David Meinert, owner of several Seattle businesses, including 5-Point Cafe, Big Mario’s Pizza and Onto Entertainment, recently switched his business accounts from Bank of America and Chase to Seattle Bank.
He says many small-business owners he knows are following his lead — they have also been wanting to make a move but were just waiting for someone to point them to a good local alternative. So if you’re fed up with the big guys and ready to transfer to a small bank or credit union, how do you find the right one? Attorney, author and small-business advocate Barbara Weltman provides these tips for a smooth transition:
Get referrals. Not all small, local, regional, community banks are created equal. Ask your circle of friends and associates for referrals. “Just as you would for finding a good doctor, lawyer or insurance agent, you have to ask around to find a good banker,” Weltman says.
Beyond your immediate circle, be sure to also ask around at networking events. It helps that small banks are out there looking for you, too. “I’ve met a number of small-business bankers at local networking events,” Weltman says. “They want new customers.”
Research the fees. “Let’s face it — banks have to make money, so you’re going to have to pay one way or the other,” says Weltman. “Obviously, there are monthly costs you want to assess — checking fees, check cashing fees, ATM fees, payroll deposit fees, direct deposit for employee payroll checks, business credit cards. They have a complete menu of banking services. You want to know exactly what it’s going to cost you.” Also, if you’re planning on joining a credit union, ask whether they charge membership fees.
Ask about small-business programs. “A lot of banks want to attract small business with special features,” Weltman says. Ask about low fee or no fee checking.
Source: Huffington Post | Janean Chun