Helping with Lending at a Time of Crisis - Social Assurance
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Helping with Lending at a Time of Crisis

March 31, 2020
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With uncertainty all around us, many lenders are working overtime listening to the painful stories of small businesses and homeowners. Banks are communicating 60 day mortgage relief requests. But marketing product offerings during a crisis is one of the most sensitive and difficult tasks to support.

In this webinar, we discuss how your lenders can:

  • Embracing empathy and facts
  • Focusing on the value that is needed
  • Inspiring trust and hope for customers who are hurting

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Ben Pankonin 0:21
Well, welcome back to another webinar. We are talking today about helping with lending at a time of crisis. You know, we’re, as all of the emails I continue getting say, hey, in times of uncertainty are we start about many of our conversations with this conversation about in times like these, I can’t I can’t even relate to how many notes emails, conversations I’ve had that have started with messages like this, but the reality is, now is the time for helping. We you know, if there’s one thing that we need We’re certain of it’s time to help. And so, you know, we’re going to be talking about that we’ve had a lot of questions about how do we communicate about some of these things that really do help communities and help recovery. So I’m excited to kind of talk about that. I am joined today with Becky Voss. Welcome, Becky.

Becky Voss 1:21
Hey, Ben, glad to be here with you.

Ben Pankonin 1:23
Yeah, so we are joining from our homes. We moved entirely remotely a couple weeks ago. So, you know, I know many of you are in different, you know, different processes of being remote or in the same spot, but, you know, I’ve got a quick poll, we’re going to share with you a little bit on where are you working from right now. So, if you get a chance to answer the question for, you know, are you at home office, or hopefully not stuck or somewhere else but you know, Feel free to drop us a response as we’re moving through that. But you know, as we, as we continue looking at that, you know, one of the things, Becky, you’ve spent a lot of your time in areas of sales and have had to sell remotely and really communicate with a lot of people from a remote capacity. How has this kind of been a different process for you communicating just remotely? You know, in this capacity?

Becky Voss 2:33
Yeah, um, you know, one of the biggest changes for me, like you said, I have been selling remotely for years. And so, the home office and those types of things that’s old hat for me, what has really changed in the last couple of weeks is how I need to communicate with people. You know, when I’m sending an email, what I’m what I’m leading with what I’m saying, is still making myself available for that sales process, but recognizing That the people that I’m talking to, they’ve shifted focus and they’ve shifted direction in their role, at least temporarily. They’re also undergoing a lot of change, which is very difficult for folks. They’re moving from an office environment, your home environment they’re having to get, I mean, even just gear to have that home office, whether it’s another monitor or, you know, bringing bringing that technology home, it has been a really interesting transition. That, you know, I’ve just had to change a lot of my messaging.

Ben Pankonin 3:29
It was interesting. I was sharing with some people at the office when we first started social assurance eight, nine years ago, I had moved from a role in which I was leading business development for a tech company and I had literally hired 40 some people so you know, I was around people all the time. I was making a lot of outside meetings, also having people into the office. And so, you know, my day was filled with people all the time. And when I left, I went to my home office, and I was coding And it was the hardest mental experience for me. And so talking with, you know, a few bankers just about that transition, which many on the sales side are now transitioning from that kind of capacity to not just what I was kind of dealing with was being by myself, but they’re hearing from a lot of very desperate clients this time. And I know how draining that is, you know, in texting with my bankers birthday was last week, and so we were texting on his birthday. And, you know, it’s just a really challenging time for him. And, you know, I think he was just kind of surprised of kind of the reaction of saying, Hey, you know, I get it, like, I know, I know what you’re dealing with to some degree. But he’s just, you know, working from 730 in the morning to 1030 at night listening to a lot of small businesses, and that’s a really tough spot.

Becky Voss 4:54
So yeah, it’s interesting because so many of the folks seem to fall in either one or one of two buckets. It’s either, you know, like your lender that you’re talking about, or even our team as far as the support of, we’re either extra busy right now, or things seem to be a little bit more slow. And when things are slow for us, we really have a tendency to maybe push a little bit harder than we ought to in certain situations. And so that’s something where we really need to have some caution, but also to be supportive for those deals that might be in the work.

Ben Pankonin 5:28
So we’re going to really talk and focus a lot on you know what it’s like adapting to this change. And if I didn’t catch you beforehand, there’s Twitter conversation going on. I’m getting some some notifications with the hashtag social bank. If you’ve got other questions, feel free to jump over into our Questions section on the GoToWebinar control panel. You know, you can tweet those questions message them in there. But you know, both of us have transitioned some more at home. Would you like to introduce us to Your your co workers here?

Becky Voss 6:03
Yeah, well, I’ve got two extra co workers here, Hazel my puppy is with me all the time. My team is accustomed to getting pictures of her hanging out on my desk with me. But in addition to her being with me, I’ve also got my three kids home from school, they’re going to do this elearning I think probably for the rest of the semester. So it’s definitely been a transition that I’m sure many of you are also experiencing, but those extra bodies in the house some of those extra interruptions.

