6 Questions To Help You Evaluate Your Business Bank Relationship

September 19, 2022

Throughout 2022, companies in every sector have been managing through rising interest rates and inflation, not to mention ongoing supply chain and labor issues. Given the range of today’s economic uncertainties, now might be a perfect time to evaluate your relationship with your business bank. 

When every dollar and every decision count, taking the time to assess your banking relationship could save you money, create new efficiencies and even help you grow your business. 

Here, we break down six questions to ask to get a clearer picture. 

Is my banker a trusted advisor? 
As a business owner, you turn to certain people for counsel. You know they have your best interests at heart, with no hidden agenda. That may include your lawyer, accountant, and mentors or coaches from your business journey. Is your banker on that list? A financial partner will respond promptly to your calls and messages, give relevant advice and make constructive suggestions. In the current economic climate, those things are more important than ever. 

Is my banker proactive about contacting me?
Good relationship managers reach out just to check in, not only to sell new products. It’s all part of your banker wanting to know how things are going with their clients. Does your banker understand your business and proactively suggest solutions that are right for you? If not, or if you get the feeling that you are just a name on a client list, it may be time to look at other options. 

Does my bank understand my market? My industry? 
What differentiates your business from your competitors? What revenue targets are realistic in your sector in the next quarter — and the years to come? Where do you stand against the competition, and how is your company perceived within your industry? And most importantly, what comes next? Whether you’re in manufacturing, real estate, retail, tech, gaming or any other sector, a trustworthy financial partner will have deep experience and a detailed understanding of your market.

Does my banker ask questions about my business — and listen to my answers? 
In a strong partnership, asking the right questions leads to an exchange of ideas. Bankers look forward to having these conversations as an opportunity to learn about your goals, even helping you shape them. The 80/20 rule applies to these conversations, in that your banker should be listening 80% of the time.  

Is my bank evolving with my business? 
You’re keeping pace with rapid developments in your industry, and your banker should be doing the same. Finance is a fast-moving sector, and whatever business you’re in, chances are, there are new banking technologies that can help you reach your goals. Ideally, your banker can discuss financial products and services — perhaps even proprietary solutions for your industry — that are right for you. 

Does my banker understand the day-to-day in my business? 
The big picture is crucial, but a good relationship manager has a thorough understanding of the day-to-day details you deal with as a business owner. For example, a detailed grasp of your cash flow enables your banker to offer you treasury management solutions that fit your specific needs. Having a handle on your industry timelines means your bank can work to help you keep projects on track. To succeed, you deliver on customer expectations, and your bank should understand precisely what you need to make that happen.

Whatever your goals for the future of your business, it’s always a good idea to touch base with your business banker from time to time. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can offer, contact your Western Alliance Bank relationship manager today.