Daily News: April 18, 2014

Commercial Lender Survey: Company Culture Important in Job Satisfaction

New data from Smith & Wilkinson indicates that a growing number of commercial lenders feel company culture and the ability to get along with team members are the most important components of job satisfaction.

The firm’s 5th Annual Commercial Lender Salary Survey sought to gain insight from commercial lenders throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic relating to salaries, bonuses and raises segmented out and tied to tenure, location, bank ownership, and loan production. The survey polled 846 commercial lenders who were either team leaders or individual contributors.

When respondents were asked what was most important to them at the workplace, 47% of team leaders said coworkers and company culture were their first priority. Individual contributors echoed the same response, with 34% ranking these factors as their first concern, as opposed to 20% who say compensation was most important.

These figures are reflective of a growing trend among candidates who are prioritizing workplace environment over compensation. Forty percent of team leader respondents in 2011 felt these factors were the most important job attributes, compared to 47% in 2013.

“The data that we see in this year’s survey, regarding what lenders feel is most important at work, reflects what our recruiters are seeing with banking candidates every day,” says Carll Wilkinson, managing partner of Smith & Wilkinson. “It ultimately goes back to the importance of developing a sound employer branding strategy to attract, hire and retain the best talent in the industry. In our candidate-driven market where top candidates are being sought by multiple banking and financial institutions, future employers have to realize that their organization’s brand, as well as the experience or perception that staff provide during the interviewing process will be the most important factors that are evaluated by exceptional talent.”

Other survey highlights include that the average base salary increased modestly again, from 2012 to 2013. There was also a slight uptick to 16% from 13% indicating a plan on retiring in the near future. Cash bonuses showed a consistent correlation with production.

The Smith & Wilkinson Commercial Lender Salary Survey was conducted between October 29 and December 8, 2013 via a web-based survey with a total of 846 commercial lenders responding (458 individual contributors and 388 team leaders).