The Breakup - Don't Be That Lender

We’ve all been there.  We’re in a relationship that’s seen better days.   We’ve had ups and downs, but the downs are now the norm. Now it’s nothing but “side-eye” and eye-rolls.  Maybe it’s one-sided, but if you’re really being honest with yourself, it’s most likely mutual.  The end is clearly in sight.  

Why, when the time has come for both parties to “officially” breakup, does one party decide he or she is going to make it difficult for the other?  Is it the nostalgia of the memories when things were good, so you try to resurrect the good ol’ days?  Is it the fear of being alone?  Is it anger, jealousy, disdain, or something less vitriol yet nonetheless painful?  Yes!  

Breakups are not easy.  Letting go is hard.  Catalogs of music chronicle the heartache, the anguish, and the pain associated with a separation.  But as Denis Leary so eloquently said it, “Life sucks, get a helmet!”  I left out a choice word from this quote, but the point still resonates.  At some point you just have to get over it.  It’s OVER!

No one likes to lose a client - well more accurately, no one likes to lose a client who's not stealing our money, not lying to us, not painful to work with, or who’s otherwise doing what we expected when we got engaged.  However, when the client is ready to go and you’ve agreed to part ways, isn’t it best to make it as easy as possible to part?  Don’t we want to be adults and wish them best, find out how we could have been better and “ask them if we can still be friends…”?  After all, the client is ready to go.  Sorry, they don’t love you any more - assuming they ever did.

We are an industry that comes together at regular functions to learn from, participate with, and collaborate amongst one another for the betterment of our individual pursuits.  We share our best practices, and we talk about “playing nice in the sandbox” with each other.  We talk about the value we bring our clients and how we are trying to change the face that commercial finance has taken on over the last 100 years.  However, is it really all platitudes and lip service while we’re face to face, with each of us to itching to get back home and look for ways to undercut each other? Maybe I’m naive, but I honestly don’t think so.

I’ve been in this industry, specifically the factoring sector of the broader asset-based lending industry for quite a while - roughly 17 years to be more specific.  In the vast majority of cases, when I’ve had an opportunity to offer a client a better facility, a better structure, better pricing, better anything - simply a better experience - the process to transition and payoff a peer in our industry has gone smoothly. Conversely when I’ve graduated or lost relationships to peers, I’m confident saying I’ve transitioned them with the client’s best interests in mind.  That’s the way it should be, right?  

We all have too many other challenges in our space than to have to deal with a peer that leads us to conclude they are “the bad actor” we all reference at our industry events.  They make a bad name for our industry, and we don’t need more challenges to close relationships than we already have.  When simple “breakups” start to take days, then weeks, then months to conclude, something is wrong.  Someone isn’t "making a clean break”.  The metaphor still loosely fits though, someone is acting like a child.

We’re on the cusp of closing another new relationship for 12five.  Needless to say we’re having challenges with a peer who’s not handling the breakup well.  Our peer has forgotten about the client, and instead has made the tactful decision to make the breakup difficult.  The client is now streaming on repeat the Taylor Swift breakup song, “We Are Never Getting Back Together”, while our peer is stuck resetting the needle on a scratchy vinyl version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five.  Unfortunately, the client isn’t coming back, no matter how many times Michael Jackson sings that hook.

When you have a breakup and the only thing left at your place is a forgotten toothbrush, don’t expect the doorbell to ring and to see your breakup at the front door.  The time to move on has arrived, and it’s time to put your commitments at our industry events into action.  For the betterment of our industry, let’s all do our part not to be THAT lender when we go through a breakup.  The client will be grateful for your class!

Jason Bush, Lead Prospect Developer