What Matters in a Banking Relationship?
The questions to ask to get the most out of your investments
Banking relationships can often be one-sided. You should have a dedicated banker who knows your business and can help identify ways to facilitate growth. The banker should be a point of contact for any banking needs you have. They should be a center of influence for you and someone that you can use as a resource for advice or ideas.
It’s important that your bank is transparent with both costs and expectations. Your bank should be clear when it comes to interest rates and fees you will be charged for services. When looking for a new banking relationship, ask the bank to do a comparative analysis on your accounts to show the potential cost savings. If you’re looking for a loan, your banker should be able to tell you what they are looking for when qualifying an applicant, and if necessary, provide advice on areas that you can focus on to improve your bankability.
Communication is important in any relationship and a banking relationship is no different. You should be able to easily get in touch with your bank/banker to ask questions about your accounts or loans. Your bank may not always have the answers right away, but they should be responsive and be able to follow through on getting back to you in a timely matter with the information you need. Many processes in the banking world can take time, but you should expect to be kept updated by your banker on where you are in the process.
Does your bank offer a full suite of treasury management services and loan products? Your bank should be able to offer products to make it easy to access your accounts (mobile and online banking) as well as transact on your accounts (mobile deposit, remote deposit, bill-pay, ACH, credit cards, online wires etc.) while also taking steps to prevent fraud like secure log-in tokens, dual control and positive pay. They should also know when it is appropriate to suggest these products and when they might be an unnecessary expense. If and when you need a loan, your bank should offer everything from operating lines of credit, letters of credit, working capital term loans, equipment financing, commercial real estate and government programs such as SBA (Small Business Administration).
Every business is unique and will have unique needs. Your bank should understand that and make an effort to find solutions that will fit your needs within reason. Whether it’s increasing your remote or mobile deposit limits for increased convenience or structuring a borrowing base that is more aligned with the way your business operates, it is likely that there will come a time when you will require some flexibility. The bank may not always be able to accommodate what you are looking for, but they should be able to provide some alternative solutions when they can’t. Businesses each have their own intricacies that make them unique; you should have a bank that doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach.
As a business owner, it’s critical that you can count on your business partners to execute. If you have a need for financing or are facing deadlines, you need to be able to count on your bank to work to ensure that they’re delivering on their end. Your banker is your advocate and should do what they say they will when they say they will. When something isn’t achievable, they should let you know on the front end.
The above examples are just a few of the things you should be looking for in a bank, but there are certainly other things to consider as well. A good place to start is by asking yourself a few questions:
- Do you know who your banker is and how to get in contact with them?
- Do they take the time to understand my business and try to add value to it?
- If I have a banking need, am I confident that I know who I can reach out to, and that they will be able to provide potential solutions?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, it might be time to go out and explore a new banking relationship.
About Troy Blessing: Troy Blessing is vice president-commercial banking at Collegiate Peaks Bank, with branch locations in Denver, River North, Denver Tech Center, Aurora, Salida and Buena Vista. More information is available at www.collegiatepeaksbank.com.