Interview Your Banker

Once you have found a financial institution to house your business banking relationship, then you need to find an advocate banker. Don’t pass up the opportunity to really get to know your banker. Ask them the hard questions. Find out how long they have been in the industry. Do they know about your industry and business? Do they know who your competition is? Do they understand your pain spots as a business owner? What are their hobbies? What goals are they required to meet for their job? How does your business fit into his/her portfolio?

There are many bankers out there and all of them have their own motives. Some are young and hungry for business while others are more established with a large portfolio. Many bankers have lots of experience and others have minimal experience. Some are industry specialists, some focus on deposits and others on loans.

The bottom line is this: You must find a banker who will be an advocate for your business. Make sure the banker will go to bat for you. She/he really needs to like your business and you. It is important that they know you well enough that they can stick up for you in loan committee. It is also important that they understand your industry so they can support their assumptions about your business with specific facts and experience. Each of these things will help you identify a good advocate that will go to work for you.

Identify some key characteristics that are important for your banker to have. Then prepare some questions you would like to ask your banker. Don’t just select a banker by default. Make sure you take the time to find a banker that will go to work for you. You don’t want to become another client in their book of business; you want to be an individual and friend to the banker.

The relationship will take you a long ways in getting what you need from the financial institution you have partnered with. Have fun testing the waters.

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