Equipment Leasing and Finance Association - Equiping Business for Success
Equipment Leasing & Finance
Executive Perspective

Executive Perspective

July/August/September 2019

NormalARTNavigating a new normal

The speed of business is increasing at an incredible pace, which means those of us in the financial services industry need to move even faster to keep up. At Stearns Bank, we’ve taken a number of steps in recent years to stay ahead of the curve. Here are just a few of our key learnings:

Isaac FlennerAdapting to Changes
We know time is of the essence for people who are looking to purchase equipment for their business. Investing in an online portal, DocuSign, and speeding up the financing process is what we have focused on in recent years.

We have technology that offers accessibility and security. In fact, we have an entire department in StearnsConnect that monitors our customers’ security on an ongoing basis.

Our technology initiative has led to customers being funded for their equipment purchases in three hours or less. Without technology, it wouldn’t be feasible.

We can tweak and adjust a deal based on our customers’ needs. I know people are averse to change. With that being said, you can add convenience and speed in a safe environment by adapting to that change. Why go back and forth with emails or fax machines when you can click a few items and be on your way?

Keeping What Works
Some things don’t change. We still answer customer calls on the first ring. We know not everything can be translated with technology. When our customers are calling, we’re going to pick up right away.

At Stearns Bank, we’ve recently invested in ourselves and made further commitment to provide best-in-class customer service. Over the past year at our Equipment Finance Division, we’ve added more than 100 employees—a 50% increase in our team—and an 11,000-square-foot expansion. We now have 40,000-square feet in which to operate in a state-of-the-art building in central Minnesota, providing sales and service to our growing nationwide customer base.

This new building is in Albany, Minnesota. It has a small hometown feeling that reflects in the way we work with our customers. That is has been part of the secret sauce that has made Stearns Bank successful from the start.

So, while it’s important to change with the times and stay current on new innovations, it’s important not to lose touch with what made you great in the first place.


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