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ARCHIVED  August 27, 1999

How to pick a business bank

How do you pick a bank for your business?
As with most business dealings, how well the bank works for you depends on the type of relationship you develop with the key officer and his or her staff. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do you get good service? Do they give you individual attention? Do they take the time to get to know your business? Do they call on your business?
Once you get past the relationship issues, you need to look at the types of services and products offered. For example, many business people are discovering that they can have 24-hour access to their accounts through online banking. This means they can be anywhere in the world, be it Europe, Asia, South America or simply their home office late at night, and still transfer funds from one account to another, check on a balance, or ensure that a loan payment was debited. As long as you have a computer and a modem, you can essentially be your own banker. Not all banks offer online banking, but it’s worth checking into.
Most banks do offer similar menus of products, though this hasn’t always been the case. Where they do differ is on cost. A few pennies here and there may not seem like a big deal, but in the long run, it can add up. For example, monthly fees for commercial accounts are $10 to $12 at some banks, and just $4 at others.
The size of the bank can also mean a difference in the service you receive. Increasingly, small-business owners are seeking out smaller, locally owned banks due to frequent restructuring and turnover at some banks owned by large regional and national holding companies.
Larger businesses — say with 200-plus employees and $10 million or more in revenues — likely will need to look at larger banks to meet their financial management needs. A potential downfall of the larger banking chains, however, is that due to their size and multistate locations, customers often are directed to a centralized toll-free telephone number and documentation is kept in a centralized location. So if a payment problem arises, often getting the necessary documents to correct the problem can take valuable time.
And lastly, check to make sure the bank is Year 2000 compliant. You don’t want any surprises come Jan. 1.

How do you pick a bank for your business?
As with most business dealings, how well the bank works for you depends on the type of relationship you develop with the key officer and his or her staff. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do you get good service? Do they give you individual attention? Do they take the time to get to know your business? Do they call on your business?
Once you get past the relationship issues, you need to look at the types of services and products offered. For example, many business people are discovering that they…

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