Choosing the Right Commercial Banking Partner for You, Part 1

Posted by Melinda Toy on Feb 19, 2016 06:00:00 AM

Topic: ALL

Businessman looking over commercial partners on a tablet

Choosing the right commercial banking partner comes down to several key factors. It also hinges on taking a good look at your banking relationship, and if it meets your business' exact needs. Changing banks is an unpleasant thought for any business owner. The process of undergoing another rigorous credit approval process, collecting and disclosing financial information, opening new accounts, and setting up and learning new processes to manage your finances, is a daunting task.

However, when your banking relationship disappoints or causes headaches, it's time to say, “That's it - I want a better banking partner!” That’s when it’s important for you to carefully examine essential criteria and choose the right bank.

What are some reasons why you may want to switch banking relationships?

  1. Your relationship manager has become out-of-touch with what you and your business need. You probably had a produtive relationship in the beginning - your banker stuck with you through the early phases; made an effort to become familiar with your business cycles; and followed up regularly. However, over time, contact with your banker faded, and you no longer hear from him/her regarding your questions or concerns.

  2. Your business and its needs are not your banker's top priority. Your banker has a list of products and services to sell you, and rarely gets back to you with answers about your concerns. For instance, your business’ outstanding credit need is overlooked or ignored.

  3. You had a negative experience. Maybe it happened directly with your relationship manager or perhaps bank office staff was rude or dismissive of you.

  4. Your banker moves to another financial institution, and they did not notify you personally. 

  5. Your bank closed or underwent a liquidation that didn’t allow you to continue your relationship.

  6. You are looking for a lower price.

Many companies get into the wrong banking relationship because they haven’t defined their needs clearly. The first step for you is to be specific about what your business' needs. As you prepare to meet a potential banker, consider the amount of credit you use; how important convenient locations are; and even more critical, how a potential relationship manager works with their current and prospective clients. Another aspect to review would be the quality of products and services offered. For example, if you conduct several international wire transfers a month, consider the infrastructure the financial institution has; how often they perform those type of activities; and if the process is secure and convenient.

In Part 2, we’ll discuss the next set of factors that should be examined when choosing financial partner.

Learn more about Bank Mutual’s Commercial team.