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Five things to consider when evaluating a bank.

Every small business owner knows running a small business comes with its own unique challenges. From cash flow to fraud prevention, your business’s financial and operational needs are complex. That’s why finding the right bank to meet those needs is possibly the biggest challenge. It’s crucial to find a bank that understands not only small businesses – but specifically your business, goals and unique situation. To help you find the right bank for you, here are five questions to ask as you assess your options.

Will you be assigned an account manager?

In their 2017 Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study, J.D. Power found satisfaction is higher among small business owners that have a dedicated account manager compared to those who don’t. An account manager should help you assess your growth potential, listen closely to understand your business and goals, and work with you to help you grow.

Will they work to understand your business?

Will they pay a visit to your business? How often will you be in contact with your account manager? It’s not enough just to have an account manager; they must understand your business. In their satisfaction study, J.D. Power also discovered that those with an account manager that didn’t understand their needs were even less satisfied than people without an account manager. Make sure your bank and the account manager will be passionate about learning the ins and outs of your operation. They should understand the unique nuances of your business to better identify the resources and services that best fit your needs, now and as you grow.

Do they have what you’ll need today – and five years from now?

Ask the bank to walk you through how they will help your small business through all stages of growth. Make sure you understand what products and services will be available to you along the way. Today, you may only need online banking to track transactions and help keep business and personal accounts separate. But as the needs of your business become more complex, you may need your bank to support global payments, advanced fraud security and more.

What does the lending process look like?

What support will you have as you apply? What does it take to get approved? Are they a U.S. Small Business Administration approved lender? Financing is a big part of any growing business, so you’ll want to make sure your bank will work with you to help it go smoothly. When it comes time to pursue financing, be sure to read “Guide for seeking financing for your business.”

Do they have experience with your industry?

Banks often offer specialty areas, and you’ll want to look for one with knowledge of your industry. The more an account manager knows about your industry, the easier it will be for them to understand your business. They can then better tailor strategies and solutions to meet your unique situation, help you anticipate challenges, whether it’s government regulation or cash flow, and make helpful suggestions. One of the best ways to find a bank that understands your industry is to ask your peers for a reference.

The right bank provides more than financial support. It serves as a true ally who cares about your business and your personal success. You’ll get the most return from working with a bank that works to understand your situation and presents solutions that make sense for you and your business. To learn more about small business banking at Commerce Bank, visit our website.