Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or a well-established mature company, partnering with the right bank, and the right relationship manager, can help propel your business beyond just financing. In the Pittsburgh area, there are banks on every corner, and they all want your business. However, it’s up to you to choose the bank that helps your business succeed long-term. A bank that works to advise. A bank that is inherently dedicated to your success.
For companies who are looking for that long-term banking partner, Standard Bank (based in Monroeville, Pa.) is a local community bank that still adheres to the advisory bank partner model and may be a great fit.
What does “consultative” mean for a banking relationship?
A consultative approach to lending and banking means the bank goes above and beyond simply processing a loan or opening an account. Their sales culture is different. It’s not pushy. It’s about conversation and relationship. For example, when applying for a commercial loan, you want a bank culture that begins with pre-screening and exploratory discussions to ensure the best possible chance of a successful approval. The dialogue often includes conversations with the credit underwriters on the front side of the request, which also helps with a favorable outcome.
Another trait of an advisory bank will be the fact that they truly take the time to understand your business, what makes it successful, and what risks you face. Each of Standard Bank’s commercial relationship managers have the good fortune of meeting and working with hundreds of local clients. That’s an immeasurable amount of learned experience that they can draw upon to help your business (industry related or not).
What if I own a well-established company?
Regardless of where you are in your business growth cycle, it is helpful to have a commercial relationship manager that can provide advice. This doesn’t just include their knowledge, but it includes the large network of experts that they have assembled from years in the industry. Maybe you have an accountant that is retiring or you suddenly need an attorney that specializes in a certain type of business law. It is possible that you are looking to buy out your partners as they are looking to retire or relocate. Regardless of your specific need, an advisory bank should offer you access to their large network of trusted professionals.
Navigating covenants and change
Here is another point to consider as your business grows in size and complexity: it is common to have covenants (bank required stipulations with your loan relationship) as a part of the financing package. It is important for the customer as well as the commercial relationship manager to understand the covenant(s), how they are calculated, and what happens if they are not met. A covenant violation can be a serious issue, and it is critical that your banker understands what created the violation (it could be a one-time scenario, changing industry concern, or something that could have been avoided with a different management approach).
Navigating through a covenant waiver can be tricky and can sometimes be avoided if you have a seasoned commercial relationship manager who knows your business and can provide solid advice. Covenants are just one example of why you want an advisor that’s on your side from the beginning.
Left, President Andy Hasley consults with Faye Rosatti, VP Commercial Relationship Manager, at the local Greensburg Standard Bank office
But isn’t rate most important?
Although some would consider commercial lending a commodity where only the lowest rate is the best choice, we at Standard Bank say that rate is only one component to a strong commercial banking relationship. When times are good and you have a status quo growth mindset, it is easy to forget how valuable it is to have a strong, advisory, commercial relationship manager and banking partner. Commercial loans and treasury management services are best tailored individually — and you shouldn’t settle for less. Rate is very important, but so are the other dozens of factors that go into a commercial lending and banking relationship. Rarely does a business make a decision on rate alone.
How do I begin?
If you feel your business would benefit from partnering with an advisory bank, Standard Bank welcomes you to consult with one of our commercial relationship managers. We’d be happy to talk with you! Simply visit standardbankpa.com/advisory to get started or call one of our community banking offices.
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