When Landon Poss first spoke with Adam, it was in the middle of a crisis. Landon is a Business Banker at Choice Bank in Fargo, and Adam was in the process of taking out an SBA loan at another bank — a type of business loan with small businesses in mind that are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. The process was taking months longer than planned. He was frustrated and searching for help.
Landon recognized right away that this was an opportunity to show Adam how Choice can turn a crisis into a positive experience.
“Adam,” he said. “We can help.”
Adam’s troubles began a year prior, when he started the process of acquiring another business. He’s an entrepreneur in the Fargo, ND area and the owner of Pure Water Technology of the North, a company that sells machines for purified water. Last year, he began conversations to acquire another business, also in a niche field; Dakota Mailing and Shipping Equipment, a provider for mailing products such as shipping and postage equipment.
With everything in order, Adam knew the best option to get the financing needed for this business opportunity was through a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. He approached his financial institution in September 2018 to get this process started, which usually takes about 6 weeks in total.
6 weeks came and went and there was little progress on the loan. Thanksgiving came and went, and then Christmas season hit.
Well, 6 weeks came and went and there was little progress on the loan. Thanksgiving came and went, and then Christmas season hit.
And then, the government shut down.
With this news, the approval process was at a standstill as the SBA, being an agency of the government, was shut down as well.
Of course, this turned out to be the longest government shutdown to date. When the new year began and there was still no progress, Adam took matters into his own hands. He met with Landon soon after his phone call and told him he wanted to take care of this loan conventionally.
“This means the bank finances the loan with no outside assistance from the government,” Landon explained. “It is usually a quicker process, but has higher interest rates and is generally a riskier route.”
Landon knew that an SBA loan was still the better option for Adam. However, he could tell Adam was fed up, and wanted nothing to do with an SBA loan. He knew they had to prove to Adam that he could have a positive SBA Loan experience with Choice Bank’s team of experts.
When he brought SBA up to Adam, his reaction was, understandably, skeptical.
“We spoke about where he was at in the process, and I mentioned our SBA department,” Landon said. “I could tell he wasn’t thrilled. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear.”
But Landon was confident.
“I’ve done a lot of loans. I’ve seen how well our SBA team works through the process,” he said. “They make it as smooth as possible, and the SBA loan is the better route for you as the borrower.”
Still wary, Adam agreed. No more than a few hours later, they arranged a conference call with Christine Young, SVP and SBA Program Manager at Choice Bank in Golden Valley, MN. Christine is a powerhouse. She’s worked through hundreds of SBA loans and approaches any challenge with the firm belief that it can be solved. You can hear the confidence in her voice; and Adam heard it, too.
“Right away, I believe he could feel the difference,” Landon said. “I think he left that meeting feeling encouraged.”
From then on, Choice Bank’s SBA loan team worked their magic like a well-oiled machine. Adam jumped right in. When they needed information from him, he sent it within the hour. When they needed paperwork, he delivered—a testament to how Adam operates as an entrepreneur and a business owner. With everyone collaborating, the process began to make visible steps forward.
And at every step of the way, Adam was kept up to speed with what was going on.
“Either I, or someone from Choice Bank, talked to Adam every day,” Landon said. “We know that the up-front communication is really important.”
In this way, through excellent communication and efficient teamwork, it took just 31 days to close on the loan, which happened to also be on the week of the seller’s birthday, making both the customer and the seller’s last ditch timeline. Because Choice Bank’s SBA team is a Preferred Lending Partner (PLP), they were able to get the SBA loan approved in-house, a great asset when having to meet tight timelines like Adam’s. By the time the loan was approved, the government had reopened, the loan was funded, and the business purchased.
By that time, the government had reopened, the loan was funded, and the business purchased. Thirty one days from their very first phone call, Adam was SBA loan approved.
Adam could not praise the Choice Bank SBA team enough.
“I am very impressed with their expertise and quick response time,” he wrote in an email. He told Landon and Christine that he’s telling all his friends in the business world about Choice.
Christine was proud of her team. They had worked hard, and it showed to the customer.
“We created a satisfied customer, but also an advocate for the bank,” she said. “That is so valuable for us.”
She commended Landon, especially, for his initial recognition that the SBA loan team would be the best route for Adam. It was his confidence that encouraged Adam to give the SBA process another try.
“Landon could’ve done it alone, but he recognized that Adam needed the team,” she said. “He needed to get the customer to believe that our bank could do it differently. And he got the right team to do so.”
Landon’s favorite core value is work hard, do the right thing, and have a little fun. For him, it’s a motivator both in and out of the office.
“That value embodies how I go through my day and my life,” he said. “Any time you interact with a customer or a future customer in any circumstance, it’s another opportunity to wow them at every step.”