In times gone by the local bank manager had been someone who engenders a lot of respect and quite often fear in their customers.
When I was promoted into my role as a business manager, my granddad (after congratulating me), told me about the time he approached his bank manager for some finance for his business. After putting an hours parking on his car, he was ushered into the manager’s office where the bank manager sat behind an imposing desk. There was a whisky decanter on the table behind him and a box of cigars on the shelf alongside various golf trophies.
My granddad put his case forward to the bank manager explaining why he needed an overdraft , at which point the bank manager spent the next two hours questioning my granddad in excruciating detail. My granddad was too nervous to point out that he only had an hour on his car and ended up getting a parking ticket.
I always remember this as my granddad is not a nervous man and I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t have said anything. When I questioned him he said he wouldn’t have dared mention anything to the bank manager as he was such an intimidating man.
This has stuck with me throughout my time as a business manager and if I had a pound for every time one of my customers have said that I was not what they were expecting I would be a rich woman. I have listed the top misconceptions that I seem to come across:
• We are all of a ‘certain age’
• We are excellent golf players
• We are conservative, with no sense of humour
In regards to these I’m in my twenties, what I know about golf I could write on the back of a napkin and I like to think I have a good sense of humour.
I believe that to enable business owners to get the best from their bank, including access to finance, they need to have a good relationship with their local business manager. This isn’t just an annual meeting to discuss the overdraft renewal but regular quality contact to keep us up to date with what is happening within your business, especially good news stories.
We are confronted with so much doom and gloom in our working lives and I know that when a customer has some great news I love to hear it from them.
The more I know about my customers and their business the better I am able to assist them with their requests. The best part of my job is the relationships I have with my customers. I would much rather spend time talking to my customers than doing paperwork in the office and I’m sure this is true of the majority of the business managers. Times have changed and your business manager is there to support you and your business. They are your ally in the banking world so make the most of them.
In a rural environment like Cornwall, it is especially important for SME’s to have this relationship as it can be lonely to be in business here and we are here to support you. To put it simply we want you to be as successful as possible and do all we can to help you achieve your goals.
This blog post was written by Esther Bull, Business Manager at Cornwall Business Banking on her day in the office with the Business Cornwall team as part of the “Working with you” scheme.