When’s the last time you barbecued with your banker?
If you’re like most CFOs, you probably maintain a polite, professional relationship with your company’s bank representative, but don’t go out of your way to contact them until you need something. But you might want to think about cultivating a closer relationship with your company’s banking contact. Doing so now can help you out in the future. Especially in lending situations.
Think about it: The more your banker knows you and your business, the more likely he or she will be willing to go that extra mile when you need it most – like when it comes time for loans.
Get close with your banker
Here are a few things you can do strengthen your relationship with your banker:
- Keep in close contact. It sounds obvious, but most companies could stand to communicate with their banks more regularly. Schedule a visit if the bank is nearby. If not, a phone call or email works just as well. These interactions should be all about how well your company is doing. You might also consider adding your representative to your PR distribution list. That way, they’ll be kept abreast of all important changes and accomplishments your company experiences.
- Invite them over. It doesn’t have to be for a formal meeting. Forbes recommends inviting your banker over for a visit so they can see how business gets done on your turf. And don’t forget about holiday parties or cook outs – even a casual invitation can ensure that your company will be on your banker’s mind.
- Keep your numbers honest. Your banker should be able to trust that you’re giving him or her accurate statements. Fudging even a little can break that trust. If your banker isn’t 100% sure about your financial data, he or she won’t feel comfortable advocating for your business during crucial financial decisions at the bank.
- Be up front about bad news. No one likes being the last to know. If there’s bad news that could make your banker nervous about your company, best tell them ASAP. Hearing the news straight from the source, rather than a third party, could prevent unnecessary negative action on the part of the bank.