How to get the most out of your relationship with your banker

May 16th, 2014 Steve Hicks
banker small business relationship

A good bank can prove to be an invaluable ally to a small business, not only by helping its owner borrow capital, but also working with him or her to plan for the future and assure potential customers of the business’s stability and credibility.

But just like so many other things in business, when it comes to getting the most out of your relationship with your banker, you get what you put in.

Here are three tips for getting the most out of the relationship with your business banker.

Tip #1: Get to know your banker.

As a business owner, you know the value of relationships. In today’s business environment – with all its ups and downs – it pays to have trusted advisors you can count on.

Take the time to get to know them, their interests and their family. On the flip side, ensure they understand the ins and outs of your business, and that they get to know you on a personal level. After all – it’s a two way street.

Your customers invest in you and you pay them back by ensuring their needs are addressed. You should enjoy the same benefit from your banking relationship.

Tip #2: Use them as a sounding board.

Business bankers work with all sorts of businesses – whether it’s start-ups, well-established businesses, companies that are going through a rough patch or those that are growing at an exponential rate. Chances are your banker has worked with another company that has experienced similar things to what you are currently going through.

Take advantage of this experience by using them as a sounding board. Ask for perspectives on current issues you’re dealing with or on insights about operational challenges or a new idea you might have. You might be surprised at the things you learn!

Tip #3: Communicate!

If you only visit your banker when you need something, chances are your relationship isn’t very strong.

Whether it’s good times or bad, your relationship with your banker will benefit tremendously from open communication. The more your banker knows about your business, the better prepared he or she will be to help you when challenges arise.  At MidWestOne we work very hard to get to know our customers and learn about the challenges and successes they’re having.

Put as much effort into nurturing your relationship with your banker as you would put into landing a big customer or hiring a new member of your management team. You will land a trusted ally who can help you and your business succeed. 

About the author

Steve Hicks is a Senior Vice President, Regional Manager, at the Oskaloosa branch of MidWestOne Bank.

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