Having been a business owner for 40 years, I know that making the decision to change vendors, after years of partnership, can be daunting. Now, apply that to switching a banking relationship, and the decision becomes harder. A proven track record and solid customer relationships are a driving factor in the success of our Pennsauken-based business, our best attribute has been the ability to adapt and tackle projects with a dedicated approach and attention to detail. We wanted a banking relationship that could do the same. Over the years, we have had numerous banking partners, not by choice, but rather because of mergers and acquisitions. Several years ago, I decided to branch out and end this cycle, and sought out a recommendation from a good friend and client at the time, their answer was WSFS Bank.
We first started B. Tait Builders as carpenter contractors that used to sub-contract work. Since then, we have grown exponentially from exclusively sub-performing work to now overseeing projects as the general contractor and construction manager, and even expanding services to include design build. We support a variety of commercial and industrial developments across the country, such as retail, shopping centers, food manufacturing facilities, food processing facilities, fitness destinations and car washes – and it was clear that we needed a financial partner to support us in all our continued growth.
Since working with WSFS we have grown from a “small business” to a “mid-size business” and have continued to grow through a pandemic. With their help we have navigated Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and ensured our teams could work remotely and remain safe, have transferred over our lines of credit, and in the coming months we are going to work on our first development loan together.
Now looking back, it’s easy to say that we made the right decision to change banking partners. But how did we make that decision to begin with? Below are some key points I’d encourage other business owners and financial decision makers of similar size businesses to consider when reviewing their current banking relationship.
1. What does customer service mean to your banking partner?
Customer service is key in any business, however, what it means can often vary based on the provider. Likewise, what your business requires from a customer service team might differ from another company of similar size. The important part is that your definition of customer service aligns with that of your banking partner. For example, customer service could be as simple as support when you forget your log-in information to your account, or it could be help processing loans or opening new lines of credit. Regardless of what your need is, make sure that your banking partner is able to support you and your business in ways that enhance your organization.
2. Do you know who is on your financial team?
In a world of technology, it’s easy to operate solely online. However, when considering the large role that finances play in any business, it’s important to know exactly who is on your banking team and the role that they play. Are you able to meet your team in-person at a banking location if needed? Is there one main relationship contact that you work with, or do you often get passed around to different representatives based on your request? A simple personal touch of knowing who is on your team and what they do to support your business can not only provide ease of mind, but is also helpful in crisis situations when you need help immediately.
3. Can your banking partner support your growth?
Financial institutions support businesses of all sizes, however it’s important to review how your banking partner can specifically support you and your business in terms of growth. When we transitioned to being a mid-size company, we knew there would be paperwork and processes to complete – however, we could never have imagined the volume of work that needed to be done in order to make the transition. WSFS was able to support us by making the paperwork and processes seamless, allowing us to continue focusing on our business and our customers.
Every partnership that your business enters is important, and should serve your business in a positive way. Like an attorney or legal advisor, the relationship between a business and a banking partner should be built on open and transparent communication, knowledge of your industry, and honesty and trust. The decision to change banking partners isn’t an easy one, and while the process of onboarding a new bank might sound daunting, the outcome could truly change the trajectory of your business.
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