By Ken Bauer, VP of Business Banking at Elevations Credit Union
You have many choices when it comes to your small business banking and lending needs. Beyond ensuring that your financial institution has the products and services your business requires on a day-to-day basis, your choice can also have an impact on the long-term success of your business.
Not all financial institutions take the same approach to business banking and lending. When it comes to selecting a banking partner who is there to talk through some of the big decisions that will optimize your financial performance for the long haul — like whether to lease or buy a property, or how to best access working capital — time spent considering which financial institution best meets your needs is a worthwhile investment.
One key decision you’ll want to consider is whether to go with a bank or a credit union. While each financial institution is different, credit unions specializing in small business banking offer some significant benefits that make them well worth considering in your search for the perfect banking partner.
Here are four ways that a local credit union with a small business focus can help your small business grow and prosper for the long haul:
• You’re a member, not a customer.
Credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit financial institutions that offer banking products and services. When you bank with a credit union, you’re a member — not a customer — and you’re treated as a member-owner. Credit unions are invested in making sure you, the member, succeed. This can take a variety of shapes, from financial education offerings and one-on-one consultations, or tapping into a wealth of business and community knowledge, to simply experiencing what it’s like to have a banker truly invested in your financial success. After all, a credit union is only as strong as its weakest member.
• Keep your money where your business is.
When you bank with a credit union, 100% of your money stays within your community, rather than going to stakeholders somewhere else. The membership’s deposits are the fuel for the credit union to offer loans — for example, your neighbor’s deposits just might help fund the loan your business needs to buy a property and grow.
For a local business, banking with a credit union feels good because you know that you’re keeping your money where your business is.
• Your business banker is your neighbor.
When you bank locally with a credit union, you typically work with bankers and decision-makers who are also local. That can make it easy to meet up in person at a nearby branch or even on site at your business. Plus, your banker has insider knowledge of your local market that can make him or her the perfect partner as you plan the best ways to reach your long-term goals for your business.
• Local lending has its benefits.
If your credit union offers in-house underwriting and processing for loans (like Elevations Credit Union), you may notice some very tangible benefits to what can be an overwhelming process. First, the entire process often goes faster when it happens under one roof, rather than being outsourced. Second, when your banker, underwriter and processor work together as one lending team, they have the ability to discuss your unique situation for your business and provide strong communication that can only come from being in the know throughout the process.
Elevations Credit Union is a member-owned not-for-profit financial institution serving Colorado’s Front Range. We believe it’s good business to help good businesses grow. With a consultative approach to solving your business banking needs, Elevations local business bankers can help you improve your cash flow, reduce your borrowing needs or decide whether a term loan or line-of-credit is best, including quick-turn credit decisions. Click here to learn more about Elevations business banking or schedule an appointment.