How to tell if your bank is a small business champion

Ryan from Xero offers some advice for how to tell if your bank is on your side. – WizeOwl

In today’s financial landscape, where fintech pioneers are transforming the customer experience with technology, small businesses can often be left behind when it comes to banking.

The proliferation of cloud and mobile technology means small businesses are now accessing some incredible technology helping to managing finances and the day-to-day of their operations – boosting productivity and empowering owners to achieve their goals in the process.

With many banking institutions making the move to meet their customers where they’re already working – with direct, secure bankfeeds in platforms like Xero – it’s more important than ever for small businesses to understand whether their bank of choice is a small business champion.

Once you’ve had time to get a good understanding of what it’s like to do business with your bank, and especially as your business grows, you should periodically shop around. Here’s how to tell you’ve chosen the correct bank for your small business.

Vendor or partner?

While in its infancy, the financial web – a network of organizations securely sharing financial data – is behind the push for banks to deliver more than traditional financing and transaction services.

There lies the opportunity for banks to redefine their relationship with business customers; accounting for the customer’s preferred financial workflow and simplifying their lives. This is the moment where banks can help small businesses thrive – transforming the relationship between the two to a partnership rather than a transactional relationship.

When you think about your bank or your banker, which word accurately describes your relationship? Is it vendor or partner? Do you picture them as a commodity provider or do you have a business relationship with them that you value highly?

If you see your bank or banker as an entity who simply promotes or exchanges goods or services for money, you may have a vendor on your hands. Your banker should be a partner, someone who is an associate and a collaborator.

You should have a real relationship with your banker, one that is based on their genuine understanding of your business and desire for it to succeed. Your bank should have an offering of products that are designed to meet the specific needs of your business.

This commitment to your business’ individual needs should be met through services that, for example, simplify and improve how you pay and get paid.

The right digital experience

Small business’ needs tend to fall to the bottom of the list when it comes to digital banking services like bill pay. More often than not, these services are designed for consumers and corporations first.

As a consumer you’ve likely had your expectations of technology set by user experience- focused tech innovators like Amazon and Uber. The easy and integrated experience you’ve come to expect from technology should translate over to your bank’s digital experience.

Payments should be in the background, rather than the foreground, of the experience. So while your bank should focus on creating a relationship, they should also be integrating the digital and in-branch experience

A bank that builds strong relationships with their small business customers and delivers products and services tailored specifically to your needs is one that is likely to help you thrive.

Ryan was part of a panel at American Banker’s Small Business Banking conference discussing how banks can better engage with their small business customers.