CANDID TALK

what we don't say out loud.

“Shopping for the right Bank”

March 19, 2015 by Kate Mwamba | 1 Comment

Statistics shows that 80% of business start-ups fail within the first 18 months of inception. This is influenced by so many factors that include lack of technical know-how from the management, competition, liquidity issues, lack of proper plan and implementation and sometimes poor follow up, hiring of incompetent employees, lack of properly marketing analysis and trends, untimely launch of a product line, poor company structures policies and procedures and lack of proper company culture etc.

The first 3 years of the business is the teething period and after the business stands the test of time; it is considered solid. Any Business requires a bank that really understands its need. An ideal market means the financial institutions are thriving to outdo the competition. But where to start shopping for a bank might be tricky. Often we rely on referrals and good word from friends, acquaintances, even the media advertisement, internet or any other reliable source.

Most businesses prefer to have more than one account in different banks or financial institutions, the idea is called spreading the business risk (portfolio diversification) by not putting all your eggs in one basket. It brings some peace of mind to the business owners and at the same time variety of choice for different service or product.

What to look for while shopping for a bank would be:

  • The accessibility.

Proximity of the financial institution from your business premises. The branch network. How fast can you get to and ATM (VISA). Does the bank have online banking platform?

  • The services Rendered.

Do the products envisioned in the bank’s catalog in sync with your long-term goals. What are the fees imposed on various transaction services being provided? Any other specific service being sought.

  • Contact Person.

Do you have a relationship personnel available to your queries from the branch level? How are you treated when you visit the bank? How long does it take for your issues to be sorted? Queue management?

  • The Banks positioning in the market.

How are the books of the account, how long has the bank existed, what is  the background history, is it listed in the stock exchange, who are the owners, what is its vision, what is the long-term strategy of the bank in the market/industry that you are ventured into.

  • The policy and procedures.

What are various procedures involved when handling a startup when they want to borrow, what are the requirements and threshold for such business and other business too. How flexible is bank in terms of pricing and other lending conditions

Look out for a good word that relates the bank that you want to invest in. Some banks may be good at one product and fail in the other .Know what best you will get from each of the institution in mind. Have reliable sources to verify the information before getting in.

Keep facts together preferably in writing before diversifying your business portfolio. Separate the pros and cons of each chosen financial institution and brainstorm before making decision. My two cents in this is that when a business rushes into investing in a bank without full knowledge of its fine prints certain things are bound to happen.

  • The Bank accounts may be expensive to operate since assumedly the start up business has little to spare in terms of account charges at the beginning thereby causing much accumulated bank charges and in the end causing negative reference to both the business and its owners adversely the business will not borrow in any financial institution till this debts are settled and the same information will remain in file for 7 years .Anyone can access this information. The business image here is damaged

The business should have current account for its operation do not be advised otherwise. Most  current  account are charged ledger fees and as much as most business start up love to shy away from charges ,it’s important to have a current account since most lending institutions base their lending policies on current accounts only. Savings accounts as the name suggests are purely meant to save not for a business daily transaction. Its only prudent for new businesses owners to shop for bank products that have got minimum transactional fees and more benefits in return (maximize return on investment).

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