It’s Business. It’s Personal. It’s Banking.
Fans of “The Godfather” likely recognize this line, delivered frequently throughout the classic episodic drama. The phrase also represents how some small business owners interact with professional services providers like their CPA, bookkeeper, attorney, or financial institution.
According to Holly Wade, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, it’s time to rethink the “it’s just business” practice and establish or continue to build a productive relationship with your banking professional staff.
Relationships and Return on Investment
“Whether it's financing a business expansion or a large capital expenditure, or even just extra working capital, knowing who to talk to at your bank certainly helps you receive the best financing terms and conditions available. While small business financing is becoming more automated, nothing helps more than knowing who you can call at your local bank,” said Wade.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a stark reminder of how helpful it can be to have a relationship with your local bank, and to have a small business loan officer at your branch who knows you and understands your business. According to Wade, applying for the paycheck protection program and for PPP loan forgiveness, plus having questions answered along the way, was most available to those who had a relationship with somebody at their bank.
Connections Deliver Financial Options
“The benefits of bank relationships go beyond the pandemic and can be helpful with future conversations about financing options that best suit your business,” said Wade.
Wade says business owners should schedule time with their banker—long before they need something—to help them better understand what’s happening with their business, future plans, what bank programs may support growth plans, and how the business owner might get involved with the bank’s community engagement activities.
“See what charitable activities your bank sponsors that you might be able to participate in,” said Wade. “Engage in conversation with your lenders when you're doing banking business. Don’t be a stranger at your bank. It can be a huge help down the road.”
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