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4 things you should know about Richard Hensley

By: Caley Clinton//September 29, 2011//

4 things you should know about Richard Hensley

By: Caley Clinton//September 29, 2011//

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Banker Richard Hensley stands on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. Hensley has been CEO of InvestorsBank, Waukesha, since April 2009. (Photo by Kevin Harnack)

Richard Hensley is the chief executive officer of InvestorsBank, Waukesha. He has 34 years of experience in the banking industry, having worked at financial institutions such as Johnson Bank, Marshall & Ilsley Corp. and Meridian Capital Group LLC. InvestorsBank’s clients include contractors and construction-related businesses.

1. He appreciates a good story.

Potential clients looking to bend Richard Hensley’s ear are advised to open up about their professional dreams and goals. The banker said he “is passionate about listening to clients with a story to tell.” That personal connection can be the start of a long and prosperous business relationship, he said. “All these big, successful companies didn’t start out that way,” he said. “Someone had to believe in them early on.”

2. He’s practiced at telling people “no.”

When Hensley has to tell a potential client “no,” which is often, he said, he makes sure to support the denial with feedback on how to improve the business plan so the bank would provide financing. “It’s about being transparent,” he said. “Letting them know why it’s a no, and what they could do to improve that would make it a yes.” And when there’s nothing a client could do to make the plan work, Hensley said, he tells the person early on in the process. “A lender should know up front if a deal’s going to work,” he said. “People respect that. They just want the truth.”

3. He’s a straight shooter.

When a client approached Hensley with a plan for a business the man wanted to launch while still working his day job, the InvestorsBank CEO advised his client to commit fully to the new venture. “I told him, ‘Don’t do it half ass,’” Hensley said. “Because otherwise, it’s just a hobby. It’s the role of the advisor to pull the client back when they want to go off track.”

4. He values a post-graduate degree, although he does not have one.

Hensley graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting. Although he planned to later return for his master’s in business administration, Hensley said, he started making money in banking and never went back. He does not advise the same path for others, however. “Graduate-level schooling will make you think,” he said. “It’s the ability to think of alternate solutions when you hit a roadblock that will help you survive.”

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