Imagine opening a menu at a restaurant and being faced with hundreds of options. Which do you choose? You could go the utilitarian route and just pick the first thing you see, but would you like what you ordered? Will it ensure the memorable culinary experience you were hoping for?
When it comes to choosing a bank for your business, the options can seem even more daunting than a 100-item menu. In fact, there are more than 4,000 FDIC-insured banks throughout the United States. So how do you ensure you’re not just choosing a bank, but the right bank for your business needs?
Jeff Crook, Commercial Relationship Manager at Village Bank, offers this piece of advice: “Look for a partner. A bank account is more than a commodity, look for a bank that will support you even through challenging times.”
With over 20 years of experience in business development, Jeff has worked with many small business owners who are growing or expanding their businesses. When searching for the right banking partner, he recommends first seeking out referrals from your professional network, looking up the bank on LinkedIn, and reading reviews. In addition, he recommends asking a few questions to determine if a bank is a good fit for you:
- What is the bank’s customer service like?
The first sign of whether a bank will be a good fit for you is its responsiveness. You should be able to speak with a real person when you call and not play a continual game of phone tag. “A core tenet of being a service provider is providing great customer service,” Jeff says. “A banker’s responsiveness to your needs is a good indication of how the relationship is going to go.”
- Are the bankers long-tenured?
Constant employee turnover is not a good sign at a bank. “If the employees aren’t happy, it’s doubtful the customers will be,” says Jeff. “I’ve been with Village Bank for 6 years and am one of the least tenured on the team! This speaks to the favorable environment we have at Village and that extends to the clients we serve as well.”
- Does the bank invest in technology?
As a small business in the 21st century, you want to work with a bank that is actively investing in technology to make your banking tasks seamless and efficient. Jeff says, “A bank’s investment in tech is an indication of a bank’s desire to be there long-term.”
- Does the bank invest in fraud prevention?
With cybercrimes on the rise, robust security and fraud prevention are critical components of choosing the right bank. “Bank robbers have taken advantage of work-from-home options these days,” Jeff notes. When looking for a business bank, make sure you evaluate the security measures they have in place, as well as their fraud prevention programs.
- Are they local?
Working with a local bank versus a bank with a larger footprint has its advantages as well. Jeff especially recommends this because of the advantage of being closer to decision-makers within the bank. “In a larger organization, I might have to get feedback from several different positions in a different city or state,” he says. “At Village Bank, our clients have access to the Bank’s Having this line of communication can be extremely important to clients at critical times.”
Ultimately, choosing the right bank to partner with can impact your business goals, how easily you can expand, and how convenient it is to manage day-to-day finances. At Village Bank, we treat our customers like family. You can be sure that you’re partnering with a bank that views you as a neighbor, not a number.