The key elements to a great banking relationship can be summed up in three words: Reliability, Responsiveness, and Reputation.
Reliability: Trust is the foundation of most relationships, and it’s no different when developing a banking partnership. Who do the people you trust trust? References often start the most successful banking relationships. Are you confident that your banker will always act in your best interest?
Responsiveness: You also want a banker that knows your business, your industry, and the rewards along with the risks. It’s easy when times are good, but the value of a strong relationship comes to the forefront when times are tough. Is your banker there when you need them, or are you calling a 1-800 number? Can your banker impact the decision-making process, or are they beholden to the wizard behind the curtain?
The answer doesn’t always need to be “yes,” but a good banker should be able to get you a response quickly, explain what they can do, and advise you on your next steps.
Reputation: It’s great to find someone you can trust and will be there for you and your business, but you also need to know the bank behind your banker. Do you see the bank in your community? Are they known for riding both the peaks and the valleys of the business cycle?
Originally published in the Small Business Monthly's Ask The Banker Column in June of 2023 by Pete Zeiser, President - Chesterfield Commercial at Midwest BankCentre.