Critical questions for choosing a commercial banker

On the Money

There are many factors to consider when seeking a business loan, including cost, but the best bankers are those who provide relationships and services tailored to you and your business.

Entrepreneurs—especially those in the middle market commercial and business segment—need a versatile, well-financed bank that offers the types of funding and bankers with expertise to help them succeed and grow. A banker who truly understands your business and communicates your needs to your bank’s decision-making team is critical to your success. Here are some questions to help you find the right fit:

  • How often will your banker meet with you—and do you have the opportunity to meet with the bank’s president? Before you open an account or seek a loan, make sure you’ll have access to your banker when needed and learn about your daily contact and support team, such as commercial loan specialists and local treasury management contacts. Meeting with the bank’s president provides additional insight into its commitment to you and retention of your business.
  • Does the bank have experience with your industry and the services you need? After you determine that a bank is knowledgeable about your type of business, make sure its services match your potential needs, such as traditional loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, equipment leasing – whatever it might be.
  • Will your banker focus just on the numbers? The best bankers are interested in all aspects of your business, such as your employees, partners and succession planning, and have the expertise to help you succeed and build for the future.
  • What is the bank’s approval process for loans? Some banks use loan committees to review applications, some use scoring models and others use a combination of both, depending on the type of business and complexity of the loan. Understanding the process up front will help you choose a bank that fits your type of business and timeline.
  • Will your banker help you network with peers or potential customers? Helping your business succeed goes beyond providing the latest cash management services and loan approvals. Connecting you with valuable contacts can spur your business’ growth.

-Jasin Pasho is Milwaukee market president for Wisconsin Bank & Trust.

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