The Bank as a partner
It is not by chance that the credit assessment guidelines have moved from a static assessment of guarantees to a dynamic one that almost always starts with a Business Plan, the first winning card of a company introducing itself to a bank; to then concentrate on the company’s ability to produce positive cash flows able to remunerate all stakeholders including the banks and the loans they allocate.
Today, more than ever before, banks are required to ‘understand the company’: a complex organism that acts in an increasingly more global market, that has to deal with many challenges like those linked to the speeding up digitisation imposed by the pandemic or the sustainability guidelines drawn up at European level: today’s enterprise is increasingly called on to have an effect on society through its actions.
The role of a bank in this process can and must not be company governance (even if pledges on stock or shares are required), but represents a careful (at times patient) “travelling companion” able to understand the company’s growth path. In that way it can then identify the best financial support, also offering the best product in timing terms (short or medium-long term even with significant grace periods, if needed) with a specialist and tailor-made approach to better adapt loans to company needs based on the sector belonged to.
From this point of view, transparency and the ability to communicate of the company and the entrepreneur become fundamental for enabling the credit analysts to understand and knowingly choose to take the risk. This is especially valid if the loans requested by the company are for production changes, opening new market segments, delocalization, change in the business-mix, often courageous choices by those with a strategic vision (who imagined ‘a future’), but which must remain consistent with the company’s distinctive know-how, its story and recognition by the market.
The choice to finance a company over the medium-long term period is ultimately based on the trust placed in whoever manages the company to decidedly and resiliently pursue sustainable growth; even when faced with new production and commercial challenges or important organisational changes.
In a nutshell, what analysts require each time they relate with an entrepreneurial structure is “show me the journey and your leadership skill (even when the wind is against you).” When navigating on the high seas, you, in fact, need an expert, capable captain.
Tiziana Campanella, Head of Operations Assessment
At the beginning of my career I worked for about 10 years in the Financial Institutions division of KPMG, specializing in M&A transactions both in Italy and cross-border. I was Head of Business Development for Real Estate and Diversified Companies of UnipolSai Assicurazioni S.p.A. and Head of Operations, M&A and Real Estate in UnipolRec. I held the position of Head of Credit Machine – SME Division in illimity with responsibility for credit analysis for financing dossiers for all business lines of the Small & Medium Enterprises Division. Since spring 2021 I have headed the office that deals with credit evaluation in Banca Ifis.