Lay Low

How to find a bank that's right for you
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the October 2000 issue of . Subscribe »

Q:We manufacture clothing and are unhappy with the new owners of our bank. What's the right bank for us?

A:Be careful. The bank may not like you, either. New owners usually redesign a bank and its customer base to a new pattern. Apparently, you don't fit. Don't give them a reason to cut you out until you find a new bank. Make all loan payments on time, don't overdraw accounts, and be pleasant and cooperative.

If you need credit, look for a bank that specializes in the garment industry. Check with your trade association for member banks. Which banks advertise in your trade publications and attend industry conventions? If you don't need a bank in your industry, find a bank interested in companies of your size.

For any bank you consider, look at its list of directors. Don't bank where competitors, suppliers or customers are directors and might see your loan application. Advisory or community board directors don't count.

If you just need business and payroll accounts, talk to other business owners in your city. Look at the endorsement on checks received from customers. If you bank where they do, you can collect their checks faster.

Whenever possible, I direct my clients to smaller, locally owned banks. These are less likely to have one-size-fits-all service and credit biases. And you have a better chance of dealing with senior decision-makers.

Today there is little to fear about the safety of banks. Contact me if you want to check out a bank's soundness. With a little work, you can weave a new relationship.


George M. Dawson is a business consultant and author of Borrowing to Build Your Business: Getting Your Banker to Say "Yes" (Upstart Publishing, $16.95, 800-235-8866). Send him your financing questions at bsumag@entrepreneur.com.

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