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Friday Q&A with AJ Ochoa: Two-Way Street

Each week, we’ll interview one of our experienced Finance Officers for a brief question and answer session about something interesting from the week, along with tips and tricks to make your finance process easier, and their unique perspective on the industries and customers we work with.

This week, we caught up with AJ Ochoa in our Portland office who talks about how commercial lending is a two-way street and how active applicants can help a deal get done faster.


Q: Thanks for doing this, AJ! I know that we have done one other Q&A on the phone, and I think last time we talked, you had a couple customers that you were working with that were close to funding. If you have anything that was an interesting or unique deal, or one that was a little more challenging, I’d definitely love to hear about it.

A: Yeah, let me pull one up here that I did not long ago. This one took me a little bit to work up and finalize everything, but that was a good one because that customer was pretty appreciative of us for funding the deal, and making it happen. He was actually wanting it to be expedited a little bit faster, just because he needed to get work in, and he was losing money. To start, he sent me the docs through regular mail, so that kind of delayed things. I explained to him that that was going to put a hold on the funding, and I did explain to him that we prefer overnight just so we can get it done faster. He acknowledge that this might have been a misstep, but at the end, he was very thankful that we were able to make it happen. He wanted us to fund the deal on a very near date, and I told him that I do my best to get it funded as fast as possible, but I can’t really give a timeline because with these transactions, anything can happen during the process, so that makes it difficult to have a clear timeline at the beginning, but luckily we were able to get it funded by when he wanted so that he was able to pick it up, and drive up to the seller and get his trailer. So, that was a pretty sweet deal where a customer was very thankful for our service, and we were able to wrap it up in a timely fashion.

Q: Were there any difficulties during the credit evaluation process that came up that might have caused any other delays in trying to get it done faster?

A: With the insurance, there seems to always be some kind of issue with it. I emphasized to him that he needed to send that insurance requirement form in to his agent. He didn’t do that, unfortunately, so that kind of delayed things. That was kind of the main thing, him not overnighting the documents, and not having that insurance that we needed, that’s kind of what delayed the whole funding. He understood, but unfortunately it kind of delayed the process. Regardless, at the end of the day, he was thankful that we were able to get it wrapped up.

Q: I think that it’s definitely good to be honest in these situations that, you know, a lot of other companies will talk about what they can do for you, but a lot of times, the funding process is a two-way street. That kind of mindset isn’t really that established for some deals. Do you find that’s the case that sometimes customers are moving ahead before they have all of their ducks in a row?

A: Yeah, a lot of the time, that’s what happens. They sign all the documents, but they don’t realize, or maybe they don’t acknowledge, “hey maybe we would need to get this other document first before we’re able to fund the deal.” A lot of times, they don’t have all of their ducks in a row, and that tends to delay the process, but I would say more often than not, they understand. They understand that it is a process, we do have to get certain paperwork in in order for us to actually wrap it all up, and then get their equipment. But yeah, it does happen a lot.

Q: Yeah, and to counteract that, a lot of times, it seems that it’s just honest conversations that help clear those things up. I know that we’re going to have a testimonial for you this week that ties into this point where the customers are always appreciative of having those conversations, as long as they’re as truthful as possible. Playing back into commercial lending deals being a two-way street, would you say that If the customers are unsure of what they may need that they shouldn’t hesitate to ask?

A: Yes, and as you know, every transaction is a little different, so you could kind of go back and figure out what they potentially will need to get it done, but again, a lot of the times, there’s also the deals where some little detail is missing, or the funding source is asking for this, and you may need to request that from the customer later. They may get a little frustrated, so I’ll say what has worked a lot of the time with my deals, is that I give the expectations that, hey, these are the preliminary items that we’ll need to get this one wrapped up, but I may need some other piece of information farther down the road. I think just providing that expectation that it is a process, that we do require some additional information to actually get it funded, it creates good expectations so that they know ahead of time that they might need some other items to get it wrapped up, versus surprising the customer saying “you signed your docs, but I’m actually going to need this and that”. I think that always helps out, creating that expectation.

Q: So in the end, things worked out, and you had those honest conversations, and the customer was satisfied?

A: Yeah, especially this one. He wanted things to happen fast. He was calling me multiple times throughout the day, or texting me, or emailing me, he always was looking for an update. Sometimes other parties wouldn’t get back to me in a timely manner, which I understand they can be busy, but yeah, he was thankful just because we were able to make it happen. I think he tried to go with a different financial services company, he was saying if we couldn’t get it done by this day, he might have to go somewhere else. At that point, I had a conversation with him explaining the process, saying I’m working my hardest to get this one done as quickly as possible, but sometimes I have to wait for other folks to complete their tasks in order for me to complete mine, and he understood. At the end of the day, he was thankful and appreciative of my work and that’s all that matters.

Next week we will check in with another finance officer in one of our offices. Stay up to date and learn more from our valuable resources at www.AmericanEFS.com/The-Bottom-Line