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Finding the right small business bank manager

The questions that you should be asking

There are many factors to consider when choosing a bank. Interest rates and charges will obviously play their part, but it’s essential to look at the quality of service you’ll receive from your bank manager.

After all, this is the person that you’ll deal with on a regular basis and the person you’ll need to approach for funding. You need a manager that will understand your business and one that you’re able to trust.

When looking at switching banks, don’t be afraid to ask to speak to the manager that will be dealing with your account, and when you do, make sure he meets your requirements.

To help you find the right bank manager, here’s a list of questions that you should be asking:

  • Do you really understand my business and industry? – Every industry has slightly different needs.

  • How long have you been in your job? – Ideally, you don’t want to keep having to build relationships with different bank managers. Continuity is key.

  • Can I reach you whenever I need to? – Or will I speak to someone working in a call centre whom I have never met? There is no substitute for having a contact who intimately understands your business and what you want to achieve. Not so easy to do over the telephone.

  • Are you able to make a quick decision when I need one? – We all know that if you really need to extend your overdraft for a short period you need a quick decision. Having to jump through lots of ‘hoops’ just eats up your valuable time. Few businesses can afford that.

  • Will I have one point of contact who understands who I am and, as importantly knows about my business? – The model-T ford approach to service is no longer good enough. One colour does not suit everyone.

  • Can I speak to companies you currently work with in a similar industry for a reference? – We all know that there is no substitute for third-party endorsement. All companies say they deliver great service, but do they really? You need to find out.

  • Will you provide more general business advice when I need it? – Getting the basics such as a checking account, credit card etc is simple. Businesses require far more. They want a bank that will deliver a lot more value.

  • How are you rated in the industry? – Have they won any awards recently, for instance? Again, third-party endorsement can be a powerful method with which to judge the success of an organisation.

  • Do you have the name of a company in your patch who you helped to grow? – Most businesses have similar aspirations – to grow, to improve profitability. Banks play a major role in helping to turn ambition into reality. You need to know that the bank you select can help you achieve your business objectives.

The more questions you ask, the more likely it is that you will have a long and fruitful relationship with your bank.

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