Trusted Advisors

Trust can be an overused word in the business world but a necessary concept. Through what seems like an endless stream of advertising messages, we are asked to trust products and brands. Politicians ask for our vote of confidence at the polling place. It can be both emotional and logical. Emotionally, vulnerabilities are exposed with the belief people will not take advantage of that openness. Logically, we assess the probabilities of gain and loss, calculate expected utility based on hard performance data, and conclude that the person or entity in question will behave in a predictable manner. In practice, trust is often what matters most. It is the fabric that binds employees to employers, customers to companies, and companies to their suppliers and partners.

When it comes to choosing a banking partner, today’s business owners and managers are looking for a relationship that provides them with expertise in their specific area and a bank that is willing to work with them as a Trusted Advisor to help achieve greater success. Woven into that relationship, businesses seek a bank that demonstrates a techno-savvy, client-focused, community-minded, and relationship-driven approach.

Any street corner bank – big or small – can handle the transactional side of banking. There are also non-traditional financial service providers entering the banking space and offering traditional banking products. These alternative financial service providers compete on price, and while low-cost providers and special one-off promotions may seem appealing at first, there is truly no long-term value generated for the client business.

Rather, it takes a team of Trusted Advisors who understand a client’s business to develop programs to meet their exact needs. It is that aspect that gives community banks a distinct advantage over larger institutional banks.

When looking to enter a banking relationship, businesses should seek out banks that have shifted from the traditional product focus to a more client-centric strategy, which tends to be more relevant and engaging while delivering solutions. In return, banks should be willing to cultivate an even deeper knowledge and understanding of their customers so they can tailor offers and services based on a customer’s account activity, needs and preferences.

When selecting a bank, a simple truth to remember is that banks cannot be all things to all people. By the same token, not all banks are created equal nor do they focus on the same core competencies. Businesses need to be sure their bank is a good fit for what is needed to grow and operate their business. Another consideration is the overall client experience.

Lastly, to achieve trust, banks must demonstrate their dedication to a broader purpose. They need to prove they are not just driven by quick profits, but also by shared values. There is tremendous value in working with a client-focused, relationship-driven banker that will invest the time necessary to truly get to know a business and understand its unique needs. The path to long-term success is for businesses to develop long-term relationships with bankers who demonstrate expertise, experience and dedication to their success.