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Trusted Advisors: Why the Right Bank Matters to Your Business

Tamara Gurney
President & CEO
Mission Valley Bank
MissionValleyBank.com
(818) 394-2300

Selecting a financial institution for your personal banking can be difficult. Choosing the right bank for your business can seem daunting. Financing options, account types, electronic services offered, fees and service levels all need to be carefully considered. As important, do you prefer the indistinctiveness and anonymity of a large bank – or is a more ‘hands on’ approach of a smaller community bank where everyone knows your name a better fit for you and your business?

While product offerings are similar at most financial institutions, how these products are delivered can vary greatly. When dealing with larger banks or online financial institutions, it may be more convenient on your schedule to apply for a business loan online. In this scenario, you complete the application for the type of financing you determine best suits your needs, supply the appropriate documentation, submit your package, and wait for a response.

In contrast, smaller community banks and bankers are going to sit down with you, learn about you and your business, and discuss the options available to you. This is all before you get to the application stage. It’s a personal approach as no two businesses will ever be alike. While not as convenient as the impersonal approach of completing an application online, there are real benefits to investing the time to establish a relationship with your lender and working through the process to determine the right product to fit your needs.

A simple truth is that regardless of size, no bank can be all things to all clients. By the same token, not all banks are created equal, nor do they focus on the same core competencies. In addition to the overall client experience, businesses need to be sure their bank is a good fit for what is needed to grow and operate their business.

If you are considering changing banks, here are a few questions you might want to ask your current or prospective banker.

1. Is the bank interested in a relationship with your
business?

Keep in mind that the internet can provide you with a wealth of information about any prospective bank. A quick search will result in ample information regarding the strength, health, and direction of the financial institutions you are considering. A little research can go a long way in determining the direction a bank is taking, and its eagerness to have you as a customer. Learning a bit about philosophy and focus of various institutions can provide solid insight as to the banks you are considering whether they are a possible fit. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, set an appointment to sit down to learn more.

2. Does the bank provide the array of products and services your business truly needs?

Again, the internet is a great place to start, however sitting down with a business relationship banker will allow you the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what products and services the organization has to offer.

3. Will your bank be honest with you?

There will be times when it’s just not possible to obtain the financial products you are seeking. A good banker should be willing to sit down and review your financials with you in detail and work to explain what areas may need to be addressed so that you are able to secure the financial products and services desired in the future. Learn from the setbacks as much as the successes. Every action is an opportunity to learn something towards achieving goals.

A simple truth is that regardless of size, no bank can be all things to all clients. In addition to the overall client experience, businesses need to be sure their bank is a good fit for what is needed to grow and operate their business.

Having a relationship with your banker is invaluable. A good banker will earn their role as a Trusted Advisor, to be invested in the growth and success of your business and work closely with you.

There is tremendous value in working with a client-focused, relationship-driven banker who will invest the time necessary to get to know your business and understand its unique needs. An important ingredient to lasting success is for businesses to develop long-term relationships with bankers who demonstrate expertise, experience, and dedication to their success.

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