When shopping for a bank, keep in mind that you will be entering a long-term business relationship. It is a time to be picky and choose carefully, as the ramifications of your decision will echo in your business for a long time to come. Finding the right bank can make your life easier, but selecting the wrong one can be a fatal business decision.
When evaluating banks, you must know what you’re looking for, carefully evaluate your options, and seek advice from reliable sources. Here are a few specific ways to find a bank that will provide you with both excellent service and a comprehensive business banking package.
- Create a list. Before you start looking for a bank, you need know what you’re looking for. To that end, create a list of three things that the bank must provide in order to gain your business. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can evaluate each bank based on your business’s needs.
- Also, consider what items are not of importance to you. For example, a bank may provide topnotch investment services, but if you don’t plan on investing through your business bank, it doesn’t end up being a benefit. Know what you’re looking for, and don’t get sidetracked by options that will not serve your business.
- Consult business associates. Once you’ve made a list of what you need from your bank, turn to your network of business associates. Your associates have probably made similar decisions, and may be able to offer their opinion about various banks. Associates may also be able to make referrals to specific loan or investment managers within a certain bank. Ask your associates specific questions about the service of the bank and any individual employees they may have dealt with, as well as questions specific to the bank’s account, loan, and investment packages.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce. Your local chamber can provide a list of business banks that offer the services you need, and tell you about any prior complaints or problems. While the chamber shouldn’t be your only source of information about a bank, it can be a starting place for narrowing your list of options, and give you basic information that will help you begin your search.
- Conduct an Internet search. Start by browsing the Web sites of individual banks to see what they provide and compare their offerings. Consumer Web sites also offer a wealth of helpful information about banks, their offerings, and the kind of service you can expect.
- Contact banks and meet with their representatives. Once you narrow your list of prospective banks, the next step is to meet with a representative at each bank. Evaluate them based on their service, how receptive they are to building a business relationship with you, and the specific options and benefits they can provide your business. Always meet with at least two banks so you can compare them and make an informed decision.
The above tips will not only provide you with great starting places for finding a bank that meets your needs, but by following the checklist, you’ll also be prepared to choose a bank based on your own preferences and requirements. Consider your options carefully, and make an informed decision, as your banking relationship is one you will want for many years to come.