To help us evaluate the offerings of banks and bankers please be prepared to discuss issues related to the following questions, and more. If this looks like it might be a tough interview, that’s our intent. There are hundreds of banks, both large and small, from which to choose. What fits for one company does not necessarily work for another. Cost should be a consideration, but only as it relates to overall affordability and to otherwise similar offerings.
CONTEXT ----- COMPLUS Professional Controllers serve contractually as part of the management team for clients (owners of "for-profit" businesses in the Chicagoland area - McHenry to Merrillville) that are too big for him/her to run with only a checkbook in the back pocket and too small to hire one of us full-time. (That’s generally 20-100 workers or $2-10 million sales.)
- What services/products are offered by your bank to business customers?
- Checking accounts
- Cash management/sweep services
- Zero balance coverage accounts (i.e., for Payroll)
- Revolving Line of Credit
- Asset-based loans
- Credit Cards for corporate purchasing
- Electronic banking
- Customer Credit Card transaction processing
- Trust services
- International banking
- How would you describe your “target market?”
- How would you describe your competitive advantages?
- What do you want to know about a new customer before opening accepting a deposit account?
- How are deposit accounts insured and to what dollar limits?
- Under what circumstances have or would you close a customer’s checking account?
- If you were to recruit my business from a several-year relationship with my current bank, for what privileges of a long-term relationship at your bank will I have to wait (and for how long)?
- What borrower conditions, if present, would guarantee that a loan application would be rejected?
- What are the significant factors that influence how long it takes for you to approve a loan application?
- What audit services must be purchased by loan customers?
- One of my “trusted advisors” is a CPA. Will you accept an audit report from his firm? Why or why not?
- How do you calculate deposit account service charges?
- How do you calculate loan interest?
- What computer software do you use to run the bank?
- How do you safeguard the personal information you must gather from me in order to be my banker?
Cocktail Party Questions:
- What is the most important question a banker should ask before making a loan to a customer with whom there is little history?
- Turnover among bank personnel is now a fact of life. If you persuade me to be a customer of your bank now, and two years from now you go to work for another bank, one year later with whom will I be banking?
- How do you respond to this expression of the stereotype: “A banker is one who will lend you an umbrella on a sunny day and take it back when it rains.”
- If a business owner friend asks, “I just got a proposal from Administaff -- what do you think?” How do you respond?
If you're a business owner looking for a new bank, you might find some of these questions helpful. COMPLUS is not a CPA firm. COMPLUS offers Professional Controller (management team) services. COMPLUS does not compete with CPA firms that primarily offer audit and income tax return preparation services.