As a business owner you are faced with numerous decisions each day that impact your bottom line, your employees and your clients. Whether you are just starting out, or you have an established mid-sized business, one of the most important choices you will make is the selection of a commercial banking partner that will help your business grow and mature. As you evaluate your options, think about what you value in a banking relationship. Are you seeking a true partner who can help guide your financial path? Is location important? What kinds of banking services are a priority for your business?
Following are three criteria to consider when choosing a banking partner.
- 1. A Relationship You Can Trust: One of the most valuable assets a commercial banking partner can offer is trust. You want a partner who will be by your side as a confidential advisor, laser-focused on helping you succeed. A benefit of a mid-size bank versus a larger bank can be one-on-one service and quick, personal responses from a live person rather than an automated system or offshore call center. It’s important to look for a banker who pays attention to the day-to-day transactions of your business and who is available to talk with you regularly – someone who will call you with ideas or if they see an issue. For some businesses, the bank’s location is a priority for easy in-person meetings or simply because the bank has a unique familiarity with the market. When was the last time you spoke directly with your banker?
- 2. Knowledge of Your Business and Industry: A banking partner should not only be a financial expert, but also should be an expert on your industry. To provide reliable guidance that will help you achieve your business goals, your banker should deeply understand your business’ nuances, regulations, and best practices. Certain industries particularly benefit from having a partner with industry expertise, including law firms, professional service firms, manufacturing companies, technology firms, and insurance agencies among others. A banker who knows your business and industry can respond quickly to your loan requests and provide you certainty of execution so you can focus on the big picture. How well does your commercial banker know your business?
- 3. Offerings Catered to Your Business Needs: Every business has a unique set of needs, and your vetting process should include an evaluation of how a bank’s products and services line up with your needs. Can services be customized or are they one size fits all? Perhaps your accounting department would find efficiencies by using file formats that work seamlessly with your bank – so you can reduce the times you need to create reports or research transaction items. Or maybe you need flexible deposit limits and lending thresholds. In today’s environment it’s also important to understand how potential banking partners help you prepare for and manage fraud risks, because if attempted fraud has not yet impacted your business, it likely will at some point. Is your business bank able to offer a breadth of services that fit your needs? Does it provide the best technology combined with personal service?
Whether you are choosing your first banking partner or contemplating a change, make a list of priorities you can measure against in your search. Take time to meet with several potential partners; ask hard questions; and look for someone you can trust with your assets who knows your industry and who offers the customized, hands-on service you deserve.
Looking for a banking partner? Signature Bank highly values customer relationships and can help you reach your business and personal financial goals. Signature Bank is Chicagoland’s business bank, focused exclusively on serving the needs of privately-owned businesses and their owners. Learn more at www.signaturebank.bank or contact Pete Olsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-467-5630.