How To Become A Valued Customer For Your Bank?

Whean dealing with a bank, the first step is to try to establish yourself in its mind as a valued, or at least potentially valuable, customer, and to do it on a business like basis. It is important to get this impression across at the start. Never, never start a relationship with a bank by ‘walking in’ and going to the nearest bank officer and announcing ‘I want to open an account.’ Do that, and you are, in his mind, a ‘walk-in,’ and you lose. You are interrupting his work, and worse, coming at him unexpectedly. Beyond that, you are not being what he considers ‘businesslike.’ If he can spin you off down into the vulgar pits of the Special Checking Accounts, he will.

Instead, first learn as much about the bank and its services as you possibly can. Talk to friends, relatives, business associates, your lawyer, your accountant. Above all, ask someone in your company’s treasurer’s office, particularly if the company does business with the bank. If any of these people seems a particularly good reference, and is satisfied with the bank, ask for the name of a specific officer to whom you can speak, using your reference’s name — and, thus, his or her clout.

So, don’t pop in to see the officer unannounced. Call and make an appointment, preferably at the officer’s convenience. If you are capable of doing significant business with the bank — one or more family accounts, a separate business account, possibly trust or investment services — convey these facts immediately. The officer who sees you as someone with “potential,” is apt to give you full attention. Don’t try to impress the banker by spouting off numbers, and don’t launch into an angry attack on your present bank. If you do, you may be instantly labeled as a “bouncer,” one who unhappily goes from one bank to the next and might well choose another again in a month or two.

If you like the bank and are able to work out the details to your satisfaction, open a checking account, and a savings account too, if necessary, with as large a balance as you can reasonably afford. You are probably much better off putting all your accounts in one bank and doing business with it as a regular customer than spreading yourself thin over two or three banks, where you won’t mean much to anyone. Money talks. Even if you have only $5,000 in savings, deposit it all in one bank and let it talk for you there. If you have approached the bank correctly to begin with, you will indeed have a “personal banker” in the officer who signed you up. He or she may turn out to be the financial friend you need, bending the bank’s rules in your favor, if necessary, to get you a loan or offering sound financial advice.