Get to know the lending staff at Pathway
As small business owners apply for funding and move through the loan application process here at Pathway Lending, they’ll work one-on-one with several members of our team, including lenders like Pam Theis. Pam is often the first person a business owner will meet from Pathway when they apply – making her job an important one!
We interviewed Pam to find out a little more about her role and her ongoing work with entrepreneurs.
Get to know our VP of Lending | Middle Tennessee, Pam Theis.
Name: Pam Theis (pronounced “tice”)
Hometown: Hopkinsville, KY
Time in role: Just over three years (as of March 2019)
Previous career: More than 25 years as a career banker in and around the Nashville area.
Fun fact: Loves to read mysteries and listen to Earth Wind & Fire (and Bruno Mars!)
What’s a typical day like for you?
I spend my day meeting and getting to know entrepreneurs who are passionate about their business or their idea for a business. We talk about their situation, their stage of business, and what kind of funding they’re looking for. Typically the business owners I talk to don’t qualify for a bank loan for a variety of reasons. They may be a startup with no financial history, or an existing business with less than perfect credit or some other extenuating circumstances. So it’s my job to dig beyond the numbers and get to know them on a personal level to see if they’re a good fit for a Pathway Lending loan.
If the business and their request are a good fit, we start the application process. If the business owner needs a little more support with education regarding their business, I’ll connect them with Pathway WBC to find some technical training or classes regarding business plans and financials.
What are some obstacles and questions you regularly help clients with as they move through the application process?
A lot of our applicants don’t have a financial or accounting background. Having that solid understanding of the business financials, however, is critical when you’re looking for any kind of funding. They’ll know how to make a product or provide a service, but don’t necessarily understand their pricing strategy, how to market their product or service, or how to create accurate financial projections.
An ideal loan client has taken the time to thoroughly understand the financial side of their business – the good and the bad – in order to clearly articulate to me as a lender that they have the knowledge to be successful and to fulfill their loan commitment.
For existing businesses, the client’s been proactive gaining operational knowledge along the way in running the business, or for a startup they’ve gotten education on the front end to show they’re thoroughly prepared to successfully launch and manage a business.
We offer affordable and relevant education to help prepare business owners in-house at Pathway WBC, and we often get referrals from bankers, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC’s), or local. Any kind of formal education like that is always very helpful!
What does an ideal client looks like?
We have quite a few startup entrepreneurs who come to Pathway, and often the biggest obstacle they face is technical preparation. The best applicants have a solid business plan and accurate projections to give a clear picture for what that first year in business will look like, and show that the business can successfully generate enough income to cover all normal expenses and any additional financing needed. Truly the bottom line for them is how are they getting their customers? Who wants their product or service? Obviously that drives revenue, and having a clear grasp on those questions is something every business owner needs to have.
Why do you think what we do is important?
I believe the level of education and support we provide is the most valuable asset we have at Pathway Lending and Pathway WBC. Many clients I speak with are, first of all, happy I returned a call or responded to a pre-application and secondly, feel they receive a lot of support on the front end to better understand aspects of their business they may not have known before they called, and lastly, they know what we can provide.
What’s the best part about your job?
The best part of my job is meeting new people with new business ideas and feeling good at the end of the day that Pathway was able to help – whether that’s with education they’ll need to be successful long-term, or getting them that financial support. The passion clients have for their business is amazing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The Pathway team is awesome! We work well together, in harmony, to assist clients with their specific needs. Each client is different so as a team we have to be flexible to help the business owners who need us most.