Ben Pankonin 6:30
Yeah, you know, it was amazing, Becky, we were on a call with some of our software developers. And what one of our longest term software developers Adam was on the call. And, you know, normally, he works three days remotely anyway. But so I’ve worked with him had conversations with them all the time, but we just never turned on web cameras. When we were doing that, but we’ve kind of had this, you know, mantra that we’re trying to put you know, put webcams on, you know, whenever It just makes sure that, you know, we’re we’re adjusting to things and we’re dealing with that. And so sure enough, like on his webcam, he’s got a guitar right behind him. And so I was like, I’ve known like, I’ve known his wife for 25 years. I’ve known Adam for a long time. And I was like, well, Adam, I actually didn’t know you played guitar. And so he picks up his guitar plays perfect dust in the wind for our whole team. And I’m going, you know, hey, there’s there’s some things that we’re learning about people right now in this time that that is encouraging. Definitely. So. So we’ve had a bunch of questions from financial institutions. And before we kind of transition to that our poll says 68% of our attendees today are working from home. So you know, definitely seeing, you know, a push towards towards working from home and even though all of you are in essential positions and essential jobs, You know, we know that there’s still a transition and some of you are, are working hybrid roles or managing that capacity. So keep us informed if there’s anything we can do for you in that process. But, you know, one of the questions we’ve been getting a lot of is, what about selling again, and I’ve received this question from a bunch of our clients, I’ve also received it from a bunch of peers that are working in, in different small businesses that are saying, Well, hey, you know, like, we need to sell things in order to stay in business. So like, when do we do that again? And how do I do that without offending other people? And so it’s been a funny transition, because I’ve had several of them that I’ve said, Well, what are you selling? And why can’t you be helping people right now? Right. You know, we know like for a lot of our small businesses, that means transitioning at a restaurant. saying, Hey, we’re going to cut out all of our, you know, all of our in person events, we’re going to do drive thru, we’re going to do deliveries, we’re going to change that delivery. But for a lot of other businesses, financial institutions, especially, we still have something to do. And one of the things I think we need to embrace is that you can’t be too aggressive at helping people. That’s, that’s not an offensive thing. When we offer to help people, genuinely, we have an opportunity to really serve that community at a time when they need it most. Now, we also have to acknowledge that some of the ways that we help our communities and financial institutions is through loans. And and so there there is a product component to that, that we want to address. And so we’re going to try to spend as much time as we can, addressing, you know, how do we help them? How do we do that in a in a way that’s not offensive? And doesn’t it Isn’t perceived as opportunistic. So. So with that we’ll kind of jump into this. Yeah, Becky, we kind of looked at this and said, Really, our communities need hope, right? Like we need a way to a way to break this down for our sales teams and help them to understand that, that really, our offering is that of hope for these communities, that small businesses will help them recover that individuals mortgages and personal finance needs. We’re going to be there whether this is a two month thing or a 12 month thing. We’re going to really help them to navigate that. And so we’ve kind of broken this out into a little bit of a process here of saying, you know, the first step in hope is really reaching out a hand to help others. So I really illustrated as a sense of posture. So when I’ve talked to some of the lending teams lately that have had me on a quick call to just say, hey, What should we be thinking of? How do we make sure this is sensitive? The first one is to say, correct your posture. Just like when I’m sitting in this chair, I have to sit down and say, Okay, what is what is it that I’m conveying to other people? How do I help them to see that, that this is about the posture, my posture is that of helping, and I want to help them, you know, understand that that first and foremost, that’s it. It’s not about my quota. It’s not about what I have to do there. It’s about helping in that sense.

Unknown Speaker 11:32
And then yeah, you know, yeah.

Becky Voss 11:34
It’s been really interesting Ben to watch social assurance as a company do this and adjust that posture. And there have been some things they, you know, the leadership in our organization, you and Matt have instituted, you know, on a weekly basis or just touching in that have really demonstrated and shown through leadership, not only how you’re helping the staff on our team, but then how that transition to helping the businesses that we serve to helping these financial institution. So can you give some examples and suggestions of what that might look like, not only from an internal perspective, but also then, you know, serving the businesses that these institutions serve and consumers? Yeah, yeah.

Ben Pankonin 12:20
So one of the, you know, one of the things we really started doing is, you know, working with our team, right away to say, Hey, you know, the first thing we have to acknowledge is that this is the new normal. So we’ve had a bunch of conversations around the office to say, hey, um, like, the faster we get to this spot of feeling more comfortable where we are, the better we can trust each other, and trust what we have to do. We have a really, you know, I think it helps us to narrow our focus. So so one of the things we adopted a shared on some of the webinars is this, this tagline before Via be social at a distance, we’ve said, Hey, like, it’s not just that we need to be encouraging to each other, but we need to be encouraging to our families, we have a lot of other distractions. You know, we have employees that have, you know, other challenges at home, and some of them are sharing those things and saying, Hey, here’s what I have to do today, or here’s, here’s what I need to focus on. And, and, you know, being able to say, Hey, I understand that’s important for you right now. Take care of that. And then when you come back to work, you can be focused. And because this mission isn’t just a corporate thing, this is something that my wife and I are adopting that we’re saying, Hey, we can we need to show other people that we can be social at a distance, we have this gift together and that’s, that’s part of what we need to do so. So I think it’s something that you can embrace. Not just in the Conversations internally or as a sales mantra, it’s something that really should be part of who you are. So I think it allows us to really narrow that focus back down and say, what is it that we, as a financial institution need to do to help our community. And some of that is, you know, making those connections, instilling confidence in our community, so that they can recover, and they can focus on the things they need to. So no, I appreciate that, Becky, and we’ve tried to focus on some different questions for our staff. We’re going to be talking about that a bunch next week with our employee engagement webinar as well. So I’m excited about that one. So a couple other things, you know, that we’ve really had to come to grips with as well as is trust is built. When people feel safe. You know it you can’t, you can’t be more trusting. You can’t earn trust when people don’t feel safe with each other. So that’s one of the The things that we as a sales team have to have to really help, right? When we’re talking to people about lending, we know that, that they need to feel comfortable that when they’re sharing information with us about their business, or about their mortgages and finances, that that really this is a safe place to do that. That becomes more difficult when we have to do that remotely. So when we have to do that remotely, you know, a lot of those mannerisms and things that we did in person. My mortgage lender is fantastic. Adam is fantastic about doing that, right? When my wife and I sit down with them and say, Hey, we’re going to refinance or when we bought our home, you know, he was there to say, hey, yeah, actually, this is probably the right way for us to structure this, this is this is going to work best for you. And you just feel a sense of confidence there. We have to acknowledge that. This now puts more pressure on written communication at a time when you know, a lot of You know, have other stressors and so that makes it more difficult. So one of the ways that, that we see that working,

