A real relationship Featured

6:51am EDT November 4, 2003
You may have heard the term "relationship banking," but what does it really mean?

To the true banking professional, it means your bank is a business partner that is as interested in the success of your business as you are. Instead of seeing you as a one-time transaction in the traditional borrower and lender relationship, a bank practicing relationship banking builds a long-term partnership.

With relationship banking, you can expect continuity of service and stability from your relationship manager. The association is built on honesty, teamwork and friendship between you and your banking partner -- but the most important thing is trust.

When relationship managers understand you and your business, they can be proactive in helping you manage your financial needs. They can suggest when to refinance a loan, when to consolidate debt and when to utilize an operating line of credit. They can also give you advice on how to structure a loan when you are expanding.

As your partner, your relationship manager will match business services to your needs without overselling unnecessary services.

It always comes back to putting the success of your business first. That means your relationship manager may say no if the request might be harmful to the success of your business. Or he or she may offer an alternative solution you might not have considered.

However, relationship banking isn't just about building a long-term relationship. It's also about protecting your business. Just as you would consult a lawyer for legal advice or an accountant for tax advice, you need a financial expert on your side who can offer suggestions which could have a positive impact on your business's bottom line.

In short, relationship banking brings trust, experience, an understanding of the needs of your business, continuity of service and a comfort level to your business. It is banking for the long-term, not just a one-time transaction. Dan Flynn is a commercial lender with The Grange Bank. He is at the firm's South Front Street main location in Columbus. Reach him at (614) 449-5338