Choosing a bank for your business can be a lot like choosing a doctor: there are objective factors to consider, but it really comes down to the aspects of the relationship you value most.
When it comes to choosing a bank for your business, you’ll want to take your time and do your research. Consider what your needs are before you start conversations. What is a must-have versus a nice-to have? Don’t just think about the current state of your business – think six months, one year, five years down the road. After all, the decision of which bank to choose could affect the amount of time you spend dropping off checks or impact your ability to get a loan that will help your business grow.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Lending Authority of Your Banker – For small businesses that are just getting started, it may be best to go with a community bank. Community bankers often have more lending authority than their large national counterparts, and are often more willing to lend to local businesses.
Community banks typically offer more competitive rates for small business loans than bigger banks do, and they may be more flexible with their offerings if you have a good working relationship.
Small Business Administration (SBA) – Just starting your business? In the market for a business loan? Choose an experienced banker with a strong knowledge of the SBA and their programs through start-up guides, learning centers and lending programs.
Products and Services – As your small business grows, so does your need for products and services that support your success. Along with more basic services like checking accounts, credit cards and online banking, you may have a need for merchant services, payroll support, equipment leasing and more.
Starting, building and growing your business is a labor of love, so choose a bank that understands your business and industry. Turn to your peers who already have a banking relationship – a referral is a great indicator of satisfaction. Throughout your relationship, your banker will act as your trusted partner, confidant, advisor and experienced consultant, so it’s important that you’re comfortable with and confident in their ability to support you and your small business.