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Banking for your business: getting the best deal possible

Many people feel intimidated when approaching a bank for the first time. However, remember that you are the customer and the bank is there to serve your needs. So, when you set out to look for a bank, keep in mind that it is up to them to show you that they want your business.

Although a convenient location is a practical benefit, the majority of members consider having a competent banker a higher priority. In other words, experienced small businesses will go out of their way to deal with a better banker because they have learned that a good one can make all the difference in the long run and a poor one can make your life miserable.

Here’s a few do’s and don’ts when shopping for a bank:

  • DO ask for references from other businesses when shopping for a new bank.
  • DO find the best banker for your needs. Ensure you interview bankers to find the best fit.
  • DO be prepared! A bank may require you to have financial statements, business plans or inventory and asset information before they make their decision.
  • DO know exactly what you need when approaching the bank. Be ready to negotiate terms if needed.
  • DO prepare to use collateral.
  • DO maintain a strong credit rating.
  • DO shop for the best service fees. See if your bank offers a package deal to lower overall costs.
  • DON'T choose a bank simply because the location is convenient.
  • DON'T assume a specialized commercial branch is your best option.
  • DON'T sign a contract or agreement without fully reading and understanding 

What if you don’t like what they say? Are the banks all-powerful? 

Actually, no. If you are having a dispute with your bank or financial institution, here are the steps to take to try to resolve any disagreement:

  • To begin, always attempt to resolve your complaint by contacting the bank manager or customer service.
  • If the issue does not get resolved, you should escalate it to a senior person at the bank or their Ombudsman's office. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has information on the complaint protocol required at your financial institution or bank.
  • If you have exhausted the complaint protocol and are not satisfied with the results you can contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments for possible further assistance.