When deciding where a law firm wants to do its banking, influencing factors are typically interest rates, fees, fund management, etc. While these are obviously important, some firms focus too much on the bottom line and fail to consider the value of their banking relationship.
Having a good relationship before you actually have to rely on a bank is advantageous because you should have access to a variety of options to help your firm thrive financially. Banks are also more likely to work with you to optimize your account and will provide the personalized attention you need if you have a long standing relationship with them. Here are some ways to build a strong relationship with a bank.
Look Into Services
First and foremost, make sure a bank offers the range of services your law firm needs. Because commercial banking differs from personal accounts, you will want to look into services like business loans, Internet banking, lines of credit and safekeeping of documents. Knowing you’re on the same page in terms of services and that a bank is capable of fulfilling your needs is crucial or establishing a relationship will be difficult.
You also want to know that a bank is willing to work with you and is flexible enough to adapt to your firm’s unique situation. That’s why you may want to think about working with a community bank instead of a large financial institution. Smaller banks tend to be less rigid in their policies and often have more flexibility as a result. In many cases, they are more willing to accommodate your firm’s specific needs. Big named institutions, on the other hand, sometimes have little leeway, which can be a hindrance to your banking.
Get Unbiased Feedback
Speaking with other firms and businesses that are currently using a potential bank is an effective way to get a sense of what you can expect. In particular, it’s important to ask about the quality of service that others have experienced and whether or not they would recommend the bank. Getting this type of unbiased feedback should increase your chances of laying down the foundations for a great future.
Once you have made your decision and chosen a bank, do everything possible to maintain open communication and remain on friendly terms. If you visit a particular branch, it’s a good idea to remember names and be on a first name basis with staff members. You should be polite and try to achieve some level of rapport that goes beyond regular banking. Getting staff members to see you as a person and not merely as an account is vital for building a relationship. Often, they will go out of their way to keep you happy because they value your business.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555