The Right Bank for your Business
Finding a bank that is reliable, easy-to-access and supportive should be a top priority for small business owners. Choosing the right bank for your company could completely impact daily operations and become a solid foundation on which you build and expand your small business. As an owner or manager of a small business you will need to consider what the business’ current needs are as well as what future aspirations may be before choosing a banking institution. How then should a small business go about choosing a bank that is the “right fit” and what questions should be considered before a final decision on a bank is made?
- Bank Size – In the world of banking size does matter. Small, neighborhood banks offer an intimate and human level of interaction which could be advantageous when you need fast cash and can contact a member of the bank easily regardless of your balance sheets. The value of your good name might carry more weight in a smaller bank. A local bank’s mission is to help a neighborhood thrive so they may go above and beyond the call of duty to help your business grow. On the other hand, a bigger bank can offer better interest rates, more flexibility in loan terms and a larger offering of products to fit your needs. Investigate what your needs are as a business to decide to go with a larger bank or one that is invested in the local economy.
- Bank Features – Things to also consider when choosing a bank include any special features that may be offered to small businesses. For example: What is the fee structure like? Nothing is free so look closely at the fee structure for everything from using the ATM, writing a check, and getting a monthly account statement. But also take note of other bank services you may need down the road, including wire transfers and credit-card processing. In addition to analyzing fees ask: What are the current interest rates? Is online access easy? Does the bank specialize in your special needs?
- Compatibility – Do not underestimate the intangible aspects such as customer service and personal compatibility. If you have a good personal connection to your bank, you’re more likely to have a successful working relationship. Ask other small businesses in your area what banks they recommend if you want a good personal relationship with your financial partner.
- Technology – Is your company tech savvy and wants to take advantage of bill pay by phone or deposits by phone? Do you want easy platforms for online banking? Some banks embrace technology more than others so consider asking about what technology they practice for daily banking needs.
As you ask yourself these questions while choosing a bank don’t be afraid to go with your gut. Which bank feels most like the best fit? Meet with the business officer at each bank to thoroughly discuss your company’s needs and how they can be a vital partner in your business.