Tag Archive for 'credit union'

Small Business Advocate Poll: National Bank, Independent Bank, or Credit Union?

The Question:
With which of these three do you have your primary business banking relationship?

60% - National or large regional bank

36% - Independent community bank

4% - Credit union

My Comments:
In our most recent online poll, over 60% of respondents to our most recent poll chose “National or large regional bank” as the financial organization they have their primary relationship with. A little more than a third chose, “Independent community bank,” and only 5% said “Credit union.”

As you may know, for most of two decades, I’ve advised small business owners that not only should one of their banking relationships be with an independent community bank, it should be their primary bank - the one that has your deposit account and is your go-to bank for a business loan.

Blasingame’s 2nd Law of Small Business states: It’s redundant to say “undercapitalized small business.” This truth is why small businesses need a bank relationship that’s heavy on the relationship part; with a bank that has one of its founding principles to serve small businesses in the community, including making local loan decisions by humans, not computers.

I never said there was anything wrong with the big banks. In fact, I have recommended that small businesses should have a second relationship with a larger bank. One good reason is because if your business grows to a point where you have multi-millions in annual revenue, you could outgrow your beloved community bank and that’s when only a large regional or national bank will do.

But my advice to maintain a relationship with a locally-owned and governed community bank turned to prophecy when, in 2008, the national chain banks and the large regionals got caught up in the financial crisis and they basically abandoned small businesses. They didn’t do this to be mean; they did it to survive.

Big banks are trying really hard to recover the ground they’ve lost in the past three years, so perhaps their plan is working. Also, loan demand by small businesses is still very low, so the computer-generated, credit-scoring method of loan evaluation practiced by the big banks is not yet putting pressure on these relationships.

Nevertheless, I still believe that, regardless of any other banking relationship, a small business should have an active relationship with an independent community bank - if for no other reason than long-term survival.

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show I talked with my friend and Brain Trust member, Mike Menzies, President of Easton Bank & Trust in Easton, Maryland about the independent community bank landscape and how independent banks are faring in this economy. Click on one of the links below to listen or download.

The economy, small businesses and independent banks

The independent community bank landscape

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: What type of bank do you do business with?

The Question: What type of bank do you do business with?

38% - A large or national bank, with branches in more than one state

36% - A local community bank

15% - A local credit union

1% - I need to find a good bank

My Commentary:

Whether you know it or not, your bank should be your business’ best friend. We wanted to know about the banking relationships of our audience, so last week we asked this question: “What type of bank do you do business with?” The responses were a little surprising.

A little more than one-in-ten said they needed a good bank. Of course, this could mean either they don’t’ have a bank but need one - preferably a good one, or it could mean they have a bad bank and want a better one. Either way, this week’s poll should shed more light on this issue. Be sure to check it out below.

Almost the same number of our sample - 38% - said they did business with “a large or national bank,” as those who said they banked with “a local community bank,” coming in at 36%. This was a little surprising, since after the financial meltdown of 2008, large banks took a pretty major hit with small businesses.

The other option we gave our respondents was “a local credit union.” It was a little surprising that 15% said they did their banking with this sector. Credit unions are definitely working hard to become relevant to entrepreneurs.

On The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked more about how small businesses feel about their current banking relationships. Click here to listen or download.

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Check out other great SBA content HERE!

Working capital loans & independent community banks

Results of the The Small Business Advocate Poll from March 14:

The Question: As you grow your business over the next year, it’s likely that you’ll need a working capital loan to augment operating cash flows. If so, which of these options are you more likely to choose?

13% - National or large regional bank

31% - Independent community bank

22% - Credit Union

34% - “We don’t need no shtinking bank loan!”

Jim’s comment: For over a decade, I’ve been telling small business owners that their most reliable banking relationships, through thick and thin, would be one with a locally owned bank or credit union that practiced relationship banking. It’s good to see that of those who would currently consider using financial leverage, 80% would choose an option where relationships are valued more than a computer generated credit score.

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, Jim discussed the importance of having a relationship with an independent community bank with Gary Moore, founder of The Financial Seminary and author of several books, including Faithful Finances 101 and Spiritual Investments. It’ll only take 8 minutes to listen to what Gary has to say, he’s a pretty smart guy, and tell us your banking experiences - good and bad.

In praise of the independent community bank with Gary Moore

Small business capital acquisition even when the credit market stinks

This isn’t my first rodeo. The current recession is my 7th one to work in since 1969. As I have noted several times in the past few months, the single greatest difference between this downturn and others is the collapse of the credit sector resulting in a steep reduction of credit availability to consumers and businesses. In every other economic crisis since the Great Depression, when consumers and businesses wanted to make a purchase requiring some level of credit, there has always been a healthy and motivated credit industry standing by to help put purchaser and seller together. Not this time.

And this challenge is no respecter of size: Pharmaceutical players no less than Pfizer and Wyeth had to cobble together transactions from five banks in order to finalize their merger.

Thankfully there are some bright spots for established small businesses. Independent community banks are still lending to small businesses that have, or want, a relationship with those institutions. Credit unions are still hanging in there and expanding their influence with businesses. But for the most part, consumer credit firms and the big banks are MIA.

Notice my qualification word “established” in the previous paragraph. In my 2009 predictions, I said that, unlike previous recessions, the current credit dearth will not be kind to small business start-ups, which historically have relied heavily on the founders’ personal credit lines, including home equity, to capitalize their new small business baby. Consequently – and sadly – start-ups will not play as large a part in this economic recovery as they have in others.

Also in my 2009 predictions, I said that the Obama administration would deploy part of its stimulus efforts through the Small Business Administration. The president should expand the influence of this well established channel to help small businesses acquire the capital they need through their local banks, and I think this will come to pass.

Recently on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, iBank founder and Brain Trust member, Tom Markel, (www.iBank.com)talked about the state of the credit landscape, plus his own proposal for what he thinks President Obama should do for small businesses in his first 100 days in office. Be sure to listen to the wisdom of this important voice on small business capital acquisition, including his multi-step small business stimulus proposal for President Obama. And don’t forget to leave a comment.




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