Bernie Brown, of course, is kind of the the queen of vulnerability and communicating about that. But, you know, really what she talks about is that vulnerability is the way for us to have courage in the face of others and say, you know, hey, this, this courage allows other people to trust us in a new way. It’s not a weakness. It’s saying, hey, this life, this existence, like these things are hard for all of us. And we want to help. So being a little bit vulnerable even during that lending process, takes on a new shape and new form. It helps it helps move people to the same side of the table. Whether it’s communication we’re writing for a social media posts, or whether you’re having a phone call with a borrower. This is is a really important time to be talking about that. Now one of the other things, we actually, if you haven’t, take, take a look at my interview with Jill chrystia. from last week, she talked about this a little bit, that some of the posts that she had made on Twitter, she said, I was really offering it as a sense of helping, but it was perceived as opportunistic. And so I’ll share a few of these that that we’ve kind of brainstormed or come up with. But one of the first things Becky, you referenced was putting your helping statement last is the worst thing you can do. When you say, Hey, here’s an offer, here’s a product, and then all of a sudden, at the very end, we tuck in that. Hey, but we’re here to help.

Becky Voss 17:48
Yeah, it’s been. It’s been working really well for me when I’m communicating with folks. You know, like I said earlier, a lot of people have shifted their attentions, and they’re there. focus primarily. And so I have been very fortunate as a salesperson to have just an abundance of helpful information to share with, you know, my customers, my prospects, those who I might be in a process of, you know, of helping, because our organization has put out so much quality material in the last several weeks that it’s very, very easy for me to lead with. Hey, have you checked out this webinar? Have you checked out last week’s webinar? Here’s the link to the recordings. And then to number one, acknowledge, you know, to say, Hey, I understand you’ve shifted focus. Things are crazy right now and you’re trying to move your office home. Oh, by the way, I do have time to meet with you. I am available. I have time in my schedule. Let me know if you’d like to connect. Otherwise, I plan to reach out with you in a couple of weeks when things have settled down. And you know that we’re approaching that time when things have settled a little bit, not necessarily because the crisis or the situation is over. But because people are Falling into their stride. They’re getting used to the new environment. Not everybody, not everybody has made those transitions, but some people are ready to return to business at hand that they feel like, you know, many things are settled and that they’ve they’ve kind of hit that stride.

Ben Pankonin 19:15
Yeah, so so one of the things, you know, we talked about are things like, hey, right now, mortgage rates are at an all time low or approaching all time lows, right? We’ve had some spike of activity that for, for many mortgage lenders, they’ve seen, you know, some fluctuation in rates, just due to volume for one. But you know, when we when we start out with that statement to say it’s a great time to refi that might not be the best opening line, right, like, it is a great time to refinance. But starting with that helping message to say, hey, if you need help navigating the space Or are reducing some of your short term costs and need to speak with, you know, with a lender, that’s a great time to sort of inject that. But starting out with it’s a great time to refinance oftentimes comes across as a bit more opportunistic. The other one we see is, hey, we’re an SBA preferred lender. So it sort of starts with this statement. Right. And that’s, that’s a great statement to make. But it’s it’s the statement that follows right. The first part is, there are so many programs, right, that helps you to understand, if you’re a restaurant right now, you’ve just shifted your menu, you know, 90% of your menu has changed. And you’re you’ve now maybe had to layoff some staff and you’re navigating a really difficult space. You don’t have time to read all of the SBA lending programs. actually had a friend of mine who I reached out to he works with literally hundreds of Small businesses as a distributor of product, and he said, You know, so many of my customers, essentially, he said, I’m the CFO for a few hundred million dollar business. And so when he has to shift those out, what he did is he actually put together a whole document sheet to help them navigate these individual programs. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that later. But that helping mentality is a great way for us to just kind of connect and say, hey, look, we can help you navigate all of these programs. And as an SBA preferred lender that has these specific other benefits, so So really, you’re sort of touting your own resume comes last. And then yeah, this last one, we talked about vulnerability, but that financial strength, sometimes we have this tendency to say, ooh, you can trust us because we’re the strongest we’re we’re well capitalized and all of these. I think, what what sort of helps build trust more is to say, we’ve been through some of the things A lot of things in the last 20 years, the last 50 years, the last hundred and 50 years, we’ve been through a lot of these things. And we’ve we’ve been able to weather them because of these these reasons, right? There’s, there’s a way to position that that helps you really to strengthen that message by being more vulnerable.

