5 Key Things to Look for When Evaluating a Potential Banking Partner

November 7, 2018 by Comerica Bank

Choosing the right banking partner for business services is about more than just interest rates and lending options. Today's businesses need the financial flexibility to keep up in a global, highly digital economy that moves quickly. Organizations need banks that offer the support, services and flexibility required to drive and sustain growth. This often means building trust through a comprehensive service model blending customer service and traditional financial services.
Selecting the best bank for your needs requires a careful analysis of where you are as a business and the specific service offerings available. Five key issues you should explore include:

1. Online banking options

Organizations can't afford to sacrifice convenience and accessibility with their banking partners. As consumers move at the speed enabled by cloud, web and mobile apps, organizations must also manage their back-office systems with speed and efficiency. If you can only engage with your bank in person, you could find your business falling behind peers who can interact with their banks in more convenient ways.
In many cases, how you empower your employees to operate will trickle down to how those workers serve your customers. If your leaders spend time making unnecessary trips to the bank, then they'll be left with less time to put toward customer-focused initiatives.

2. Specialized advisory services

Most banks offer some basic advice on the best uses of different account and loan types, but the approach often focuses on providing enough details to push a customer to a decision. Businesses face varied demands depending on the specifics of their industry and nuances of the market at a given time. Look for a bank that will advise you on services and lending options that will foster growth. In particular, focus on identifying if any banks you are considering offer advisors with specialized knowledge for your industry to go along with general banking expertise.

3. Needs-based services

Product-focused business banking can prove problematic as companies try to make sense of what service offering makes the most sense for them without fully understanding how banking, insurance, wealth management and legal issues come together to impact their situation. Banks that offer needs-based services can help organizations understand the holistic circumstances around their financial services situation and make the best decisions possible. Ultimately, businesses should look for a bank that sets itself apart because it is ultimately standing out based on relationships and advice, not products and interest rates.

4. Service breadth

Advisory options for corporate banking customers are invaluable, but only if they are accompanied by flexible service models that give businesses a wide range of solutions from which to choose. Don't neglect the full breadth of services available from a banking partner, as businesses today are increasingly pulled in many directions at once. You may need to bolster growth in one part of your organization while becoming conservative in your investments elsewhere. Banks that can blend investment, lending and other corporate-focused services can be invaluable when you face such situations.

5. Global reach

Digital technologies are breaking down traditional boundaries between customers and businesses, including geographic issues. With customers able to learn about and interact with brands in new, more intuitive ways, and with import and export opportunities ever-expanding, organizations increasingly must be prepared to operate across national borders, managing customer interactions, employment, foreign currency risks and supply chain issues across the globe. Banks with dedicated international services can make it easier to transition to a global business model, even in small ways, as your company grows.

Get the most from business banking

Businesses need more than basic banking and lending. As the Leading Bank for Business1, Comerica Bank sets the standard for modern, sophisticated banking services that can empower organizations to sustain growth in a rapidly changing marketplace.

1Comerica ranks first nationally among the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, based on commercial and industrial loans outstanding as a percentage of assets, as of June 30, 2018. Data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.

 

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What to Do When a Standard Business Loan Doesn't Seem to Fit

October 30, 2018 by Comerica Bank

The American business sector specializes in a broad array of products and services, providing many scenarios where financing may be necessary. Proper financing provides many tools to keep your business growing, whether it be for inventory investment, startup purposes, purchasing real estate for expansion, or the leasing or buying of equipment.

Since loan types serve specific purposes, what do you do when your lender doesn't have the product that matches your business needs? Lending services ought to be made to fit you, not the other way around. From lines of credit to commercial real estate, working capital and more, these options may seem fine at first thought, but what looks right on paper may be all wrong in practice. This is why the relationship you form with your lender, who's tasked with personalized customization, is critically important.

Before you go about applying for a loan, it pays to understand the loan options available to you. This way, you avoid choosing a loan that doesn't work or missing an opportunity to secure one that is more suitable. Here is a brief description of a few such solutions, along with some of the pros and cons to be aware of before you decide.

Equipment financing

What do you do when you need more equipment, have to repair broken parts or upgrade tools that are badly in need of rejuvenation? Tapping into what funds you have available can throw a wrench into your normal operating business processes. Equipment financing serves as a smart solution for keeping your money where it is so it can be used for other purposes. Plus, approval is quick, allowing you to address time-sensitive projects when they arise.

Depending on how frequently you go through your equipment, it may have depreciated significantly by the time the loan is repaid. That's something to be mindful of before obtaining this type of financing.

Working capital

A company's long-term well-being often hinges on its short-term operational needs. When cash flow is low, perhaps due to the nature of the sales cycle - like for seasonal businesses - working capital loans improve liquidity so services can continue, vendors are paid and capital expenditures are addressed.

There are some caveats to working capital loans that may be drawbacks. A low business credit score can make approval more difficult, and repayment windows tend to be shorter than with other loan products.

Commercial real estate loans

Commercial real estate loans allow for a more diversified financial portfolio, among other potential benefits. Financial services such as these are ideal for building or implementing renovations. You do need to be mindful of some of the potential obstacles to obtaining commercial mortgages, which can include a sizable deposit and the interest rate environment, which is subject to fluctuation if you select a variable rate.

Running a business is tough enough - an endeavor filled with all types of uncertainty. You deserve a loan that's aligned with your goals and eliminates the guesswork. That's what sets Comerica Bank apart. Whether you're expanding your business, seeking an injection of working capital or financing a professional practice, the lending services from Comerica Bank work with you in mind, the way it ought to be.

There's a reason why we're the Leading Bank for Business1. At Comerica Bank, our business is business.

1Comerica ranks first nationally among the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, based on commercial and industrial loans outstanding as a percentage of assets, as of June 30, 2018. Data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.

Read More