A Roundtable member recently announced her annual banking review is coming up. She likes her banker with whom she has had a long-standing relationship. But she is thinking about shopping around in order to save money.
The group peppered her with questions.
- How long has she been with this bank? Other than possibly saving money, why would she want to switch?
- What additional services was she looking for in a bank?
- Does her bank understand her business?
- Does she feel comfortable sharing information with her banker?
- Are there additional fees for common transactions?
- Are there services she needs that her current bank doesn’t offer?
One member shared that he had shopped bankers several times looking for lower interest rates. He finally shopped himself into a situation where his banker had no experience with his type of business, no history with the company, and no patience when the economy soured, and the business needed working capital. The banker nearly pushed him into bankruptcy.
Banking is a long-term relationship. You want a bank that understands your industry, creditworthiness, and seasonal borrowing needs. An ideal banker will look for opportunities to offer more services and will listen if you run into a financial emergency.
Look at competing lenders every few years and determine if they’re willing to devote time to a new business owner. Although switching banks can be a hassle, let your banker know you’re shopping around. They may be willing to sharpen their pencil and find additional services and/or savings for you.