April 16, 2024

One Quarter into 2024: Commercial Banking and Commercial Finance Recruiting Overview 

For most of our Commercial Banking and Commercial Finance recruiters, 2023 was slower than usual. High interest rates, demand for deposits, and suppressed credit appetites stifled growth. This year, though firms are still facing the same uncertainties, they are beginning to make some strategic hires.  

This article is a high-level, brief overview of the current hiring conditions of each sector within our Commercial Banking and Commercial Finance Practice. If you would like to have a more in-depth conversation about anything mentioned, reach out to the recruiter(s) linked. 

TLDR: Cautious Optimism. 

Commercial Banking –Stephanie Maas , Jay BooneJosh Karamol

Q1 was more active for candidates and hiring authorities alike. With interest rates still high and banks still conservative 12 months after the “crash” last March, most banks are hiring cautiously and extra selective about the talent they pursue. Candidates are open to finding somewhere better, but not moving just for the sake of making a move. It truly must be a “better” opportunity. 

Banks in the southeastern market are focusing on hiring talent that can support their deposit growth initiatives as well as relationship managers who have C&I lending experience. 

Josh’s advice: “I have been nudging clients on the fact more candidates than ever, due to the current market, are passive and not applying to their posting. It is especially helpful right now to work with a recruiter who has the network, resources, and ability to move the needle with those passive candidates.” 

Equipment Finance & Leasing – JW Heflin, Martin Pilipiak 

Equipment Finance and Leasing shows cautious optimism. For JW, new business is up over last year, but tempered throughout the last quarter. There is a belief that business conditions will hold steady, and demand may even increase.  

Within the EF&L niche, banks and independent firms tell different stories. Banking is holding the line, and many are managing to stay flat. A rare few are in aggressive expansion mode with some looking to build an Equipment Finance and Leasing business. In contrast, independents are having a resurgence. The market is prime for many of these companies to do well.  

JW’s advice: “Candidates are being recruited rapidly, so speed and accuracy are vital for companies to attract top talent. There cannot be any confusion about your brand or story in the market, otherwise top talent will not make a move.” 

Commercial Real Estate Mortgage Lending – Courtney Rice 

Courtney’s niche has picked up in early 2024. Though most lenders have not made it to “growth mode,” many have begun filling some of the positions they lost last year. A new normal interest rate needs to settle in before any major growth happens, but “borrowers need to borrow,” so as they do, everyone will feel a boost.  

Courtney’s advice: “Around 50% of my clients are making strong efforts to bring their people back into the office, at least on a hybrid schedule. Most candidates, however, have a strong preference to maintain full flexibility, either with a fully remote schedule or autonomy to decide what “hybrid” means for them. Having a candidate work on-site or hybrid can be a preference but making it a requirement will mean losing out on great talent.” 

SBA – Derek Schlender 

In contrast to the experience of other niches in Commercial Banking and Commercial Finance, SBA is experiencing plenty of growth. In fact, this is the busiest Q1 our SBA search practice has had. While some of that is a product of the time of year and bonus schedules, there is also a strong demand in the market for SBA loans due to conventional boxes being more closed. If they are not struggling with liquidity, lenders are alive and well and lending.  

Derek’s advice: “Continue hiring ahead of the curve. So often we hire salespeople first and support people after, but left uncorrected, this cycle often leads to burnout which can put you back at square one from attrition.” 

ABL – Trinity Taylor 

Like SBA, the Asset-Based Lending world Is also experiencing growth. Non-bank shops are the most active right now both with lending and hiring, though some ABL groups at regional banks are highly active. No matter how Q1 went, most groups Trinity speaks with have growth goals for 2024.  

Want to discuss any of these observations further? Reach out to the linked recruiter for more information. If you are interested in exploring opportunities in Commercial Banking & Commercial Finance, visit our opportunities page. 

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller is the Marketing & Media Specialist at ThinkingAhead. She supports the recruiting team in a variety of ways including managing social media, generating...

Learn More