Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SBA Advice for Small Businesses: How to Know What Banking Services to Use

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SBA Advice for Small Businesses: How to Know What Banking Services to Use

Article excerpt

For a small business, choosing a bank is a vital step and involves more than just opening an account. Business owners should understand what services they need and how much a bank charges for those services. In addition, the bank should be able to explain the services and how they can solve a problem as they form relationships.

The common small-business banking needs include basic services like a business savings account, credit card, deposit-only cards, online banking and discounted employee checking. For lending services, banks can offer lines of credit, term loans, SBA loans, equipment leasing and even commercial real estate loans.

Cash management services that banks offer include wire transfers, merchant services and wholesale lockbox services. Other banks go beyond with import/export departments, payroll, insurance, retirement investment accounts and discounts on supplies.

"Different banks offer different services besides the standard services of personal accounts, business accounts, debit cards and the like," said Sandra Ransome, lender relations specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration's Oklahoma District office. "Bigger banks can offer services like payroll services, investment services and direct deposit. You just need to understand what your business needs."

When deciding on which bank to do business with, entrepreneurs should consider questions like whether or not a local banker has lending authority, what the largest loan the banker can approve without going to a higher authority is and what the fees are. Larger banks may have many clients, while community banks find that small businesses are their bread and butter.

"Some banks even offer merchant processing services like running credit card payments while others can offer lockbox services in which customer checks are mailed in and processed by the bank," said Ransome. …

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