4 tips for finding the right banking relationship

Learn more about strategies for middle market executives searching for banking relationships they can trust.

In a changing rate environment, C-suites strive to be as prepared as possible. Executives in the middle market, in particular, aim for stability. Mid-market players require investment to initiate strategic pivots, but their limited resources also make them more risk conscious than their larger counterparts. To keep growing in the right direction, they depend on lifelines they can trust. 

Corporate finance officers in the middle market can and should rely on their bankers for advice. It’s a strategic financial advisors’ job to understand trends, foresee risks, offer information and make the unpredictable a little more predictable.

Just about anyone can write out bullets addressing news and weighing options, which is why, when it comes to finding the right banking relationships, C-suites rarely stick solely to the numbers. Rather, they’re looking for what we all look for: people they can trust.

But, also like with close friends, finding such relationships in the banking sector can be challenging. Like any other business relationship, trusted advisors must be properly vetted, cultivated and managed to thrive. Here are a few tips on approaching strategic financial relationships that you can feel good about. 

  1. Optimize for human

Relationships are fundamental to banking—they combine trust, research, intellect and genuine friendship. Ultimately, the human components add up to a holistic approach that outweighs any single feature a bank has to offer. The person across the table—and whether you trust them—will dictate your relationship going forward. Weigh all relational factors to find the right fit. 

  1. Rely on reputation

It’s a numbers industry—so reputation, like relationships, can sometimes get downplayed in favor of metrics. But, in a way, reputations are the overall result of an individual or entity’s professional interactions. When it comes to choosing a strategic financial advisor, let reputations—usually in the form of recommendations, references and word of mouth—guide you.       

  1. Knowledge is key

The more knowledge a banker has, the better. Specialization is a key differentiator. Specialized bankers are steeped in market nuances and can assess risk and determine solutions across industries. Accurately mapping the trajectory points of today's economy relies on bankers with the most knowledge about trends and common challenges. Target banking relationships known for specializations in your relevant fields.               

  1. The best tools win

The one thing you want to know entering any environment is that you’re equipped with the best possible tools. Strategic and technological innovation is a must, because it means you’ll have similar functional advantages to other top players. It also indicates that your chosen institution remains committed to adopting and implementing cutting edge tools—a sign that they’re worthy of your business.

It’s vital for middle-market finance teams to make strategic decisions about their bank. Mix intangibles like human relationships and reputations with more tangible factors like industry expertise and technology adoption. Use this guide to find the right banker you can trust.

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