Becky Voss 22:20
And I’m still getting emails from businesses and even from financial institutions, with the headline of in light of the current state situation or you know, community communicating COVID-19 and we’re how long into this situation. So when do we stop using that phrase, or those types of phrases at the beginning of our email and our communication?

Ben Pankonin 22:42
Yeah, you know, I’ve we’ve sort of curated a bunch of emails around the office and you know, I think there’s probably some things maybe even as a follow up to this we can we can give you as kind of, here’s, here’s some opening lines you can use that we think are maybe better, but what I’ve seen some have them do is they’ve sort of transitioned from, hey, in light of this to saying, we’re here to help, and then kind of going into, obviously COVID affected all of us, right? One of the things I’ve seen start to vanish out of a lot of those emails, that was early, one of those big ones that I saw was, we’ve been watching the CDC and these things very carefully. And I think that’s one of the ones that we have to be really careful of, because we’re not experts in health. Right, where we’re not offering better health to people. physical health, right? What we are watching is how we can be, you know, best able to safely deliver the services we have to you. So, so sort of saying, we’re watching all of these things. We’re all watching the CDC. We’re all watching for that guidance. So I think I think I’m seeing that when dropped to lower in the email to say, Hey, we’re, you know, we’re washing we’re being careful because we care about our employees and we care about our customers, here’s what we’re doing to do that. I think it’s still important to be making some of those messages of here’s why we’re, here’s why we’re sanitizing things. Here’s why we’re, we’re trying to protect you, if you need to get into your safety deposit box, or you need to get to some of these things. Here’s how we can provide for that. I think that’s important. But it’s also important, I think, to restrict to restrict that opportunity and say, hey, what we’re first doing is helping provide you with a safe way to engage with us and the safest way is probably mobile, and remote. So, a few other things that you know, we so when we we first start with with helping right in our hope methodology, the next one is really operating efficiently. We need to be operating efficiently from a lending capacity, not just from a bank lobby capacity, but we also have to really restrict how we’re operating efficiently from a lending capacity. I thought one of the more interesting stories for how businesses are adapting. Now McDonald’s went out and got a billion dollar line of credit. Not only are they serving a billion people, but they needed $2 billion, because they said this is going to be a big storm. And so a couple months ago, they went out and reserved a billion dollars just to help support their business. But one of the things that they did last week is they eliminated their all day breakfast. Now, you know, when we look at McDonald’s, and the reason why this was so interesting to me, is they are the icon of operating efficiently. Like they’re the most efficient restaurant in the world, I would argue. That’s really what has been their claim to fame since the beginning. Is there the most operationally efficient restaurant chain in the world. And so what they figured out was, hey, there’s actually an opportunity for us to eliminate something off the menu that is lower priced. And it isn’t as effective for us. Let’s pull that out now. And so they pulled out there all day breakfast, because those are lower ticket items. There’s no reason to be risking that for you know, $4 entree. Let’s let’s pull that out. So they they pulled that out. But I think it’s an opportunity for us to right How can you How can you eliminate What is that thing that you need to eliminate? You know, what is your all day breakfast? There’s there’s certain options there that we don’t need to be advertising. You know, we have a lot of products as financial institutions. There’s some of our items that aren’t great margins for us. And really, they’re just not that they’re not as relevant today. As they were A few weeks ago, this is our chance to restrict that. Now McDonald’s didn’t go big on this. They didn’t go make huge announcements and say all day breakfasts are canceled. They didn’t have to, what they did is just said, Hey, here’s a policy, let’s send this out to all the stores. It’s not a great item for us to be focused on right now. We need to focus on, you know, really what it is that drives our revenue and keeps our stores operational. So that’s really what they focused on. So I think it’s an opportunity for us to restrict our offerings and say, You know what, we need to understand these programs from SBA from mortgage from refi. But let’s really focus on the things that help now and not get distracted on these other ones just helps us to be more operationally efficient.

Also, what we’re seeing is it’s it’s challenging us to expand to different mediums, if you know if you haven’t implemented DocuSign within your bank, or similar type technologies, Panda docs, there’s there’s a number of technologies that can help you with digital signatures. This is a great time to be pushing into that. It’s a great time for us to be looking at things like remote deposit capture. You know, this is a great time. You know, my parents for the first time, this past week ordered groceries online. And, you know, what we’re seeing is that, you know, my parents are of a generation where they prefer to go to the bank, they always have liked going to the bank. And they’ve sort of decided, hey, you know, it’s best for our safety to stay at home. This is a time to educate your customers on a lot of those options. But from a lending capacity, a lot of that means we have to push them to be embracing other technologies in order to engage with small business lending capacities. It’s also one of those, you know, for for our office, you know, or bookkeeper, you know, her her husband actually works at at our bank. And so, so she’s always just taking the checks in or, or sent them in with Todd. And so realistically, what we’ve said is, Hey, you know, right now let’s let’s do remote deposit capture, you know, we had remote deposit capture, really hadn’t used it as often as we should have, but we had to raise our limit. So that’s a great reminder to a lot of small businesses. If you’re not using rate and remote deposit capture, you might need to raise your limits on your daily limits for remote deposit capture, just reminding them of the tools that are available to them, or even tools like you know, concur is one of those that can, you know, help you transact and pay bills and even provide, you know, a second step in that approval process. We use one called bill comm allows us to, to transact and connect directly with our bank. So you’re reminding them of hate. Here are some of the tools you can employ. You know, some banks, I’ve seen many messaging about receiving checks for banks and being able to essentially reroute your checks over to your bank and have them you know, open those and even deposit those into into accounts. That can be an option. reminding them that you have a CH abilities, you know, electronic deposits, things like that, that that would help. Those are all sort of good options to just be reminding a lot of your small businesses as well as consumers of that capacity for for moving more electronic.

