Michael A. Silva serves as senior vice president and group manager at Comerica Bank Western Market, managing the bank’s Middle Market North Bank and San Francisco regions. His main focus is providing full lending and depository service to middle-market companies and growing medium-sized wineries in the area. Silva has a bachelor of science in commerce-finance from the University of Santa Clara.
Q. What role does a bank play in assisting businesses in a down economy?
Because banks have the vantage point of seeing companies of all different sizes and across many different industries, your banker can share proven ideas and concrete solutions to help a company address issues, such as delayed customer payments, reductions in staff, building inventories or lower demand. As a company’s cash flow is impacted, it is important to discuss the changed circumstances immediately and keep your banker adequately informed.
Q. What are ways a company can work with its bank to save money and become more efficient?
Treasury products are one area every company should be analyzing. To effectively manage your cash position and improve payment processing, ask the basic questions: Are we collecting money as quickly as possible? Are we making it easy for customers to pay us? Are we controlling incoming and outgoing payments? Banks have products that can address each of these, from remote deposit capability and lockbox to electronic bill payments solutions and information reporting. There have also been advances in fraud protection and security measures to help control losses.
Q. What information should a business update its bank on?
Share information on any changes to the management team. Banks want to have confidence in the management and ownership of the company. Provide fiscal year-end financial statements and any interim financial statements on the company, as well as any major changes (positive or negative) in the product line, suppliers and customers. During performance discussions, it is very important to know where the company is versus its projections. Bankers don’t like to be surprised, so you can never share too much information on the state of your business.