Commercial Real Estate Q&A with Bill Rothman and Mike Wickham

Written by: Fargo Inc

By Starion Bank and Bill Rothman

In the dynamic realm of commercial real estate, success is forged through robust relationships across many industries. Within this intricate web of agents, developers, and entrepreneurs lies a pivotal, yet often overlooked alliance: that with business bankers.

A relationship with your business banker isn’t merely about transactions; it’s about advocacy for your prosperity. By championing your triumphs, they catalyze a flourishing real estate landscape, ultimately enriching the entire community.

What do builders and developers expect out of their relationships with their business bankers?

We tapped into the insights of Bill Rothman, the Chief Financial Officer at Kilbourne Group and President of the Building Industry Association of the Red River Valley. 

With his wealth of experience spanning both sides of the builder/banker dynamic, Rothman offers invaluable perspectives on the expectations and aspirations shaping this relationship.

Q: What are builders and developers looking for when they choose a bank?
Financing Options: Builders and developers often seek a financial ally offering a diverse array of solutions, from construction loans to bridge loans, and permanent financing. These loans should come with terms finely tuned to their projects’ needs, encompassing interest rates, loan-to-value ratios, and flexibility in payment structures.

Real Estate Expertise: A bank deeply entrenched in the intricacies of the real estate landscape is indispensable. Their expertise not only gauges project viability but also serves a crucial role in mitigating risks, instilling confidence in builders and developers about the bank’s understanding of the industry. 

Streamlined Processes: Efficiency is paramount. A banking partner capable of processing loans and appraisals while maintaining meticulous documentation and timeliness ensures projects stay on course, maximizing profitability.

Tailored Support: Recognizing the uniqueness of each venture, builders and developers seek banking services tailored to their project’s specific needs, including phased fund disbursement. 

Relationship Focus: A personal touch matters. Builders and developers cherish a dedicated liaison who comprehends their organization’s intricacies, ensuring seamless collaboration and swift issue resolution.

Technological Edge: Modern banking conveniences, such as digital finance management, monitoring and financial management tools, and streamlined application processes, elevate operational efficiency, empowering builders and developers to focus on their core competencies.

Q: How can bankers sustain these vital relationships? 
Communication: Regular updates and transparent dialogue. Communication fosters alignment on project progress and financial requisites, fortifying trust and understanding.

Transparency: Openness regarding a project’s financial health and discussions around market dynamics paves the way for informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Responsiveness: Swift responses to inquiries and funding requests demonstrate commitment and agility, which are crucial for maintaining project momentum without unnecessary delays. 

Flexibility: Adaptability in navigating unforeseen hurdles showcases empathy and dedication, nurturing a culture of collaboration and problem-solving that can be a significant asset.

Partnership Prowess: Embracing a long-term outlook cultivates a partnership between industries.  Crafting financial solutions attuned to project intricacies ensures tangible value addition, fostering a sense of partnership and shared success.

Proactive Engagement: Initiating conversations, offering innovative solutions, and pre-empting client needs underscore a commitment to service excellence.

Reliability Resonance: Consistency in delivering on promises whether it is the timing of loan disbursements or the terms of financial agreements, fosters reliability and confidence, fortifying the foundation of trust upon which relationships thrive.

Q: How can bankers enhance their collaboration with builders and developers? 
Sustained communication and responsiveness are keystones for fostering robust collaborations and lasting relationships between bankers and builders/developers. By consistently prioritizing these aspects, bankers can catalyze stronger partnerships that drive mutual success.

How Starion Bank can help:
Starion Bank’s business bankers deeply understand the local economy and the needs of builders and developers. Whether you are just starting out or searching for new perspectives, Starion Bank is here to help you maximize the potential of your business. 

Schedule an appointment with a Starion banker today.

Mike Wickham, Market President
Starion Bank
Fargo – Urban Plains
2754 Brandt Drive South, Fargo
headshot of mike wickham, the market president at starion bank
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Brady Drake is the editor of Fargo INC!