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Small business banking...
Bankers Who Make House Calls
With permission from Kelly Schuler, desnoyers-schuler inc. marketing and communications for health, wellness and extraordinary living, Exerpted from their "HWEL" e-zine.
More and more businesses and individuals are becoming disillusioned by the way banks handle their money and they are looking for alternative methods of banking. We spoke with Stephen Tomchishin of William J. Rhind and Associates, a deposit brokerage out of Calgary, to find out what businesses can do to lower the costs and increase the returns of their bank accounts.
How do you help small businesses with banking?
We are like an employee the bank pays to help their clients – a middleman between the banking and small business communities. We bring expertise from both sides of the desk and help the small business to negotiate the best deal with the bank; we act like a treasurer of a large company would, to look after small business accounts. We use our time/expertise/knowledge/clout to properly manage an account, get the same deal a big company like Telus or ATCO can. Together, small businesses represent a large amount of money; individually they don't – that's where we come in.
Who is your typical client?
Banks are starting to recognize that the small business market is a force to be reckoned with. Small to medium sized businesses. Basically what we mean by this is owner-operated private companies who are established, who have credit, and are self-financed. Our rule of thumb is, if a company is without a treasury department or dedicated treasurer to manage the company's money, they're a small to medium-sized company. They might make up to $5 million in sales or employ fifty workers. They keep money in the bank at all times, but they're too busy to manage it themselves.
Many of these types of businesses are afraid to change banks and lose the credit they've built up; essentially they're handcuffed to their accounts. But banks only pay attention to small business if it wants to borrow money. We want your money to work for you – for you to get value for it, put interest in your pocket. We help you find the best interest rate with the lowest service charges, tailored to your specific financial situation. Banks are starting to recognize that the small business market is a force to be reckoned with. Essentially we want to help you save money on banking, not lose money to service charges. It's like free money!
Is any business too small to qualify for your services?
No! A client doesn't need to have a minimum bank balance; they just need to keep something in the account at all times. Even a starting business can benefit from a sharp financial eye. If we can help you line up good investments, chequing and savings accounts, and if it means even $100 extra each month, that's $1200 in your pocket at the end of the year.
How do you satisfy clients that you are working in their best interests, rather than the bank's?
There's an old English phrase that says, "We are the client's boy, not the bank's." That's us. Services like ours have their roots in small, rural communities. Banks originally established farm insurance brokers in outlying areas that were too small for a bank branch. Brokers acted as a network of agents to collect deposits for the banks; these agents might be professionals like lawyers or accountants, or dedicated insurance brokers. We are just the broker; we don't touch or handle the client's money. We're more like a mortgage broker or a travel agent, helping connect you with the best deal, tailored to your needs. We have no finder's fee; we land the bank business and in return are given a small percentage based on the balance of the client's pot of money. We have a vested interest, therefore, in making sure that pot of the client's money is working for them and growing. We are loyal to the client, not to the bank.
So why aren't more people on board with deposit brokers?
Because they simply aren't aware that this free service exists – that they can access our expertise and assistance, free of risk, at the expense of whichever bank will offer them the best deal. Many people have personal financial portfolio planners, but they don't think to have a broker help look after their small business. They'll have someone help them look after their mortgage, their will and estate, their savings and investments. Why not apply that personal care to your business?
So how would you sell your service to a busy small business owner?
Ask yourself, "When was the last time I had a financial check-up?" We are a one-stop-shop. We do the scouting for you, to find the best deal, to barter for a better rate like a large company might do. We simplify the investment process for you. We come to your business to consult with you and to help you set up better banking service. We're like bankers who make house calls! We understand that the wellness of the small business owner is directly linked to the wellness of their business.
We know that you are busy; that's why we make the transition comfortable and convenient for you. When we visit with you in your office, we might spend twenty minutes helping you review some important basic questions such as:
Then we look for alternatives.
How does your company differ from the standard deposit broker?
Typically, a broker deals with individuals. We specialize in corporate needs; we make it our business to understand the owner-operated company. Also, most brokers don't deal with chequing accounts. We want every aspect of small business banking to work for the client. Our business grows by referrals; the word is spreading. We are members of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and of the Calgary Executive Association. We've been in the field for sixteen years, but we've been low on the radar. Most people are quite surprised when they realize that this service exists.
Can your company offer anything to the not-for-profit sector?
How would you like your bank to give your organization a yearly donation?Absolutely. Most of these organizations are run by volunteers, with volunteer boards. We are a perfect fit: we help the not-for-profit to maximize rates of return on their accounts. The challenge on our end is that with the small-business owner, the buck stops on his or her desk. Not so with the not-for-profit. Often, the process of change is drawn out by volunteer-run boards, because they have so many levels of decision making. Individual volunteers might prefer the same old way of doing things because they don't personally stand to gain anything from change (i.e., accepting the assistance of a financial planner). But this attitude does their organization a disservice. I pose the question: how would you like your bank to give your organization a yearly donation? Sounds great, doesn't it? So let's re-examine your financial practices and see if we can't get you that better return.
Earn higher income on your average minimum balance without sacrificing flexibility. How? If the minimum balance in your general account is $50,000, transfer that amount into a daily interest savings account leaving only what you require for day-to-day operations. If you need access to those funds, simply transfer the funds back to your general account and the money will be deposited within 48 hours.
400 - 7015 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2H 2K6 | Phone (403) 283-1378&
Your money deserves more interest.