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Buddy System

With innovative services, banks are creating new partnerships with small businesses.

This story appears in the March 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Roy Williams Sr. needed a loan to start New Orleans Depot Services in September 1996, he turned to New Orleans-based Whitney National Bank. After all, Whitney had served him well during the 20 years he'd banked there as owner of AAA Tire Finishing, a tire finishing equipment and supply company. When he decided to start a second business with his son Kirk, Williams knew his loan officer at Whitney would work with them to make it happen. And he was right. Just a few days after applying, the partners got an equipment loan and a line of credit for their shipping-container service and repair company.

Good relationships have always been important in banking, but these days, the relationship between banks and small business is rapidly expanding as more banks offer cash management programs, streamlined loans and convenience services to their small-business clientele. At Whitney National Bank, for example, Williams and other small-business customers can do more than obtain loans and lines of credit; they can also take advantage of a host of services under the bank's new Business Edge Banking program, which was launched in May 1996.

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