Becky Voss 30:36
Then what are some ways to add empathy to some of those communications? Because I think one thing that we as you know, financial institutions want to make sure we’re not doing is alienating anybody and saying, Hey, you know, we’d rather you do a mobile deposit than you would come to the drive thru. We don’t want anyone to feel like we don’t want them to, to come in and engage with us and that’s one of the things that we have financial institutions have been working on for years now is keeping traffic at the branches. So how can we, you know, give people these electronic products and these different methodologies without alienating them and keeping the empathy there?

Ben Pankonin 31:14
Well, that’s a great question. And one of them that’s gonna come up here really soon looks like may ish time period is, you know, everybody’s going to get a check, right, that qualifies are going to get, you know, 1200 dollars, you know, per individual or 20 $400 for, you know, for a couple. So, you know, we’re going to have a whole bunch of stimulus checks that are floating out there and, you know, that’s also coming into the unbanked section. So, you know, my hope is that some of those unbanked will, will become banked during this process. But, you know, I think it’s also that opportunity for us to message about it and say, you can deposit that check remotely. You’re going to get it in a short amount of time, you know, Getting people to feel some confidence, that might be the first check that they’re getting in a while, you know that there’s some, there’s some opportunities for us to really connect in with that. But you know, it’s also social media can be a challenge at times with those sort of public messages to say, hey, if you need to deposit checks, well, we know that there’s some people that aren’t depositing very many checks right now. And that’s, that’s also an area for people to, to feel like they need some support and encouragement. You know, we want you to have access to money as quickly as possible, you know, letting people know that they can call for different aspects and that you’ll get somebody available to them right away. I think all of those are really healthy and good things. So, yeah, I think a lot of that’s just a reminder for people. There’s some there’s some education process in that, but it’s also, like you said with empathy. That’s just Something we have to lead from that posture, every message we’re making, even if it’s about remote deposit capture, that can be something that also needs empathy at this time. So what are the others? You know, as we talked about helping, we talked about operations, we talked about personalizing the connections that we’re making. And I think this is just so much more important than it than it ever has been. And I’ve seen it in so many different ways. Becky, have you watched Jimmy Fallon in the last week? what he’s been doing?

Becky Voss 33:33
i? I haven’t watched Jimmy Fallon. I saw some stuff from john prison, Kaczynski or however you say, Yeah, but I think a lot of people are taking a similar position in this area.

Ben Pankonin 33:44
Yeah, I think what’s sort of happened is that, well, just like both of us are welcoming in everybody to our homes. You know, hundreds and hundreds of people have been in my home in the last couple of weeks. And so, you know, that’s been an New respect for how we’ve been doing that. But, you know, we’re also just seeing, you know, Jimmy Fallon has been having his kids help him with his monologue. And, you know, he’s having them write the intros literally, like with crayon, which, which is pretty cool to see. But I think, you know, we always had this expectation that professionalism meant that we were separating these two, our home life and our professional life. And right now, professionalism, isn’t that right now professionalism is sharing with people. You know, where we are, what we’re doing, and realizing that if we can share a little bit about what this life looks like to people, it uncovers some new things. So we’ve actually been working with some of our customers to even just say, Hey, can we, you know, send out our mobile app, you know, get get some photos from people’s homes to share. Here’s what a banker is doing at home to support their customers. You know, here’s what they’re managing, and that really cert provides some of that vulnerability, and says, Hey, when we grab some of those photos, because, you know, we’re seeing a lot of these zoom calls where we’re seeing teachers who are sharing, like, here’s, here’s, you know, 20 kids on a zoom call, and here’s what we’re trying to navigate, but also seeing, I think, at home from a banker. Now, there’s some sensitivity to that, right? Like, we know that some people don’t have, you know, big columns, dedicated home offices, things like that. So we want to show some of that, you know, the quietness of it, right, we want to show hey, here’s somebody on a couch. So you want to be careful to not show off what what home looks like, but instead show the challenge of it. Right. Like when I see Jimmy Fallon’s home, I know that it’s going to be huge, and it’s, there’s a lot going on there. But you know, when we’re seeing just the corner of your home, that you’re having to manage this with kids at home or you having to manage, you know, some some laundry, you know, that I think there’s some things that we can share there. That should The personality, really from your bank.

Becky Voss 36:05
And then that leads directly into one of the questions that we got leading into this webinar. And that’s around our lender profiles. Number one, how personal is it? Okay for those lenders to be and does the compliance component change with this? I mean, obviously, there are going to be some things that were willing to, to post and publish now that maybe we wouldn’t have three months ago. What does that look like from a lender profile perspective?

