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The Bottom Line: How to Pick an Effective Bank for your Business

America is over-banked. It is not uncommon to see 2-5 banks within a city block radius. So the question becomes what sets one bank a part from another bank. The answer in the banking industry is similar to any other industry, the people. A bank is only as strong as its bankers.

Your banker should, first and foremost be a partner to you. Not a sales person. When you speak to your banker, listen to see if his recommendations will benefit you or is he throwing everything that he has at you, hoping something will stick.

There are 5 things that you should expect a banker to do, in order to earn your business and personal banking relationship.

1. They should ask the right questions to determine what you need and help you identify your short and long-term financial goals.

2. Bankers should do a review of where you are at today, and be able to determine where you want to be.

3. She should explore with you the possible solutions to get your from where you are to where you want to be. She should be able to explain this to you in understandable terms, without a lot of “bank speak”

4. After the best solution is identified, he should be there to help you implement the financial services that are right for you and your current situation

5. This is the one that most bankers forget; Follow-up. After you have started a banking relationship, the banker should stay in contact with you periodically, to adjust the solution as needed as well as to be a financial resource on any other issues that may arise.

You, as the client have a responsibility to the banking relationship, as well. This is not buying a TV. This should be treated as a partnership, and your banker is no different then any other vendor or supplier you may have. Here are 5 things you should expect to do, in order to get the most out of your relationship with your banker.

1. If your car breaks down, you go see a mechanic, if you have a tooth-ache, you go see a dentist. But too often, if someone has a financial problem, the banker completely stops hearing from them. If something happens financially, good or bad, your banker should be the first to know.

2. In addition to being in contact with you banker, be Truthful to your banker. Bankers hate to be surprised. Going back to Number 1, if something good or bad happens, your banker is in the best position to help you. They are excellent resources for advice, second opinions and guides when something financially doesn’t make sense to you.

3. Understand your banker’s job. His job is to be on the front line, guarding your money. The banking industry has taken a hit to its reputation. Bankers at the branch level had very little to do with the financial collapse. Most bankers really want their clients to succeed.

If your banker does his list, and you keep up with your part, the banker/client relationship can be beneficial to both parties. Bankers often work with lots of businesses and clients, and therefore are “centers of influence” when it comes to referrals. The same can be said from a great client. The best advertising is “word of mouth” so if you have a great banker, or a bad banker, be sure to tell the other business owners you know. Your banker will appreciate a quality referral as much as you would.

The financial world is a confusing and at times, scary place. A mistake can cost time, money and your reputation as a business owner. Your banker can be your resource to navigate through this world, and can be a valuable partner in growing your business. If your banker is not living up to all these things, it may be time to find a new bank. You have many to choose from.

Bottom Line.

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About the Author

Brandon Byes, M&I Bank
1101 Walnut
Kansas City, MO 64106

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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