In today’s bleak economic environment many businesses are looking for financial resources to weather the storm. To name a few these could be anything from a business loan/line of credit, better payment terms on credit instruments, additional incentives for treasury services and much more. While demand is heightening, supply is shrinking. Banks are tightening up the purse strings and increasing requirements for lending. If a business did not already have a stellar credit rating chances are finding credit opportunities on the marketplace are going to be slim to none. This is where relationships come in. In finance especially coming off cold from the street does not help the case to have a bank loan you large sums of money. Long term relationships groom trust and understanding. These relationship should be leveraged strategically even if there is nothing currently on the table as you never know when in the future a need might arise.

Recently I was working to find a credit line for a customer with a sub par credit rating but a compelling business case showing future growth. In shopping the market and identifying potential banks we hit many stone walls. It was not until I started to get creative and think what relationships could I leverage to get my clients foot in the door. Ultimately we found a large bank who was willing to take a call and consider our request. As we progressed down the vetting process there were upper level concerns at the bank. They wanted to feel like they had an open line of communication to our customers management team and preferred that the relationship be groomed over time. This brings me back to the key mentioned at the beginning - relationships are key and must be groomed over time! 

These lessons go to show that networking is key. Many times there may not be an immediate benefit but connections and interactions leave a lasting impression. In the finance realm trust is key. Banks rely on credit ratings, annual reports and financials. These all tell them if a client is responsible with their money, can pay the bills and whether they may be poised for future growth. What cannot be determined though is the cultural integrity and whether all the financials will live up to the name and principles. In this time of extreme difficulty continue to keep networking top of mind. While in person events are out of the realm of possibility there are many opportunities for virtual connecting on LinkedIn, through webinars and just picking up the phone and talking to a long lost connection. Let the power of networking work for you in this environment and lead to better sway with financial relationships down the road.

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Samer Ijaz

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