The financial services industry has faced dramatic disruption over the past decade, with significant implications for the talent needed in the future. Recent reports show employers across the country are scrambling to fill open requisitions. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals that over 40% of U.S. workers are actively searching for a new job, or plan to soon. This is twice the rate of 2019, as workers are becoming more aware of what they really want out of a job and in their lives due to the pandemic.
Bruce Paul, Managing Director of Banking Research at Rivel Banking, explains that when asking community banks and credit unions what their biggest concerns are, 80% say “it’s a staffing issue.” And it’s affecting the customer experience.
Meanwhile, in today’s low-interest rate environment, all eyes are focused on lending staff. We’ve always asked a lot of these key men and women in our organizations … loan growth, credit quality, and 18-hour workdays during PPP, just to name a few. They are more important now than ever before, but it’s often a challenge to find the “right fit.” After all, we’re basically searching for two personalities in the same person. On one hand, we’re seeking a go-getter: someone who can hit the streets and bring in business. On the other, we want an analytical number-cruncher who can act as a liaison between borrowers, business owners, CPAs, and the financial institution.
While hiring is certainly taking longer in today’s labor market, due diligence cannot be rushed when it comes to finding the right lenders. While some key lending skills could be trained into a new recruit, there are some traits that are simply non-negotiable when it comes to your lending staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced banks and credit unions to challenge the status quo and think differently about the way our teams are recruited, retained, and valued. Equipped with the right mindset and tools, lenders that embody these traits will help as financial institutions continue to shift to focusing on the needs of the borrower across the desk and helping our communities in need. Perhaps tapping into skills and talent already on board could lead to unexpected discoveries. Look within your organization for employees with solid secondary skills, like:
Building tomorrow’s workforce often starts with today’s loyal staff; but no matter what, it should always embody the traits and values you want to represent your financial institution in the future. Provide employees with a strong sense of direction by showing them the opportunities that exist in your institution beyond their current job function. Otherwise, you’re simply training other organizations’ future employees.
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