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The Importance Of Having A Local Business Banker

September 28, 2020

Who doesn’t love strolling the farmer’s market to get tips on the best way to enjoy seasonal produce? Or visiting a local boutique where the merchant knows your style and size? There are many benefits to shopping local, and what you might not realize is having a local business banker offers many of the same perks. Wondering how this person can help you? Read on to find out more about the importance of having a local business banker, and how to choose the right one for you.

Benefits of a Local Business Banker

1. They can give personalized attention.

A local business banker lives where you operate your business. They are a part of your community, and have time to devote to learning the details of your history and goals. Though many of our meetings are currently taking place virtually, the goal remains the same: getting to know your business and offering banking products specific to your needs.

2. They know the local business climate.

Economics vary widely geographically, but someone who is in your community is well versed in the challenges and opportunities you are facing. They can help you make the right decisions for your business and provide advice based on a solid understanding of your exact market conditions.

3. They can make faster decisions.

There is nothing more frustrating than waiting to find out if a business loan or line of credit has been approved. When you are dealing with a national bank, you often have to wait for several layers of approval or deal with an impersonal system that is looking to screen you “out” rather than “in.” Your local business banker has their finger on the pulse of the financial institution’s capabilities, and can help your loan move quickly through the required channels. They can also explain any extenuating circumstances that can help expedite approval. At Valley Strong, for example, we make decisions right here in the Valley rather than having to wait for approval from a distant headquarters.

4. They can help you navigate various options.

Coming to the realization your business needs a loan can be overwhelming. Then, having to choose which loan to apply for only adds to that stress. A local business banker can help you sort through the options and decide what will work best for you. Having an established relationship with a local banker also tends to expedite the process, as they have more time to devote to each of their accountholders and already have much of the information they need to start the process.

5. They value small business.

Many small businesses tell us they came to Valley Strong after feeling “ignored” by the larger banks because they are small in assets. Valley Strong knows, even the smallest businesses help the Valley prosper. We are here to offer personalized service no matter how large or small your bottom line.

6. They support your local community.

Whether it’s being a member of the Chamber of Commerce or donating to a local non-profit organization, local business bankers are invested in the same community you are. You will see us around town, serving on the same boards and supporting the same community. The Valley is as important to us as it is to you—our name says it all. We are working to keep it “strong.”

Finding the Right Local Business Banker

Wondering how to decide if a specific local business banker is right for you. Here are some questions you can ask:

1. What is their onboarding process like?

Look for a banker who will commit to learning as much as they can about your business and give you advice on the financial products and services that are right for you.

2. What services do they offer?

On that note, find out what your bank or credit union offers. If you need specific account functionality or type of business credit card, make sure those products are available. If you anticipate pursuing a small business loan or line of credit, ask about their process and qualifications.

3. Do they have the technology you need?

Most modern businesses succeed by using a combination of technology and in-person service. Banking should be no different. Make sure the financial institution you choose has the technology to make running your business easier, not harder.  

4. Are there sufficient branches?

Though we strongly believe technology is important, many financial institutions are turning to an all-virtual model which often does not meet a small business’ needs. Sometimes it is important to sit down to discuss an issue, challenge, or opportunity in order to receive personalized business advice from someone who knows your business. Most small business owners find they need a blend of in-person branches as well as online services for the greatest service and efficiency.

5. Will they provide the service you deserve?

You can tell a lot about a service provider by how they treat you when you first call in to get information. They should respond promptly and fully, giving you all the information you need. They should also listen to your concerns and challenges, offering suggestions of products or services that can help improve your business without making it all about the “hard sell.”  And finally, they should be respectful of your time and needs.

Know, it is important to ask friends, associates and fellow business owners what financial institution they use and what their experience has been like. Referrals and testimonials can help confirm you are making the right choice.

Convinced you should consider a local business banker? Here at Valley Strong Credit Union, we would love to help you get started. Businesses that bank with us appreciate our sound counsel, responsiveness, and commitment to helping them prosper. Contact us today to find out how we can help you grow your business.