Rob Soroka has played an integral role at Huntington in Ohio throughout the last eight years. Soroka has served as the regional group executive for retail banking and was appointed retail area manager in 2009. He previously spent 18 years at Bank One/Chase.
Q. Communication is important, of course, but how else can a business develop a strong relationship with its bank?
We try to drive a lot of trust with the customer. I hear it from business customers all the time: They need to trust the people around them. Having that trust is important. What you get then is a lot more information, and that’s important to have a high level of communication.
Q. How can a business work with its bank to save money and become more efficient in this economy?
I’ve been through several cycles, none this hard. One thing about this cycle is that rates are about as low as they can go and by design. That’s what the banks and the Fed wanted to do to help businesses get through this cycle. So we’re offering the lowest rates I’ve seen. In other cycles where we’re in a decreasing rate environment, we would do loan rewrites, but we pretty much made it through that. People are saving money on loans, so we’re turning our attention to treasury services, helping customers manage their cash flow. Are they taking advantage of discounts offered by their vendors? Can we invest some of the excess money sitting in their accounts?
Q. Is it any more difficult now than it was six or nine months ago for a business to obtain a loan from a bank?
It’s slightly harder because all banks are going to ask for more information. What we’re trying to do is determine what else we can do with information to help the client. The other week, we collected an accounts receivable aging where we wouldn’t have before, and in looking at that, the banker noticed a couple of things on how that company can manage that better. Ultimately, the client’s saving more money.