Business Banking — The Personal Touch
April 1, 2020 |
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Every successful business owner knows that providing a great product or service is only half the battle — building a great relationship with the customers is what really takes you over the edge.
For the last 155 years, Dime Community Bank has been perfecting the art of the business relationship, focusing on getting to know each and every business customer and listening to their needs, dreams, and goals before offering a single piece of financial advice.
For Conrad Gunther, Dime’s Executive Vice President – Chief Lending Officer, adding that personal touch to each relationship is one of the things that sets Dime above the competition. He’s reminded of it daily when his screensaver pops up, proclaiming that Dime focuses on “Building relationships one customer at a time.” So how does Dime build those relationships? By keeping a few simple things in mind.
More Than A Handshake
When a business comes to Dime looking for a loan, Dime immediately sends one of their business bankers out to meet the prospective customer at their business. “We spend time touring the business, sitting down and talking about the business, learning how the business works,” Gunther explains.
For Dime, “It’s about getting to know your customer. Not just from the regulatory required aspect, but knowing who your customer is, what they do, and how they do their business. We tend to work with a lot of individually-owned businesses, not big, public companies. We’re working with a business that’s essentially owned by a family, and that business provides for their family’s needs.” It’s important for Dime to take the time to build the connection.
Business owners “are very proud to tell you what they do and how they do it and how they’ve been successful. We like to take the time to have that conversation so that we understand the business and how it works so we can be better provide them with the financial advice they actually need,” Gunther added.
At Dime, the business banking relationship doesn’t end with a handshake. Each member of the business banking team builds trust and understanding with each customer so that every business can get the best possible solutions. It’s about the long-term relationship more than anything else.
Your Very Own Local Banker
That Dime business banker who comes out to meet you at your business? Yeah, they’re going to be your business banker for as long as you’re with Dime. According to Gunther, “At Dime, you’re not going to be shuttled from one person to another, depending on what product or service you need at the time. You’re going to have one main point of contact, someone who knows your name and your business and is always available to you. You’ll probably have their cell number after that first meeting.”
Gunther explains that “If you start your Dime relationship with Susie, she’s going to take care of everything for you. She might bring in other people,” experts in other areas of business banking as needed, “but Susie will still be the person you’re working with.” This kind of concierge-like service is something you only see with exclusive, higher-cost services at big banks, but it’s standard procedure at Dime.
And because Dime is local to Brooklyn, and exclusively works with New York customers, they have a deep understanding of the local market and know what it means to do business in New York. The Dime team is made up of “people who have been in this market for a long time and understand the business, real estate, and the nature of doing business in the New York Metropolitan area,” Gunther says.
Having someone who not only takes the time to understand your business, but also knows your market will help give you a leg up against your competition, and ensure that you’re getting the right advice. “Dime works very closely with individual business owners to make sure that the products and services they get are very custom to their specific needs,” Gunther adds.
A Deep, Responsive Relationship
Because Dime spends so much time getting the information and history of each business, they are able to make the best recommendations and plans that fit the business’s needs. For example, “if someone was looking to buy a piece of equipment, we wouldn’t say ‘take a loan for a year,’ because they probably won’t be able to pay it back that fast. We’d say, ‘okay, what’s the useful life for that piece of equipment? It’s five years — okay, let’s look at a structural five-year loan that’s not a burden to your cash flow, and allows you to pay back over a longer period of time,” Gunther explains.
Once all the information is gathered about the loan and business needs, “we bring that information back to Dime, analyze it, and present it to a group of people at Dime for a decision on whether or not we can move forward. We try to do that quickly. A quick no is better than a drawn-out no,” Gunther adds. Transparency and communication are essential cornerstones for a successful relationship, which is why Dime is so open about their process and quick in their responses.
While they wish they could approve every loan application, Gunther knows that not every business is a good fit for Dime, and Dime isn’t the best fit for every business customer. When it comes to finding a business lender, “you should be looking at their commitment to the marketplace, the quality of the people they send if they come to visit you, and that they’re willing to spend the time and effort getting to know you. You should know that they’re not just looking at it as a transaction, but should be looking to build a lifelong relationship” Gunther says.
The Hands-on, Personal Approach
From the very beginning, Dime has been dedicated to making a difference in the lives of its customers and helping them achieve their goals, whatever they might be. Since joining Dime, Gunther has been impressed by the bank’s willingness to help. “We want to provide customers with the products and services that allow them to grow their business, run their business more efficiently, and take advantage of things in the marketplace that can enhance their business,” Gunther explains.
Other banks might take some time to meet with business owners and learn a little about their business, but few others take the time to really build the relationship like Dime does. Dime wants each customer to feel like Dime’s only customer, with products and services tailored to their specific needs. “We don’t tell people what they need,” Gunther adds, “we take the time to really listen, and then we advise and offer recommendations.” In the end, what the customer wants is what matters most.
For Dime, the relationships are everything. And if you own a business, you know how true — and special — that is
“Come to Dime,” Gunther says. “You’ll be glad you did.”
Want to learn more about Dime’s business banking, or would like to chat with business banking expert Conrad Gunther? Contact us today.