Business Lending Expertise Commands Big Paychecks
If a credit union in the Pacific Northwest is hoping to compete with other financial institutions to woo a heavily sought-after executive for its business lending division, be prepared to make at least an $85,000 offer.
Robert Pfaendler, president of The Robert Pfaendler Co. LLC, a Bend, Ore.-based recruiting firm, shared that reality at a recent webinar hosted by CU Business Group on staffing a business lending program.
“In the banking world, it would be $85,000 to $90,000. That’s midpoint. When you get into the management level, it can up go up to $120,000,” Pfaendler said. “That type of experience is premier quality and a tough person to find.”
The salaries can be even higher in major cities such as Chicago or Los Angeles where the range can typically be 20% over the figures offered in Pacific Northwest cities such as Portland, said Larry Middleman, president/CEO of CUBG, a business lending CUSO in Portland that serves 410 credit unions in 43 states.
More than 80 attendees tuned into the webinar to hear about trends and what staffing levels should look like in a member business lending program.
Among the trends is the exposure of a lack of expertise brought on by a flurry of problems loans that some credit unions have encountered over the past few years, Middleman said. The separation of credit administration and business development is another trend seen as a credit union’s MBL program grows, which has prompted a stronger focus on expanding expertise at the MBL committee level.
As banks start to ramp up their recruiting efforts again, the impact may be seen at credit unions and other lenders.
“What about turnover? Where do you go when a key person leaves a credit union? We’re seeing some turnover within the industry,” Middleman said.
When it comes to staffing a MBL program, there are a number of factors involved ranging from what part of the country a credit union is located, whether the program is a startup, intermediate or advanced stage, whether to stay in house or partner with a CUSO or third party and what are some of the strategic goals?
For instance, even as many credit unions are flush with deposits these days, Middleman said, there is a shortage of expertise in the business deposit area. It requires a level of experience similar to consumer lending to keep it operating and producing fee income, he noted.
Determining if a credit union wants to be the originator or buyer of participation loans also requires a certain level of expertise, Middleman said.
Pfaendler, who has more than 35 years of banking experience, including president of three community banks, said there are opportunities for credit unions to take advantage in 2013 when it comes to staffing their MBL programs. One big one is the continued consolidation of community banks.
“Well-capitalized banks are acquiring smaller banks like Pac Man,” Pfaendler said. “The availability of talent is partially driven by supply and demand.”
At one time, Oregon and Washington had a 70% community bank market share. Now it’s about 30%, Pfaendler said. There’s also been an increase in capital requirements, regulatory burdens and so far, legislation that is no different between large and small institutions–included in that mix are credit unions, he pointed out.
Because of the flux within the banking industry, credit unions may have a wider opportunity to recruit commercial lending executives from the other side. Indeed, Pfaendler cited a Credit Union Times survey that showed 43% of unfilled positions was at the executive or loan officer level.
Both Pfaendler and Middleman agreed that the hard part may be finding that in-demand talent who often don’t advertise on sites like Monster.com and social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
“The advantage of social media is you do get access to job seekers. The disadvantage is the inability to reach those high performers, especially those that don’t post on social media,” Pfaendler said.
Still, social media sites are a prime way for credit unions to tell their stories to make sure potential candidates will fit within the culture.
“They need to understand the credit union philosophy,” Middleman said. “They’re different from how banks operate. Although there are some similarities, there are a lot of differences.”
Much of the question and answer period at the end of CUBG’s webinar focused on compensation and credit unions wanting to know specifics on what to potentially offer. Middleman said he’s seen between $70,000 and $90,000, including incentives. In Portland, for example, credit unions might be hard pressed to find someone at a base salary of under $60,000.
Pfaendler said the range for a non-C-level officer or nonexecutives, is 3% to 5% of base salary. The executive level plateaus off rather quickly and then goes to much stronger bonuses, incentives and equity participation, he added.
Middleman reiterated it the nuances and factors that are unique to regions of the country and MBL program goals when it comes to compensation. To that end, CUBG is planning to roll out a business lending staffing survey in the first quarter of 2013. Twenty-eight credit unions of various asset sizes participated. Some of the early findings are most at the intermediate stage, $8 out of every $10 was related to commercial real estate and the credit unions typically do smaller loans around $53,000.