During these difficult times, having a responsive banking partner is critical. In my last article, I explained why the search for a new bank always begins with analyzing your company's financial needs. This article looks at the situation from the standpoint of the bank.
Most of us think of banks as only performing two tasks -- holding deposits and loaning money. While most commercial banks perform these two tasks, there is so much more to finding a bank that will meet your company's needs.
Remember, banks evaluate customers with as much deliberation and planning as a business that wants to choose the right bank partner. Banks are highly regulated, and as a result, are driven by managing risk. Banks are in the business to make money, like any other company. Their goal is to attract customers who are reliable, transparent, and consistent.
Understand the Different Types of Banks
Commercial banks are like any other business. They have established their expertise and specialty in given areas and will be a good match if that is what your company needs.
In the financial world, there are many different types of banks. For example, private banks exist solely to serve their wealth management clients. Commercial banks exist to drive business to their wealth management and trust departments. Other banks focus primarily on consumer-type customers, where they can charge transaction fees. There are small community banks with a single location and large global banks with a drive-through on every corner.
After you have analyzed your banking needs, determine what type of bank provides those services. When your needs match the bank's expertise, forming a relationship is much easier.
How Do Banks View Potential Customers?
Banks profile their potential customers by size, market segment, business type, years in business, the reliability of financial records and financial reporting, location, and business model. Before you approach a bank about a possible relationship, be prepared to demonstrate this information. Anticipating the questions a loan officer will ask and having the answers ready helps establish your credibility and professionalism.
Being prepared for an interview with a loan officer includes asking questions about their responsiveness. If possible, meet their assistant, and spend some time forming an impression about them.
We have worked with hundreds of companies and dozens of banks. Through the years, I have found that the administrative assistant is just as important and valuable in your banking relationship as the specific loan officer or relationship manager assigned to your business account.
For example, when we want to discuss a proposal, growth plan, potential acquisition, or loan request, I always go to the loan officer. But when we have an immediate banking need, we go to the administrative assistant.
We have changed banks solely because the administrative assistant was not responsive or lacked good communication skills. It pays to develop the relationship between our staff and the bank staff. We always put our administrative assistants directly in touch with the bank's assistant, frequently paying for lunch or dinner so they can connect and build their relationship.
Now more than ever, finding the right bank partner is critical to the survival of companies. Clarifying your company's financial needs, identifying the bank that specialized in those areas, then professionally presenting your company are essential steps.
Shields Legal Group has developed a step-by-step process that takes you through the analysis phase and provides guidance for your interview. Please send me an email at jshields@ShieldsLegal.com.
We match your business with the bank that can meet your needs.