Home / Banking Strategies / Leveraging your CRM’s value during COVID-19

Leveraging your CRM’s value during COVID-19


Credit administration must rapidly identify and prioritize credit risks and work with sales to efficiently respond and execute with limited resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the ability of most banks to respond quickly and efficiently to new credit risks.

Two issues compound the problem:

  • The new work-from-home environment compounds all the problems associated with getting credit and sales on the same page and working efficiently.
  • The massive workload (loans to be evaluated) has created an even greater need for rapid collection of documents, data collection and coordination between credit administration, sales, and the customer.

We recently surveyed senior bank executives and business bankers on this “new reality.” Not a single respondent said their primary focus for the remainder of the year would be on their sales pipelines. Instead, most said portfolio/risk management (55%), problem small-business loans (24%), and problem CRE loans (17%).

With banks pivoting from sales to problem loans and risk management, the CRM can continue to get lost in the shuffle. But there are ways to adapt this important tool to meet your needs during COVID-19.

Case study: Adapting your CRM to today’s realities

I recently spoke with a business loan officer for a large regional bank on the West Coast. Since COVID-19, she has shifted her attention and focus from new account acquisition to portfolio management and needed her CRM – traditionally used for sales leads and pipeline management – to do the same.

By configuring the powerful, built-in automation of her CRM for portfolio management, she’s now able to receive real-time notifications for past-due payments, updated risk ratings, loan reviews and covenant testing. Her team can be on the same page with alerts from loan administration in a to-do list that’s updated daily and prioritized based on credit administration business rules.

One morning while working from home, her CRM notified her that one of her best clients, a property company with a $1 million loan for a small office building with four tenants, had a past-due loan payment and was late with rent roll reporting.

She called the client company’s CFO, who told her that one of the building’s tenants had gone out of business after not securing any PPP or EIDL funding during the crisis. To address the past-due loan payment issues, the CFO asked for a six-month payment furlough and an extension of the loan’s term.

The CFO emailed the loan officer several PDF documents, and over the phone they analyzed the numbers and projected future cash flows. She used her CRM to arrange a follow-up phone call after she spoke to loan administration, and then she attached the PDF documents to the notification in her CRM’s to-do list and returned the notification to loan administration with a request for expedited consideration. A manager in loan administration called within 30 minutes, and together they collaborated on a key account plan in their CRM.

The bank ultimately made a concession to the property management client and agreed to furlough loan payments for six months, but they asked for a rate adjustment and more security – additional collateral, a personal guarantee and a covenant that required more frequent reporting.

Together, she and the loan administration manager built the six-month key account plan in the CRM, with a schedule of tasks that included monthly reporting, as well as updated loan documents and a series of scheduled phone appointments to help the CFO secure a new tenant.

Because the key account plan with automated notifications was synced with her to-do list inside the CRM, tasks were tracked in a variety of daily reports to loan administration. The manager of loan administration updated the client’s risk rating, which was sent to their profile in the CRM and prompted future alerts, notifications and automated updates to to-do lists.

Later in the same day, she and her client had agreed to the bank’s plan. The CFO, dealing with a number of other issues himself, was relieved to have the situation resolved so quickly. She notified loan administration and remotely assigned them the task of generating the updated loan document.

Working from home and adapting your tools to specific needs is a new reality on the frontline of COVID-19. Any financial institution can make do with incremental change – at least, for a while. But building sales success in a post-COVID world means making bold moves in sales processes, sales management and technology – and this must include your CRM.


Ron Buck is CEO of Performance Insights, a sales consulting and solution provider based in Scottsdale, Arizona.