Most banks offer a private banking service that aims to provide special treatment for their best customers, many of whom are business owners and executives.
“To be a member of private banking, it’s by invitation only,” says Michael Mackin, senior vice president at Key Bank. “We try to treat our members like clients, not customers. We are trying to be an asset to our clients, and wanted to be treated the same way they would treat their accountant or attorney.”
Private banking provides financial consulting as part of the bank’s service.
“Each account is handled by a relationship manager,” says Mackin. “Their job is to present clients with products such as loans and deposits, and to also to expose them to our insurance and brokerage services, trusts and money management capabilities. Our relationship managers help the customers through the web of the banking system.”
In private banking, relationship managers should be familiar enough with clients to understand their needs and match the product to the need, rather than just push products.
“We want to be considered an advocate for our clients,” says Mackin. “In some cases, someone else’s product may make more sense than ours. We build trust with our clients by offering that competitive product. We push solutions, not products.”
Clients deal with the same person all the time, and that person can call on a field of experts for specific advice if needed by the client.
Banks are reluctant to reveal the specific minimum requirements to qualify for private banking, but Mackin says the typical Key private banking client has a six-figure income and a net worth ranging from $500,000 to $10 million. In Key’s case, there is a $225 membership fee, offset by better deposit rates and waivers on several fees.