- Written by webmin
- Published: 14 Sep 2010
Most people won’t start looking for a banker until they need money, which is a lot like looking for a spouse when you decide you’re ready to start a family. Finding the banker who is right for you takes a lot more time and planning than most people realize, and it’s something that should be done long before you think you’re going to need one.
Banking isn’t an event that happens spontaneously; rather, it’s a process that needs to be approached carefully and strategically. The first, and probably most important, step is to create a relationship that opens the door for the banking process. Greg advises doing all of your banking in person so that you can get to know more of the people at the bank. Ron adds that this is perhaps impractical for many business owners, but you do have to
know your banker and the staff. Make sure that when feasible, you don’t use the drive through for deposits, go in. Stop and say hi at least once monthly, perhaps while cashing a check.
But before you do that, you’ll need to
spend some time researching the banks that are accessible to you and finding out which ones would best meet your needs. In Ron’s book, Green Weenies and Due Diligence, it’s called a “beauty contest.” It means you’re going to size up the competition and see which one looks the best to you. But don’t worry — this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to see your banker in a swimsuit competition.
Lesson No. 1 – Looking for the Right Banker
Greg: Banks are like doctors. They specialize in different things. If your hand hurts, you’re not going to go to a heart doctor. If you v Getting to Yes With Your Banker v 36
have a brain tumor, you see a neurosurgeon. Banks are the same way. If you’re a businessperson, you need to find a business bank, not a consumer bank. For example, you don’t want to go to a credit union if you’re looking for a business loan, because they specialize in consumers.
You need to look at what your needs are and what that bank provides. Don’t try to fool a banker, they’ve seen it all, and know it when they see all hat and no cattle.
You also need to look at whether you need a big national chain or a local bank. If you have 100 locations, maybe it’s important for you to have a chain that can serve you in a lot of locations. But if you have a single location, maybe you would be better off with a local bank. You need a bank where you can go in, state your case and have the person across the table be able to make a decision. And if it’s for your business, you need to make sure that it’s a business bank. You have to find a bank that does what you do.
Ron: Personally, I think that all banks are greedy. Any bank that you call up and say, “I want to finance a car” or “I want to finance some equipment or get a loan for my company” — they’ll all say yes. I don’t think everyone knows whether a bank is a consumer bank or a business bank, so how do people find out?
Greg: You should be able to find that on the bank’s web site. Most banks’ web sites will tell you what the bank does. They’ll have some catchy lines and slogans that don’t really say anything; you have to go through all that and make sure that the bank can do what you need it to be able to do.
Once you’ve found the bank you want to do business with, how do you choose whom in the bank to talk to? All of the people on the lower floor of the bank are called “relationship bankers,” which is a b.s. term, but it impresses people. Anyone who walks in or calls the bank without knowing who they are going to meet is going to be paired with a “relationship banker.” All that means is that he or she is going to be dealing with someone at a very low level, who is very young, has a very low loan-lending limit and makes decisions based on very black-and-white numbers.