Building Relationships with Banks, Credit Unions


by Bruce McNeilage

ver take a look at someone’s social media page and wonder how their life could be so perfect… sunsets on vacation, skydiving, food and drink with good friends. The truth is, no matter how per- fect it looks, you only get to see the good parts. The screaming kids, the cranky spouse, and the traffic jams never quite see the light of a social media day. Business can be the same way, and I’m as guilty of it as anyone. You see the pictures of me standing in front of a finished subdivision or read about the sale of a piece of my rental E

portfolio and you see the success. What you don’t see are some of the bumps in the road that hap- pened along the way. For example, 15 banks turned one of my most important projects down. That’s right. Fifteen times I stepped up to the plate, swung and missed. Those failures, however, led to two of my greatest lessons in real estate development. First, it is critical to have close relationships with your bank - ing partners. Second, it’s important to always keep building your network of business and community contacts. You never know what relationship will

unlock an important door. When I was partnering with Har - peth Development to build Solo East, an affordable condo development in East Nashville, financing was diffi - cult to come by. We saw a need for high-quality new housing that would appeal to working-level profession - als. The problem was banks only wanted to fund apartment develop - ments. I was having a difficult time getting people to buy in to the vision of high-quality affordable housing. Fortunately, a networking initiative I’d been working on that had abso - lutely nothing to do with banking

58 | think realty magazine :: march 2021

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