Ben Pankonin 36:30
Yeah, you know, I think it’s critical that we’re sharing from individual lenders when we can, it helps really to message for them, it helps them to operate more efficiently as well. You know, we’re seeing some individual lenders who are posting out onto social media, here’s the best way to get a hold of me. If they can do it over text messages. They’re going to put that first and foremost, hey, this is better. If you need to call me do that here. But if you can text me, I’ll get back to you. Because especially if they’re dealing with, you know, if it’s a mortgage, and you’re trying to juggle at home life and all of that, and, you know, knowing that a lot of your customers are also at home, and it’s not a great time sometimes to do a phone call, there’s some there’s some cool ways that we’ve seen people do that. And just message Hey, I can handle a lot of this by text message. You know, here’s a an email address, like, just drop me a note, if this is something you need to take care of, or even just messaging and saying, hey, if you need a resource, right, so they’re messaging out to their Facebook page and saying, Hey, here’s where I can get your resources. If you shoot me an email, I can kick you back a list of resources for a small business or for our loan deferral programs or things like that. Those are great ways to just be more efficient, quite honestly.

Becky Voss 37:53
So yeah, like we mentioned yesterday, sometimes things like email signatures need to change and you know indicating what your personal third method of contact is like you just said, maybe that phone call isn’t going to be as timely as an email or text.

Ben Pankonin 38:08
Absolutely. You know, I chatted with Jill over Twitter a couple weeks ago, and she said, hey, what what else could I be doing? And I said, Joe, people want to see you.

And she’s like, yep.

So, so that day, she filmed this video, and, you know, had some good chats about it. But she said, you know, hey, by getting a face out there in front of people, I think it’s really critical that we’re sharing just our faces. How can we assure our communities so some of the time that could be your bank president, sometimes it’s individual lenders. And I’ve got a couple of cool ideas a little bit later that we’ve seen for examples of how to do that. But just just getting a face out there and encouraging people. You mentioned some of the things we’re asking internally. These are things that we’re asking Asking internally with staff, we’re saying, hey, what encouragement Have you had personally in the last week or the last two weeks? And then, you know, acknowledging what have you or the bank had to overcome historically, these make for some great content, right? So if you’re asking that of your team, that could be something you’re sourcing for social media content, right? So if you’re saying, Hey, does anybody have a story, when we’re getting together as a team meeting? Does anybody have a story of something that’s been encouraging to you in the last week? That’s a great opportunity for some something that we could share on social media, you’re uncovering those stories, but you’re also encouraging your team to be resilient and to look towards some of the positive at this time. So I think that’s a really important component. But then, you know, you can also source that and say, hey, what encouraged you? The question we’re asking of our staff is what’s encouraged you in the last few days or the last week, and then how can we encourage you and encourage the communities we serve like, just Those, those two simple questions really uncover a lot of what we need to be solving together. And then, and then you can obviously, you know, go deeper into some of those and have some of those more personal conversations after that. But also you referenced making those things personal with individual profiles, you know, whenever you can drop that email and make it more, more focused on the person, right, write it from yourself, write it from your bank president, right from a lender. And you mentioned the lender profiles. We’re seeing that both on email and social media, if you’re managing those and developing that personal connection, you know, I know Brett over a bank South doing a great job with some of their content. But you know, really understanding that individual lenders profiles and the way we engage and connect with them can really help during this time to to not only, you know, take some of the burden off of lenders by Just simplifying some of that communication and getting it out so that so that people aren’t bombarding them as much with phone calls. But can maybe text message can send some emails, and really get people to some of the resources they need.

Becky Voss 41:16
So we talked about and we had been sorry, one of the questions we had specifically around mortgage is what are some what are some strategies and advantage, advantageous ways to kind of talk about, you know, newer, lower rates, those types of things, or maybe even talk about some of your programs, when maybe your rates aren’t the most competitive? What are some things to highlight? And in that type of situation?

