Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Advice to banks searching for business customers

Some of you may know, my "professional" career consists of corporate treasury and corporate risk management. What this means, in simple terms, I manage the insurance programs and banking programs for large fortune 500 companies. I know about cash flow forecasting and position, positive pay and lockboxes, foreign exchange and investments, and having knowledgeable bankers and subject matter experts at my beck and call. I am used to being taken to lunch and dinner to maintain the relationship.

I am also used to quality customer service on the personal level. I maintain enough balances in my non-interest bearing checking account, never over draft and have a bank credit card to make me a profitable banking customer.

If I go to a banking center one more time looking for a small banking specialist, and they put me with a personal banker I am gonna blow up. The needs of a small business owner and a personal account are completely different. Don't tell me you can get a merchant specialist on the phone, I know how to pick up the phone. Don't try and figure out what I need for banking when you do not specialize in it.

Very simple, if you have a roving small business banker, let the person know it. Set up an appointment. Direct them to a branch that does. I want to sit down with this person. I want him to listen to my cash flows and explain the best options for me. Guess what, if you are able to do that, the small business owner won't leave you to chase the best deal down the street. In fact, if they are quite happy with you, they will actually move their personal business to your bank.

I know one serial entrepeneur who sets up his bank accounts with Union Bank of California for one reason. When he was a small business person, Union Bank was the only one who sat down, listened, and helped him set up his bank accounts. Guess where his personal accounts are too?

I know that Wells Fargo has gotten quite good at courting small business but they do not have presence in Illinois outside of their mortgage operation. I am talking with Bank of America this week to see what they can offer.

Print Runner Inc.

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