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What Your Business Banker Wishes You Knew

With John Purdie, Chief Credit Officer and Senior Lender

Throughout my 30 years in banking, I’ve met many business owners who really know how to produce an excellent product or service, but they are not as skilled at running the back office and understanding when they need to bring in financial experts to help take their operations to the next level. This is where your bank can step in. I may not know everything (or even that much) about your business, but I have met hundreds of other business owners and helped them through purchases, sales and other complicated transactions. It is often easier for a skilled banker to know when a business owner needs outside help than it is for the business owner themselves.

Call us early and often

I wish customers would bring their banker in earlier in their planning process. We can identify potential issues on the horizon that they may overlook. We can provide advice on how to structure a transaction so that a loan structure can be set up to match. We can also give guidance on how best to purchase a piece of collateral, and how the ownership of that collateral should be set up. When customers are looking to expand into a new line or area of focus, it helps to bring a banker in sooner than later so that we can provide advice along the way and put them in a better position for the bank to say “yes” to their financing needs.

It is also key to let your banker know when there is trouble on the horizon. It is much easier for a banker to hear about a problem or an issue up front along with the steps a business is taking to recover, than to see the result of the problem in the financials and have to ask questions. I have always said that if you force me to make assumptions, I will always assume the worst, so bring me in early so I can help you through a difficult time.

Use us as sounding boards

We’re very good bankers, but thanks to our decades of experience with a variety of different business types we can also serve as a “Jack of all trades” and connect business owners with other service providers and vendors. While I may not know how to run your factory, I probably know 10 individuals running factories like yours, and I can provide insight into steps I have seen them take to become and remain successful. When it comes to banking and business structure, we have insight into best practices and are happy to share with you how to best approach the bank and how to structure your lending request.

We are good at recognizing when a borrower needs guidance.

I’m not an attorney or CPA, but I am good at recognizing when a business needs one. Through connections with high quality legal and financial advisors, I can help guide you to structure your business in a way that maximizes its potential, best protects you from litigation, and minimizes taxes. We can also help you navigate a generational change in a business. One of the most problematic times in the life of a business is when the reins are being passed to a son or daughter who may not be as comfortable with the financial elements of operating a business. We love to understand the planned progression for the business, and we always seek to bring that future owner or leader into the conversation long before they are in charge to help educate them and keep the business running smoothly.

If you would like to learn more about how Citizens Bank can help you and your business, contact me today! Feel free to reach out by email at jpurdie@citizens-banking.com or give me a call at 317-834-5214. Together, we’ll work on providing you with the best solution for your banking needs.

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