Ben Pankonin 41:42
Yeah, I mean, I, you know, look, we’re, you know, as, as community driven financial institutions, a lot of times we aren’t competing on rates, but at this time, really what we’re doing is we’re competing on, Hey, how are we helping in a better way, and I think highlighting that that Hey, we have some stories of how we’re thinking creatively. Now, a lot of these creative things as we start talking about some of the education process, you know, some of its just uncovering what’s the right program? How can I simplify this? Again, if you’ve got a restaurant owner who’s trying to figure out how do I keep the lights on, keep my restaurant busy. As they’re making that transition, there’s just there. They don’t have the time to go research all of the programs and understand those. So I think you’re sort of lead in here for educating freely is one of those big areas. So some of the time we have to teach people in mass how to do this, right? We can’t necessarily personalize every message and say you as a restaurant need to do this. Sometimes we need to generalize these. This is actually shared by a friend of mine. But he this guy is a CPA, and he literally did a YouTube clip. I can send out the link But it was a fantastic clip, not overly produced. He’s just standing by himself with a whiteboard. And he just writes up, basically, how you would go about applying for some of the PPP loans. So and he’s got a little bit of info on how you come up with the math, what do you need to be calculating, and he just stands in for the whiteboard and says, Look, it’s not that hard, you’re going to need to, you know, pull your 940 ones, and you’re going to need to, you know, tack on your, you know, 7.65% for, you know, for payroll taxes, plus maybe a little bit 3% or so, if you’re paying for, for additional health insurance, but he just kind of breaks it down on a whiteboard and shares it with people. I think it’s a great resource. It’s a great format for doing that. Because he comes across as authentic, knowledgeable, and really just sharing that type of resource. I think that’s a Great methodology for all of us, as we’re looking for how do we educate people grabbing something like a quick YouTube clip and just saying, hey, do we have a banker who could share this from home? Just shoot a video from an iPhone, have a family member, shoot it, whatever you got to do. That’s a that’s a cool way to do that. You know, so really understanding some of these SBA programs, you know, having a resource for what’s a PPP loan, how does that work? Also, do I qualify? Right? So, you know, I’m fortunate enough to have a CPA who’s really on top of it, and I think just wanted somebody positive to talk to the other day. So he called me and said, Hey, how are you doing? I’m like, Well, I’m actually really busy, but like, what, you know, what do you what do you want to chat about? And he’s like, Well, you know, even though you’re not distressed, there’s still a bunch of these programs that could really help you. And I’m going, you know, I haven’t had a time to wake up and even though I’m reading some of these We’re doing some bank messaging. I’m not even sort of like awake to some of that yet at this program but you know, there’s there’s a lot of things that can really help you. So I think really educating your small business customers to help them to understand what’s available. Understanding how the economic injury disaster loans could work, and also specific to your state is really important because that’s going to be a state by state situation. Now, pretty much everybody’s going to qualify here pretty soon as far as their location but but not all of them are in the in the system yet. So that’s an important area, understanding seven a loans, just some Twitter chats with seven a loans kind of going back and forth on how you might communicate about that. So that’s a great way to just educate your customers because they don’t know what a, you know, debt relief loan would look like. And addition It’s not all those right, don’t stop with just loans. Understanding, you know, what paid medical leave is right now. So for your small business customers, they need to understand how that might affect them. You know, what happens if they were to to layoff employees or things like that those are really important things for them to know about. What are the state regulations? In those cases? Are there even tax credits for retaining employees? Right, that’s a, that was a conversation that that I had with my CPA the other day, hey, you know, if we’re retaining all of our employees, like, it looks like the government would really like that. So there’s some other options for me in that in that capacity, including things like payroll tax deferment. So for us as a small business, that’s a really important thing for us being able to, to defer payroll for a year. Sure, that’s that’s a really handy thing. Wouldn’t we want to preserve that amount of cash So being able to essentially say, Hey, you know, if, if you’re deferring payroll, that could be a really nice thing for small business to save some money at this time. And, and maybe that goes into, you know, hiring new people, or maybe that goes into other protections. But you know, really educating that, hey, this is a bigger financial picture. So the other thing that I think goes into that is that, you know, your staff isn’t going to be able to uncover all of these, you know, any one specific lender isn’t going to be able to come uncover all of this. So being able to capture a bunch of that, and bring that back to them and say, Hey, we’re going to help you actually put together a frequently asked questions list, we’re going to help you navigate this so that you know all of the programs available to you. I think it’s really important that you help share some of that with them. So I saw teeth bank Yeah, go ahead.

Becky Voss 48:00
Yeah, so I was just gonna, you know, circle back to the education perspective, it’s not just about educating people about the programs is very, very, very important. But now more than ever, it’s also important to educate your customers on their expectation to help them understand what to expect in this process. A lot of our lenders are just overwhelmed by the number of phone calls, that they’re getting the number of people who are wanting to refinance or who need that SBA loan, educate them on Hey, you know, your SBA loan, our meeting for approval on that is on this date, I will be reaching out after that. So you’re not getting three or four phone calls in between. and, you know, that is something we should be doing anyway. But it’s extra important right now, when everyone is stressed and everyone has extra things that they’re worried about and extra work that they’re doing, just to really set a good expectation for those customers that you’re working with.

Ben Pankonin 48:56
Yeah, yeah. No, I think I think you make a Really good point of just kind of setting those expectations whenever possible, obviously, with the changing SBA regulations, we just don’t know where those are going to go quite yet. We don’t have all the specifics on them. You know, Sarah actually just messaged into me on the GoToWebinar control panel and said, at what point is, is it too much content? Totally agree. I think that’s a very valid question. I’ll answer that kind of in a couple ways. One of them is I thought Ts bank did a great job. They just messaged us out the other day, Melissa is doing a good job of that. But they’re, they sort of messaged out and said, here’s a page on our blog that is tailored to a bunch of the Iowa relief funds, a bunch of things that are going on in Iowa, and so she just organized that content. And so I think this is a nice way to give you a quick snapshot. Because if I’m scrolling down it and I say hey, if I’m a small business that you know if I’m a restaurant and had to really restricted budget and really changed my business in a hurry, or I’m a gym, and I’ve had to figure out how to rent out equipment or something like, I know that, that I might qualify for some of the more extreme measures. So you’re going to skim through that. And then you could start clicking on those links. But by doing that you could be a good resource with this is also helping you to do is by assembling that content together, is she’s helping her lenders to do that so that her lenders then don’t have to answer all of these questions, they can send out one universal link for a source of truth. So I think this enablement of creating a bunch of that content and it’s going to change almost on a daily basis. So the other thing that that I’ve advised a lot of times is is just to say, hey, ask your lenders, what what are the questions you’re getting today? If you can get just a couple minutes from them and say, I want to help you answer these questions. In a more on understandable format. So you have the right resources. What are the questions that you’re not able to answer? I’ll help you go research that, or I’ll find some other people to help research it. sourcing that information and developing that frequently asked questions gets to be really important. So small business lending, I think that’s, that’s a really important capacity. The same is true on the mortgage side, when we’re looking at, hey, here’s the 10 things you need to know about refinancing right now. Hey, we, you know, we’re not taking in person meetings.

