For Your Business, Great Banking Services – and a Great Banking Relationship – are Essential

If you own a small to medium-sized business, the choice of a banking partner is among the most important decisions you can make. Working with the right banker can make a huge difference in how you run your business and manage your money. But how do you know which bank is best for you?

Most banks offer a suite of services designed just for businesses. These typically include savings, money market and checking accounts; loans and lines of credit; payment processing and verification solutions; ACH transfers; mobile and online solutions; and more. Some of these are essential to the day-to-day operation of any enterprise, while others may be more useful to your specific type of businesses. So you can start by thinking about the services your business will require, then doing a little research to compare rates and terms. And because digital banking services are so important these days, you’ll also want a bank with a robust technology platform.
But let’s face it, a lot of banks offer a similar range of commercial services. So you really need to look beyond them and consider the type of relationship you need. Most successful business owners will advise you to think of your banker as a key strategic partner – one who can help you obtain funding in the best way, optimize your cash flow, and access the right resources to help your business run smoothly. Your banker should have the knowledge and experience to guide you toward your goals, and act as a dependable sounding board to address any financial issues that arise. Overall, your business banker should give you confidence that things are under control, your needs are being met, and your strategic direction is solid.
Talk to other business owners – and ask questions  

Before you choose a bank, you should make a point of speaking with other local business owners you know and trust. Ask about their experiences, both positive and negative, and whether they can recommend their banker without reservations. Once you have a few good options, visit these banks in person and meet the people who may be working directly with you.

And, by all means, ask plenty of questions. How well do they understand the challenges of your local economy, and your industry in particular? Can they provide any success stories or case studies that may be relevant to your situation?  Can they provide references – and allow you to contact these customers directly if you want to learn more? Most importantly, do you get the sense they’re just as committed to your success as you are?

The case for community banks

As you might expect, we believe there are many advantages to working with a community bank like ours. First of all, we bring strong knowledge of the local business landscape. We understand the challenges of businesses like yours. And we know that a thriving business community and the benefits it can bring to an entire region are critical to the success of our bank. In short, we are in this together. As a result, a community bank will likely be more flexible, responsive, and attentive to your needs. And it will typically offer direct access to decision-makers, so it can act more quickly to solve problems and seize opportunities.

You need a bank that puts your priorities first

Are you a new business owner opening your first account? An experienced entrepreneur looking to finance a promising opportunity? Do you need to restructure a loan to improve your cash flow? Streamline your payroll and payment systems? Whatever your situation, a good business banker will understand your priorities and address them in the best possible way. High quality banking tools and services are obviously important. But a supportive and productive banking partnership is absolutely essential.