Magazine article Business Credit

The Bonds That Bind

Magazine article Business Credit

The Bonds That Bind

Article excerpt

While a credit manager at an Indianapolis-based company, the desired progress in addressing a sizable aged balance on an account in Jacksonville, FL was not being achieved. The account was considered high risk; growing and aging as promises for payment were being received without being more than good intentions.

I decided it was time to visit the customer in hopes that a face-to-face meeting would make the seriousness of the situation very clear. At lunch with the customer's sales manager and salesman, the salesman mentioned that Rodger, the owner, was expecting me to pull the line and possibly shut him down with the visit. I agreed that the situation was very serious, but responded that we needed to keep an open mind and seek a solution to be able to connect and maintain the relationship.

Soon after we arrived, Rodger offered to give me a tour of his facility during which he specifically pointed out the equipment and supplies he had purchased from my employer. It was very evident how nervous he was.

When we gathered back in his office his daughter, Kelly, who did most of the accounting and bookkeeping for the company, joined us. Initially it was rather awkward, but Rodger confirmed that I was from Indianapolis and mentioned that he would be there in a couple of months for a "Chosen Few" reunion. I asked what the "Chosen Few" was. He explained that he served in the Korean War, and the soldiers that survived the battle to take over a particular ridge called themselves the "Chosen Few" and that the survivors continued to have annual reunions. Rodger noted the saying "there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole" was true and that as bullets were flying over him, he was wearing the beads down on his rosary.

I told Rodger that I sometimes got nervous when I fly alone and, as I was pulling my rosary out of my pocket, told him as I was praying earlier in the day when we were preparing to land. Rodger smiled and said he thought we were going to get along just fine.

During our meeting, I agreed to transfer the aged balance to an 18-month note. Rodger and his wife signed personal guarantees, and to assist with payment, any vendor rebates would be applied to the principal balance of the note. …

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