You know, other than some exceptions,

or, here’s, here’s the way to get to the right person. Or, if you’ll fill out this form first, you know, just giving them a list of resources and step by step guide, to make it as efficient as possible really takes some of that burden off of those individual lenders.

So yeah, I

Becky Voss 51:53
think one of the

one of the things that’s been the most helpful for me as a salesperson is the fact That not only our marketing team, but you know, just in general, there’s been so much content produced for me to share with folks. So for, you know, business lender or a mortgage lender, having those resources at their fingertips, that’s going to be one of the most valuable things that as marketers, as leaders in the financial institutions that you can do to help support those lenders. Currently.

Ben Pankonin 52:25
Yeah. So, you know, I think if you’re looking at these individual mortgage programs, just just helping people even to understand how does a loan deferral program work? If I can, you know, if I can wait 60 days, is that enough help for me at this time? Is that the easiest? Or do I need to, you know, enter into a HELOC? Or do I need to go through a regular traditional finance, you know, just pasting the rates. I kind of just pasted some of the latest rates from a day or two ago and thought, you know, hey, This is a tough thing to navigate for a lot of consumers. So being able to say, hey, actually, let’s break that down for you and say, which one of these is best for you during this time? Right? Like, here’s, here’s some of the options. Also,

you know, we’re we’re keeping,

you know, up to speed on some of the latest. So while I would say, you don’t necessarily need to tell everybody, you’re paying attention to the CDC every day, you need to let everybody know that you’re paying attention to what’s going on at the SBA, you know, understanding that there’s new programs, that the stimulus package is huge, and none of us really know what’s in it yet, including the people who voted for it. But, you know, there’s an opportunity for us to really help a lot of people navigate that, you know, on the personal side and the small business side, so I don’t think you’re going to overwhelm people too much. With that content. They’ll they’ll jump into it when they will When they see a headline or a, you know something that makes sense to them. So make it you do want to make it simple. So we do have to simplify some of these even just the traditional rates that we’re always looking at, saying, Hey, we’re going to, we’re going to help you navigate to the best rate. I don’t think a lot of people are shopping quite as much for rates as they are for programs that would really help them. You know, some of us who have jobs and things like that are, are maybe looking at kind of the longer term rate picture, but a lot of

people are looking for for, hey, I,

you know, if I lost my job this week, I’m looking for

how do I help defer a loan or how do

I how do I get help right now today and what’s the best place for me to go get that?

Becky Voss 54:53
A lot of people it’s simply an issue of cash flow.

Ben Pankonin 54:56

right. And that could be the case for some period of time, you know, I’ve also seen some great posts when we look at this whole picture of hope of saying, hey, it’s not just about the latest program, it’s also about saying, hey, if you’ve lost your job, here’s some small businesses who are hiring right now, in our community. Here’s some things that are happening, that you could jump into and help. Or were, hey, maybe even at the bank, we have some things that need to be done. That that quite honestly Our staff is constrained to be able to help with, or here’s what the bank is doing to cater in some meals or to to work with some of the small businesses in our community. We’ve seen some great content for people just celebrating the small businesses and their efforts to change and adapt at this time. Obviously, restaurants are one of those areas. We’re seeing, you know, some of those that are hardest hit are the ones that have to close. You know, I’m certainly needing a haircut here. Pretty soon, but you know, being able to just share like a reminder that hey, you know, when we ven mode, the person who, who cuts her hair, you know, we then then mode Carly, and she just goes, this is groceries this month, like, like the, you know, being able to share some of those stories with people of how important that is, and timely to just do the right thing, I think is a really important piece. So as Becky kind of mentioned, we do have a bunch of new resources as well coming out. One of those I just chatted with Natalie Bartholomew, who many of you know as the girl banker on social media, she’s been to a lot of different conferences, sharing about a lot of the different things that she promotes and helps support. Thursday afternoon. We’re just going to be doing a an Instagram Live interview. So Thursday at I believe, three o’clock, Central Time, and then next Tuesday. Today, employee engagement is really taking on a whole new form. And so friend of mine, Greg Harris, who’s the CEO of quantum workplace, which they’re the sponsor and owner of the best places to work. So if you’ve seen that award series, Greg Harris will be will be joining me. So I’ll be getting to interview him. He’s been a great resource for information for me personally. But he really is one of the leaders nationally, in really employee engagement. So, so we’re going to be talking about some elements to you know, engaging people, all of your staff, whether they’re remote or hybrid, or whatever that capacity looks like, but they’re also dealing with a lot of the stress of this new environment. So I’m really excited to have Greg on as well.

Becky Voss 57:50
Then one other thing to mention here is just a reminder for folks if you’re listening and you haven’t already taken our survey, you’re good at social insurance, comm slash Social at a distance. We’re just gathering some information about how your institution is managing social communication, Social Media Communications around the COVID-19 outbreak. So if you have just a few minutes if you would please go to that website and just complete the quick survey, social assurance, comm slash social at a distance.

Ben Pankonin 58:21
Well, thank you. Reminder, thanks for keeping keeping me on track. You know, and from all of us as social insurance, it’s time to be social at a distance. So thanks for being with us today.