Former Bank Examiner Brings Wealth of Experience to Correspondent Role

Correspondent banking is a growing part of Bell Bank, and bank stock loans are a big part of that business. Such loans help community banks expand through mergers and acquisitions, maintain healthy balance sheets, provide capital for growth and plan for the future. Bank stock loans are also helpful in buying back investor shares or accommodating an Employee Stock Ownership Plan purchase of shares. Bell also finances individual investors’ purchases of holding company stock.

Callie Schlieman, SVP/correspondent banker, has worked on numerous bank stock loans.

“My favorite part is talking to the bankers about the different industries their communities and banks serve and the different risks and success stories in their local economy,” she explains. “I also like digging into the bank’s numbers, which tell the bank’s story. It’s fun watching bank acquisitions and synergies take place and seeing a bank grow and succeed.”

As a former bank examiner with more than 20 years in banking, Callie brings a wealth of experience to her work as a correspondent lender. She primarily focuses on helping community banks expand, maintain healthy balance sheets and plan for the future through bank stock loans.

“I’ve been working with bank presidents and executives my entire career,” she said. “Bank numbers and the banking industry are second nature to me. It’s what I do and enjoy.”

What do banks need to know about taking out a holding company loan?

It’s an easy process. We’re flexible, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all product. We want to tailor something that best fits the holding company and the bank’s balance sheet, strategy and cash flow that works within our parameters as well. We always go in with a flexible mindset.

How does a bank qualify for the loan?

We get traditional banking reports that management uses daily to monitor the bank’s loan portfolio, liquidity and interest rate risk, but overall, a lot of the information that we review comes from public data filed in the bank’s call report.

Can a holding company qualify if a bank is underperforming?

If a bank is underperforming, we are always interested in discussing a loan with them. We will visit with the bank management to help them set goals to get to a position where they qualify for a loan that meets our criteria.

What might banks not realize about this process?

We really like to get to know management and strive to have someone on our team meet them in person, no matter how many miles away the bank is. We always want to understand your bank, the risk profile of your bank, what keeps you up at night and what your goals are for the future.

We’re here to partner with you and understand how your bank works, what you offer and if we offer anything that can benefit you. For example, we can originate all loan types to insiders to alleviate Regulation O concerns and accommodate investor and employee stock purchases.

What is a typical time frame?

The process is pretty harmless and quick because we make all of our decisions locally in Fargo, and so much data is publicly available. We have employees dedicated to underwriting bank stock loans. We like to visit the banks in person, but sometimes we can underwrite remotely over phone conversations depending on the borrower’s time frame.

How long are the loans, typically?

Usually we like to keep the amortization around 12 years, but if a bank projects growth and they need an interest-only period ahead of the 12 years, we’re flexible. We offer both variable and fixed-rate options with a typical loan term ranging from 12 months to 5 years.

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