Picking a bank for your business is a big decision.[cite::219::cite] It involves more than opening up a new account at your personal bank or finding an office that’s close to work. The right bank will work with you to understand your needs and help your business grow.

Here are some of the questions to ask in any banking interview.

Is Bigger Better?

Bigger banks may have a large number of customers and assets, but it’s easy for your small business to get lost in the crowd. You want to work with a banker that will take the time to get to know you, understand your needs, recommend products and services to grow your business, and build a long-term relationship.

Bigger banks may have stringent guidelines on lending. Community banks may have more discretion in business loans. They may also be able to be more flexible on interest rates, length of loans, and collateral. They will take into account your character and reputation rather than just looking at a credit score.

In addition, statewide and regionally-focused banks may have a better handle on local market conditions. Perhaps that's why more than half of all small business loans and commercial real-estate lending in the U.S. are handled by community banks.

“A good banking relationship is based on a banker getting to know his or her client,” says Brent Cannon, Executive Vice President, Director of Community Banking at National Bank of Arizona. “It doesn’t matter the industry or number of employees. We can bank with someone with less than $100,000 in sales up to $10 million.”

Bank Location: How Often Do You Visit?

If you’re a busy small business owner, you know how many times you have to drop by the bank to make deposits or do business. For some, it’s a daily task. When you think about how much time you can lose each time driving back and forth to a bank that’s across town, you can see why finding a local, community bank that is located nearby makes sense. With more than 50 local branches throughout our state, National Bank of Arizona has a location near you.

If your business requires regular travel, either in the U.S. or international, a larger bank with a larger footprint may provide a better solution. For most small business owners, however, the best bet is to work with people and banks in your community.

Can I Just Use sn Online Bank?

An online bank may be fine to get you started. As your business grows, so will your needs. You can’t sit down with your online bank and talk business strategy. In fact, you may not be able to meet with them at all. They may not be able to handle your business loans, especially if you are applying for an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan. 

Why Do I Need a Relationship with my Bank?

Like so many things in business, banking is about a relationship that is built over the course of time. It’s more than just taking out a loan or paying the bills. Business owners can count on their bank (and banker) to provide many valuable services:

  • Financial guidance
  • Providing loans at the most competitive rates
  • Easier approval processes
  • Helping develop financial strategy and goals
  • Help align banking and tax goals
  • Help manage cash flow better
  • Streamline payments
  • Optimize payables, receivables, and liquidity
  • Recommend fraud prevention tools

Bankers that work with small businesses often have a robust network of community contacts. They can recommend reliable companies and make introductions to potential customers.

Just ask National Bank of Arizona commercial banking customer Tim Murphy. Murphy is the CEO of Presidential Pools and Spas and relies on NB|AZ for his business. So does George Gebran and his family-owned U.S. Egg Restaurants, who financed their new building with NB|AZ, and Debbie and Robert Sweir of RDS Electric who have worked with the same commercial portfolio manager at NB|AZ since 2009.

It's stories like these that demonstrate why more small businesses say they are more satisfied doing business with a community bank than any other financial institution.

Local Relationships and Exceptional Customer Service

A good relationship can help your business grow. Working with someone who understands the local market, as well as your business needs, is the key to a beneficial relationship with your bank.

“National Bank of Arizona was founded on a mission of building local relationships and providing exceptional customer service,” says Mark Young, CEO & President of NB|AZ. “More than 30 years later, our approach hasn’t changed."

If you are interested in learning what National Bank of Arizona can do for your small business, let one of our personal commercial bankers show you first-hand.