In today’s business world, I am surprised at how many business owners don’t know or regularly meet with their bank manager, more commonly now referred to as their ‘Relationship Manager.’
Whilst historically you might only ask to meet your bank manager if you had a specific need or problem, I would suggest that there is a significant gain to building a strong relationship with your Relationship Manager.
Relationship banking isn’t only about your bank’s bottom line and can prove beneficial to you, the business customer, too. Building a relationship with your bank, and establishing trust on both ends, means your bank learns to trust you to meet your obligations. Meanwhile, you can learn to trust them to meet your financial needs. The stronger that bond of trust, the more financially beneficial the relationship becomes for both parties. As one business commentator stated, “Trust is the foundation for all banking decisions.” (Peter Koh)
So what specific benefits might you get from building a relationship with your Relationship Manager? Firstly, known customers are likely to become highly valuable and notice that fees such as overdraft fees, monthly maintenance costs and unpaid item fees start to become lower.
However, the benefits of a relationship with your bank go beyond the obvious financial savings. Often when a bank is familiar with your business and current situation, it will take less time to gather information and make checks on what you report. This becomes highly beneficial when applying for loans, overdrafts and new accounts. It is also far more commonplace for valued and known customers to receive a higher level of customer service with one single person appointed to them to handle any need as it arises.
Belonging to a bank that is familiar with your financial status and history can also be extremely helpful when it comes to planning for the future. This is particularly valuable if your business experiences seasonal changes or is affected by general changes in the economic environment. Relationship Managers will be able to see these trends and work with long-term business customers to understand the intricacies of their businesses and talk through the fluctuations they experience.
Just as a relationship between people implies a higher level of trust and priority in each other’s lives, committing to a relationship with your account provider can provide many similar benefits. I therefore recommend any business owner make a quarterly ‘date’ with their Relationship Manager. Use this time to share your financial figures, show them the current business position and the growth you have or expect to see and be open about any difficulties or challenges you are about to face.