When an entrepreneur is searching for a small business bank, some important considerations exist. First and foremost, they should be certain the bank they choose “understands the business owner’s business,” says Michael Dinich, Advisor and Founder of Your Money Geek, a consultancy for small business owners and retirees about saving money in taxes, insurance costs and retirement costs.
According to Dinich, there are several matters to ponder when considering a bank for a small business. They include:
The availability of credit for small businesses
Whether the bank requires a minimum balance
The financial institution’s willingness to work with small business owners
The bank’s familiarity with the needs of small business owners
Minimum balance requirements come into play if the bank links them to a reduction in the costs of their services. Or, the bank could simply require their business customers to maintain a minimum balance to use their services at all. Depending on the amounts, these charges could sound the death knell for a small business, says Dinich.
Moreover, an entrepreneur should be certain the financial institution they select “is willing and eager to work with small business,” says Dinich.
Overseeing a small business presents a set of challenges that differ from those faced by large corporations. For example, a bank might ask the owner of a small business to personally guarantee loans to the enterprise, which generally wouldn’t happen with a large enterprise. Moreover, a small business may not attract the array of financing options available to larger outfits, another reason to be certain the chosen bank is small business-friendly.
One of the reasons it is imperative for a bank to understand the needs of their small business clients is so entrepreneurs can be assured the financial services they need are offered by the financial institution. “If the bank doesn’t understand the nature of the owner’s business, they may put unnecessary holds on funds, restrict access to wire or even report transactions as being suspicious,” cautions Dinich.
But by far the most important consideration for an entrepreneur when choosing a bank is the amount of credit the financial institution offers its business customers, says Dinich. He cautions small business owners to be wary of banks whose financing regulations are so strict the business owner might be forced to collateralize their own personal property to get a loan. Dinich says he has seen situations where a business owner used personal property to obtain a business loan only to be subsequently denied a home mortgage because their personal credit was overburdened.
The good news for small business owners looking for a business bank is there are countless financial institutions to choose from. Not only that, online banking and payment opportunities are also available to help the owner manage their funds.
“A small business owner should not settle for a bank that is not committed to seeing the business grow and succeed,” concludes Dinich.
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer who tweets as @girlwithapen. She is the Chair of the Marketing Committee of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.