In today’s economic environment, businesses have to get the most out of their employees and remote banking allows employees to focus on tasks that benefit the business. By eliminating the need for them to leave the office to make deposits and handle other banking tasks, businesses can save time and increase productivity, says Stephen Klumb, senior vice president and chief lending officer for National Bank & Trust.
Remote banking also offers a high degree of accuracy and control because you’re handling your own transactions, you are able to keep a close watch on which transactions have occurred and when they are finalized.
“It’s almost like being your own banker,” says Klumb. “You’re making transactions, moving your money around, setting up automatic bill paying and handling your own deposits, all from your own office.”
Smart Business spoke with Klumb about the benefits of remote banking and how it frees businesses to customize their banking relationship.
Are companies limited to banking at the nearest location?
Some people have the mindset that walking into a physical location to service their banking needs is necessary. That may be true for retail customers, but from a commercial perspective, it really isn’t. Our commercial team goes to customer locations, and thanks to technology, we can do far more for them. Commercial customers can, for example, use a remote capture system to make deposits. With remote capture, a small machine at your business allows you to run checks through and get credit for the amount at your bank the same day.
Another remote banking option is Automated Clearing House, or ACH. This secure payment system allows your customers to send payments they owe you electronically from their bank directly to your bank account, speeding up your accounts receivable. You can also set up the reverse, allowing transactions to leave your account and be automatically received by your vendors.
How can a business keep track of its remote transfers?
Commercial banking customers can track their transfers with online banking. Those customers can sit at their computer, sign onto the bank’s website with total confidence that their information is secure and discrete, and transfer money and make payments.
When it comes to payroll, Positive Pay is an option in which no checks are paid until you release them, which helps eliminate the possibility of fraud. You can also get involved in Bill Payer, which sets up regular, automatic payments of bills, similar to what consumers use for personal use. Further, just as consumers can access cash and make deposits 24 hours a day through ATMs, so can businesses. Commercial customers can also use mobile banking on a phone for their business needs, and new apps are making this method increasingly popular.
Is there any reason a business owner would need a physical bank?
In regard to having a need for a physical bank, your commercial lender should set up meetings once per quarter to keep up with what’s going on with your accounts both past and present. But you can also go online, pull up your accounts, your transactions and your balances, and you’ll see the same things a branch manager sees. This service, and others, like Remote Capture, will minimize the trips made to a banking office.
In the event that you’d like to discuss a grievance, there is a number you can call that will put you in touch with a representative to handle it.
Most borrowers don’t call a branch if they have a problem with their commercial loan, they call their commercial lender. Your assigned commercial loan officer is available to handle any issues, typically within 24 hours, and can be accessed by cell phone and email.
Today, when closing loans, many lenders will go to the customer, as a lender’s office is usually his or her cell phone. Lenders will most often meet business owners where they work to close loans or review documents. There also may be occasions when a business owner might not want employees to know he or she is working with a bank, so lenders can meet them anywhere they’d like.
Are there costs associated with remote banking services?
Often, the costs associated with remote banking services are absorbed by the time and extra costs often incurred when not performing these activities electronically. Other costs may vary depending on banking activity and account relationships. Overall, most customers find remote banking services to be a very cost effective part of their financial practices.
How computer savvy do a company’s employees need to be to utilize electronic banking services?
Most companies on the commercial side have accountants or managers who are very knowledgeable when it comes to these things. And once they’re trained to use the systems, the benefits most often outweigh any anxiety.
However, to ensure a smooth transition, when a bank sells the service, it generally teaches customers how to operate them. For example, with remote capture, bank representatives will explain how to operate the machine when they bring it to the client’s place of business and they’ll leave a phone number for questions.
With online banking, there is a tutorial available to walk the user through the program, and in some cases, the person selling the service will take along a laptop to show those at the business who will be using the service how the programs work.
Stephen Klumb is senior vice president and chief lending officer with National Bank & Trust. Reach him at (800) 837-3011.
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