Commercial lenders facing shortage of experienced workers

Banks and other financial institutions in the U.S. are currently struggling to fill thousands of vital positions in commercial lending, according to the Boston Globe. Correspondent Jay Fitzgerald writes that lenders are increasingly utilizing career fairs and other opportunities to attract college students into the field, which "often gets overshadowed by more glamorous-sounding jobs in investment banking, private equity, and other Wall Street-type firms."

The Massachusetts Bankers Association has reportedly set up a summer internship program to promote the profession and is actively working to match students to local institutions. The Globe also looked at a recruiting program run by Citizens Financial Group's commercial banking unit, which places recent college grads on the path to becoming a commercial loan officer by providing training on credit analysis and other jobs in the sector.

According to the source, the current talent crunch is partially a result of the banking industry's recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. Another contributing factor is that banks have cut back on training for commercial lending since the 1990s, due to a surplus of labor driven by bankruptcies and mergers. At the same time that demand for commercial loans is recovering, baby boomer retirements are sapping banks' institutional knowledge of how to assess credit risks, set up appropriate amortization schedules for loans and develop new business relationships.

As this blog has discussed before, non-bank firms are also playing a growing role in the lending sector. With so many new players at both the institutional and individual levels, lenders will need to take steps to ensure that they are managing risk appropriately in all transactions. Using professional-grade commercial loan software to manage interest and principal payments can help.