Smart Business Solutions - Finance

Bank on This

5 keys to getting the most out of your banking relationship

Written by Jim McElgunn

The banks remain a mainstay of business financing, used by a massive 73% of the PROFIT 200. Here are five ways these growth stars have put their dealings with their bankers on higher ground:

Use an RFP process to select your bank:

Issue a formal Request for Proposals, as you would to choose any vendor. Developing a list of criteria with which to assess banks will help you identify which services you most value. You’re more likely to make a good choice after a disciplined review. And this process will probably alert you to useful bank services you didn’t know about.

Don’t expect your bank to be something it’s not:

It’s understandable to get frustrated at bankers’ aversion to risk.But you need to grasp that they’re suppliers of low-cost, low-risk capital—not investors in risky ventures.

Lower your banker’s blood pressure:

Take steps to convey that yours is a low-risk business. Your bank will welcome seeing you focus on clients with triple-A credit, using an accounting firm with an impeccable reputation (even if it charges more) and shifting your personal accounts to the same bank to give it a complete picture of your finances.

Don’t put all your eggs in one account manager:

Banks like to move their people around. Suck it up. Get to know people above and below your account manager, so you won’t have to start from scratch after she’s transferred.

Appeal to her sweet tooth:

Sure, it’s corny to send tasty treats to your account manager. But if it gets her to call back quickly when you really need her help, what’s the cost of a few Timbits?

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