They Forgot the Wife
At my 27th consecutive address of the American Agricultural Bankers Conference, I pulled extra duty by facilitating a farmer panel concerning their wants and needs in an agri-lender. The following are some of the highlights.
First, relationship was still more important than price with the three panelist families. However, rate had to be within a one-percent range of the competitor or they might consider switching.
Second, they wanted an agri-lender who was very knowledgeable not only of agriculture, but of their particular farm and personal wants and needs as well. This was one of the fears of bigger bank entities that have a sales force that initiates the loan, then hands you off to a back office person for analysis or when a problem occurs.
A flurry of responses came when asked about the spouse’s role in the lending decision process. One of the ladies pulled the microphone from her husband’s hands and proceeded to vent.
She indicated in a farm visit the prospective lender ignored her in the conversation even though she keeps the books. He proceeded that he would like to meet the father and son at his office concerning the new expansion without asking the wife to be involved. At this point, one of the other wives on the panel chimed in and indicated that his had happened to her as well.
Agri-lenders and agribusiness people who are reading this column need to remember: Don’t forget the wife; she can be a major influencer as well as decision maker!
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Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.
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