Bill Peele is the executive vice president, commercial banking line of business manager for the Atlanta region of SunTrust Bank. He has also served as the retail line of business manager for the Atlanta region. Peele joined SunTrust in 2002 through the SunTrust-Huntington Bank merger. At Huntington, Peele was the west Florida retail group executive and oversaw 70 offices throughout Florida.
Q. How can a business develop a strong relationship with its bank?
Relationships are most strong when there is ongoing communication and honesty. It’s a two-way street. The banker is investing time and preparing and understanding the industry, and the client has to be willing to really share its financials and help them get better.
Q. Are there any new programs that help a struggling business?
The America’s Recovery Capital plan through the SBA helps businesses that have the ability to repay but cash flow is tight. With the program, they can borrow up to six months of payments, up to $35,000, interest-free. It gives them a reprieve so that they can get caught up on expenses. It’s very good for small businesses that can pay but from time to time are past due on their loan.
Q. What are ways a company can work with its bank to save money and become more efficient in a down economy?
Technology plays a big role with business and saving money. If you’re having to cut out office staff, an online check depositor can deposit checks from the office. The owner can now save time by not having to sit in traffic. There are also merchant services where clients partner with Visa or MasterCard to get payments from clients on the spot, rather than sending out a bill and waiting 10 to 30 days for payment. These are products that can really help with cash flow and save time and money.