (Don’t forget the dash between City and Data!)  City-Data will give you a FREE demographics report containing the income level of the nearby residents, their educational level, the crime rate statistics, and the racial make-up of the neighborhood.  

After studying this free demographics report, you should be able to get a feel for whether or not this is an area that you would allow your mother to walk around in at night.  City-Data.com works great for small-to-medium-sized towns

Suppose, however, you’re trying to finance a commercial property in Chicago, llinois.  Chicago has some very nice neighborhoods … and some very dangerous ones.  How do you know whether your particular neighborhood is a safe and affluent one if you are located in Boston and cannot personally inspect the site?

The best site for this is NeighborhoodScout.com.  This is not a free site; but we have figured out how to use it for free.

Start by going to NeighborhoodScout.com.  Click on the state in question; in this case, Illinois.  Next click on the gold Crime Rate tab.  In the upper-right-hand corner of the map of Illinois, you’ll see two white buttons that allow you to choose between a Satellite view or a Map view.  Choose the Map View.

Then locate the neighborhood in question on the map by either zooming in and out or dragging the map to the left or right.   Once you’ve centered the neighborhood in question, you’ll be able to tell by the shade of blue that the neighborhood is colored whether this area is a good one or not.

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to use Google Maps (http://maps.google.com) to look at your property from a satellite.  Start by typing in the property address and then hitting the “Search” button.  By placing your cursor over the Map button, another button will pop out that says, “Satellite”.  Check on the Satellite button.  Then move the slider on the left to zoom in on your property.

There is also a chain link button that allows you to create a hyperlink to your satellite view that you can place right into your loan package.  Lenders will appreciate this extra touch.

If you found this article to be instructive, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to our blog via email.  To get a copy of each new training blog article as it comes out, without having to remember to come back, please fill in your email address in the space provided on the right.

Lastly, if you're a buddy or a former student of mine, would you please do me the great kindness of hitting the Like button, the Google+1 button, and the Linked-In Share button above.  Thanks so much.  :-)

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Topics: inspecting commercial property