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Maggie Harlow

Sign Company Benefits to Partnering with a Banker

For those times you need “The Loan Arranger.”




THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN you, a business owner, and your banker is critical to understand and develop. All of us have a bank account, but not everyone has a relationship with a “banker.” While some of us have a close relationship with our bankers (see page 50), others may only talk to them when needing a loan. A good, engaged banker can make a huge difference to you as a business owner in a myriad of ways!

Engaging with your banker in regular conversation and discussions can offer you another advisor, educate you on the ins and outs of cash flow, give you an advocate when you need banking support, and even help with business development and sources of referrals.

Here are some steps and tips to help you figure out how to develop a relationship with a banker of your very own. They can help you get through underwriting. They can also help you with tasks and favors if you need them!

  • If you don’t have a “banker” at your bank, you can find one. Call your bank and ask if someone is assigned to your commercial account.
  • Invite your banker into a relationship. Reach out and schedule lunch or a tour. Maybe bring your profit and loss or balance sheet. Encourage them to teach you what they see in the numbers. Tell them about your business, goals, challenges and recent wins. Let them get a sense of what kind of company you have and where you are trying to go. Nurture the habit of conversation over time so they get to know you as a business owner.
  • If you don’t have one already, get a line of credit. Use it even if you don’t need it! The bank wants to make some interest on your credit line and see that you are able to pay loans back reliably. Let the bank see you do that. They want you to borrow the money and make use of it. Besides being their business, it gives them a sense of success and action in your company. If you are brand new in business, walk into your bank with any of your payments and ask to see your banker. Make your payment so they see you are successful, happily paying down the debt. Share your success stories with them.
  • If you don’t think your banker is effective, let them know what you need!
  • You can change banks, or even bankers. If you are unhappy with your banker, ask around among your networks. Your peers might have a banker they love whether at your bank or another. Don’t be afraid to interview bankers by having a visit and asking them questions. You can also ask your current bank for a new banker. Be your own advocate!
  • Great bankers can go to bat for you. If a banker knows you well enough to share your story and your successes, it can make an impact at the point that the bank underwriters decide whether to award you a loan or financial tool.

Some business owners become very close with their bankers. You don’t need to be best friends, but be sure your banker is someone you enjoy spending time with. A healthy banking relationship can be a savior at times when you need the bank’s support!




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