When things get tough, how do I communicate with my lenders?

How to handle difficult conversations

Open and effective communication may be difficult in certain situations. You may particularly struggle with communicating with your lender about tough times you are facing. When the going gets tough, what are the best ways to effectively communicate with your lender? 

Effective communication with a lender 

Prevention is key

The best way to handle a difficult situation is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

While it's easy to get into the us vs. them mindset, finding common ground will help you create a cordial relationship that will avoid awkward talks. The more you have in common with them, the more you will connect with that person. If you already have that relationship, it sometimes makes new, existing, or loan modification authorization quicker.  

You are on the same team

The most important thing to remember is that you are all on the same team. Your financial professional should be considered a team member; they are just as eager for this loan to close as you are. 

A loan that does not close is a Financial Professional's greatest nightmare. Many Financial Professionals earn money solely on commission, so they do not get paid unless the loan closes. They have an added incentive to find any viable solution to an issue. They don't want to work on a file for days for it to end up not closing. 

Working with a team approach can help keep morale high and allow each person to focus on the end goal: successfully closing on the loan. 

Allow Ample Processing Time

If you already worked on the response, appraisal, or paperwork with the Financial Professional, they are probably working hard to get you what you need. Financial Professionals must collaborate with several other people internally, so finding solutions can be challenging at times.

Of course, there are times when calling multiple times a day is acceptable, but try to determine whether another phone call is necessary before dialing. 

Take the initiative

If something appears to be off, it most likely is. If you suspect that there is a problem, communicate as soon as possible to give you and the Financial Professional a chance to talk about feasible solutions that won't cause a delay or prohibit you from closing. You can work together to close quickly by working as a team and communicating effectively.

If you foresee financial troubles as a result of COVID-19, do not delay. Contact your lender right away to discuss debt relief possibilities for your business loans, as well as debt relief alternatives for your mortgage and vehicle loan payments.

If you wait until the loan is severely past due, in default, or until you are already in financial distress, your lender will have fewer options to help you get through the financial hardships that many people are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tips for talking to your lender 

As a producer, you will almost certainly confront difficulty. Anything from weather-related catastrophes or fluctuating markets to labor concerns, regulatory burdens, or policy shifts.

What should you do if you have a significant financial loss in your commercial construction, oil & gas, or transportation operation and need to tell your lender? Follow these three tips

  1. Be ready to go. Know where you stand financially before the scheduled meeting. Have a thorough understanding of the financial loss, both in terms of the dollar amount and the reasons for it. Have a current balance sheet and income statement that reflect the current condition, whether professionally created or completed on your own. Having this information on hand will give your lender sufficient information to assess the impact on your company.

  2. Make a strategy. Have a solution in mind that addresses the financial loss you suffered. Various criteria impact the details of your plan, including the severity of the losses. Your plan will more than likely require lender approval. You will be better prepared to create a practical and realistic plan if you explore your options ahead of time.

  3. Maintain a professional demeanor while remaining patient. Financial losses are unpleasant, and they can become emotionally charged as you deal with the impacts. Your lender may take longer than usual to respond to your demands, which might add to your anxiety. Understanding that additional time may be needed to reach a resolution and maintaining a calm, reasoned demeanor in your interactions will help you reach the degree of communication required to establish a mutually acceptable solution.

What if it still doesn’t work? 

As a customer, it’s important to understand how a lender might react when you’re working with them on your financing. Most lenders will handle customer relationships by using the CURE procedure. CURE stands for Cushion, Understand, Respond, and Engage. Knowing how the CURE procedure works will help you communicate back with your lender more effectively.

Here is how CURE works: 


The first stage is to bring the other person into a state of mind where they can talk calmly and respond appropriately.

Allow them to feel validated in their feelings by cushioning the emotion for them. The worst thing you can do is irritate them. You must realize that people have the right to feel the way they do. Say something like, I completely understand or I completely understand why you're feeling that way.


Many people skip this stage because they presume they know what's bothering the other person without actually trying to understand the underlying concerns.

It is possible that what they say isn’t the whole truth. They could be dealing with some other pressure that we're not aware of.


Only after the first two steps have been completed can you work toward resolving the issue – ideally face to face.


This is a check to see if you've addressed all of their concerns. Then, follow-up to see if the other party has been comforted, if they are at ease, and if there is anything you can do to further assist them.

Managing your credit through financial hardship

We understand that you may be faced with some difficult financial decisions right now. To avoid late payments on your credit report, we recommend that you pay what you can. If you are having trouble making minimum payments, speak with your lenders to see if they can help.

Even though not all lenders give hardship or forbearance alternatives, the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) gave lenders information on how to assist consumers during the coronavirus outbreak. 

You have the right to know when your lender reports late or missed payments to the credit bureaus. Some lenders will instantly report late payments, while others may take up to 30 days.

Talk to your lender and let them know about your circumstances. Make sure to ask them if they offer any hardship or forbearance options to their customers. You can usually find their contact information on your credit report or most current statements. 

Bottom line

When things get tough, make sure you're openly and effectively communicating with your lender. Prevention is key when dealing with awkward conversations. Don't wait if you expect financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 reaction. If your company is temporarily closed or unable to operate, contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss debt relief options for your business loans. Ensure that you allow ample processing time, remember you are on the same team, and take the initiative to start the conversation if you expect financial difficulties. If all else fails, you can rely on the CURE process to help understand your lender’s thought process.