Thanking Bankers
June 6, 2006 3:05 PM   Subscribe

How to thank one's bankers/mortgage officers?

A friend of mine who has his own small business, recently expanded and bought yet another business. He plans on expanding even further very soon. He is very grateful to two of his bankers (mortgage officers) for going to bat for him and getting his two million dollar loan approved. He wants to show his appreciation and get them each a gift ($500-$1000 price range). He's not sure how to handle this.
Would Bankers accept gifts from clients or would it be frowned upon? And if it is acceptable practice what would be the best way to go about showing his appreciation? Should he approach them first and ask them what they would prefer, or would it be better to simply present a gift? What kind of gift would be appropriate? Or is there a better alternative to giving gifts as a show of appreciation in this kind of situation. Thanks for your input.
posted by crack to Human Relations (13 answers total)
I think gifts of this value are completely inappropriate.

Taking them out for a nice meal or inviting them to his home for a slap up dinner and a few bottles of wine is a much better option IMO.
posted by unSane at 3:10 PM on June 6, 2006

I used to do marketing to C-level bankers. When we wanted to offer a gift, we would offer 3 options:

- a specific gift (like a PDA, hotel reservations, etc)
- a gift for their company (again, the PDA could be used)
- a donation of $X for the charity of their choice (depending on situation, could be made in their name)

However, we weren't clients. The bankers were. But the choices generally worked because people could make the choice that best suited their situation.
posted by acoutu at 3:19 PM on June 6, 2006

It could be appropriate, depending on the situation. What to do would depend on if he would like to keep it a surprise.
If he wants to surprise them, I would actually contact the corporate office for the company and find out what their gifting guidelines are. There are several laws that could make it inappropriat and illegal to accept anything but a token gift. Though in many cases, the value of really talking them up to the corporate headquarters is well beyond what he could put in a gift.

If he does not mind about breaking the surprise, just ask what the policy would allow. I would be surprised if they were able to accept more than $50 or so, if it is in the US. Also, they might be in a situation where, as managers, they feel that their team deserves the credit and would rather something along the lines of a group party.
posted by slavlin at 3:19 PM on June 6, 2006

I agree with unSane.

It's on a different scale, but I've been part of a few and witnessed plenty of post-deal celebrations as a banker. They've been as exorbitant as trips to Vegas and Caribbean Islands, but usually it's just a nice dinner and lots of drinking. Sometimes everyone, bankers and client included, gets a "deal memento"--usually just a hunk of lucite but sometimes things like a piece of luggage with the client's logo embroidered. Almost always it's the case that the banker has planned the event and then billed the company (along with other deal fees like legal, printing, etc). The key thing is that everyone was involved--it wasn't the client giving a gift to the banker, or vice versa, but rather a mutual celebration. Though I think the press would have a field day if they found out about some of the more outlandish celebrations.
posted by mullacc at 3:29 PM on June 6, 2006

He should write a detailed letter about how helpful this mortgage officer was. That sort of endorsement/recommendation would be extremely helpful to the mortgage officer as s/he attempts to woo new clients.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:37 PM on June 6, 2006

I'm with unSane and croutonsupafreak: a gift could be seen as bad. Something intangible--dinner, a round of golf, whatever--is fine, as it's a relationship-y sort of thing. And a letter, addressed to the boss of the officer, is a very good thing indeed.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:36 PM on June 6, 2006

And a $500-$1000 dinner would be even more impressive than a $500-$1000 gift :-)
posted by winston at 6:44 PM on June 6, 2006

Do check the bank's policies, however. I am sure there is some limit on what they can accept from clients -- especially lending clients. Having a client spend a significant amount of money on them could be perceived as receiving a cut of the loan as a kickback.
posted by winston at 6:47 PM on June 6, 2006

My activity partner is a mortgage officer and has received thank you gifts (bottle of Cristal, several boxes of Godiva) which were certainly appropriate. However, she has always said that the best thing a client can give is a referral. Referring someone to them shows that you appreciated what they did for you and, of course, brings them more business.
posted by dorisfromregopark at 7:05 PM on June 6, 2006

I work in this field and felt necessary to register to comment. While I would love clients to give me gifts for doing my job, anything more than a Thank You/Job Very Well Done letter would be inappropriate. First if it were sent to the office it would bring immediate heat from management as a perceived rebate! No one “goes to bat” so to speak for any one client, no matter what line of BS the Salesman tries to feed you. In the end your Friend is personally guaranteeing a 2MM loan. The salesman was not responsible for the decision of the credit committee to approve the transaction. The credit committee did not give the go ahead because the Salesman went to bat and told them he likes your friend, they did it to earn between $40,000 to $100,000 profit.

Tell your friend to recommend the Bank and Officer to everyone he knows, a new customer or relationship would be a great gift!

posted by ricklang at 7:07 PM on June 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

I gave the people who helped me find my place and get my mortgage $100 gift cards from J&R.
posted by brujita at 10:59 PM on June 6, 2006

Send them something nice (party platter sort of thing) at Christmas. This is something to share with their staff.
posted by Goofyy at 5:34 AM on June 7, 2006

I'd hope that the bank has rules that prohibit their employees from accepting gifts. My customer wouldn't allow their employees to go to a race practice day, where admission is like $10 or $20, because it would violate the gift rules they have.
posted by jeversol at 1:23 PM on June 10, 2006

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