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The secret to good business banking

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Every year, the FDs’ Satisfaction Survey, in association with ICAEW, generates valuable scores for FDs’ happiness with their banking providers. But for real insights into how banks are doing – and what they could be doing better – it’s often more useful to look at the comments FDs add when they complete the survey.

Three themes have emerged so far in the comments to the ongoing survey for 2012. 

First, banks have to get on the front foot with their business relationships. Celebrating their relationship manager, one FD writes: “Good communicator, thinks about our needs and goes out of his way to telegraph issues to ensure we have no surprises.” Another added: “She cares, is proactive and makes the effort to ensure things work for us.”

Second, they need to cut the red tape. “Our bank relationship staff know us well, but can’t get past their own internal bureaucracy of box-ticking compliance officers,” says one FD, adding: “A new relationship we are building with Credit Suisse is like a breath of fresh air against the box-ticking compliance mentality of the UK clearers.” 

And third, they need to really get under the skin of their business customers. Some are getting that right: “Although it is a tough market in which to obtain finance, we have found that our loan providers have taken a practical and pragmatic approach by recognising the strength of our assets, cash flows, management team and business proposition,” writes another FD. 

And it’s great to hear about so many specific examples of banks, and relationship managers, that “just get it”. Take this comment: “The sector is in turmoil. The only bank that has any clue and strategy is Santander. Richard Meddelton, our relationship manager, has a fantastic understanding of our industry and has taken our banking relationship forward. He is honest enough to let us know the bank’s current limitations but he and Santander are definitely one to watch.”

That’s all FDs want: honest, open, responsive service. 

Is your bank doing well on those scores? Perhaps you’re maddened by their inability to make a decision. Either way, we need more financial decision-makers to help us uncover the star performers in UK business banking.

So if you haven’t already, complete the form here (it takes about five minutes) – and encourage your fellow FDs to make their voice heard about the services and financing needed to support UK plc.

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Adam Landau
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