How to Choose a Bank or Credit Union for Your Business

A business account keeps you organized, simplifies tax time and makes your company look more professional. It also opens the door to other services with the financial institution you choose. That’s why it’s worth doing some research before you decide who to partner with. Here are six questions to ask yourself as you consider different banks and credit unions:

1. Do I feel like a person or a number?

Visit a branch to try out the customer service. Do you get a personal welcome, or do you have to take a number and wait your turn? How long do you have to wait to speak with someone? Do staff spend time getting to know you and your needs, or are they in a rush? Are you confident you’ll get good service even if you’re not one of the financial institution’s biggest clients? It’s important to find a bank or credit union where you feel heard so you can communicate your needs and goals effectively.

2. Can I get help with business planning?

Inquire about whether the financial institution can connect you with a professional, experienced and engaged business relationship manager who will assist you with strategic planning and forecasting for your business. You may also want to find out how long staff generally stay in their roles with the financial institution, so you can get to know team members and deal with the same employee(s) for advice and mentorship as your business develops and grows.

Also, try to get a sense of whether the organization is reactive (reaching out when it needs an answer) or proactive (reaching out when it hears about a new program, tax change or other initiative that can benefit you) and how often you can expect to meet with advisors or relationship managers.

3. How long does it take to get set up?

Find out how long you’ll have to wait to use your business account after you apply. Also, ask about other applications — for example, for a business credit card, business loan or equipment financing. In business, getting quick access to solutions can mean the difference between seizing an opportunity and missing out. Local approvals (versus head office approvals) tend to provide more flexibility and speed things up.

4. Will I get competitive interest rates for savings and loans?

When you inquire about rates for deposits and borrowing solutions such as loans, operating lines of credit and commercial mortgages, you’ll also want to be mindful of the value of the advice you’re receiving and how these products and services support your goals. As a business owner, making the most of your savings and ensuring loans cost as little as possible is important, but don’t forget to consider account costs in relation to the value of the service you can expect to receive.

5. Can I access all the financial tools I need?

Ask about services you need right now — such as a business account — but also services you may need in the future. These may include point-of-sale solutions, invoicing support and payroll support. Remember that quality matters more than quantity — you want robust services that you can count on.

6. Can I support my community with my banking?

When you deal with a financial institution that invests in your local community through its charitable initiatives, you’re supporting family, friends and neighbours while doing your business banking. That’s a bonus for any business that wants its customers to thrive alongside it.

About Prospera Credit Union

As you assess your business banking options, we hope Prospera Credit Union makes the shortlist. We love getting to know local business owners, sharing our business expertise, and helping our members chart their own path toward success. Connect with a Local Business Banking Relationship Manager to learn about how we can help your business reach financial goals.