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Since having a shortage in properly trained lenders is a real possibility that many community banks face in the future, they should consider ways of retaining and growing the lenders they already have (or will attract) into the pipeline.

Here are three rules that will help build and retain loan staff for the future:

Rule #1: Invest in personal growth and development, with a strong bias toward “more is better.”

Some time ago, the Harvard Business Review published a study with significant implications for the issue of employee retention.  The author noted that, increasingly, younger members of the workforce identified with their functional job descriptions rather than with the employer.

Rule #2: Create a career path for professional credit and lending development.

Career pathing is an activity that most large employers routinely do.  It’s a way of assuring “bench depth” of talent by thinking through a series of logical career experiences to expand the personal horizons of the professional staff.

Rule #3: Deliberately reinforce the bank’s credit culture through a series of basic experiences.

This may appear to be a variant on career pathing, yet there’s an important difference.  The lending process at every bank includes certain core elements.  The first is the functional competence embodied in the Cs of Credit.  All lenders should have the opportunity to experience the principal components of underwriting.

Success can be found in a systemic approach to attracting and retaining a full talent pool.

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