There are about 2.4 million actively trading businesses in the Australian economy, and it is safe to assume that no two are exactly the same.
It is for this reason that Bendigo Bank partners each of its business customers with a dedicated business banking manager – a specialist who works closely with business owners to understand the nuances of their enterprise.
For Joe Formichella, Bendigo Bank’s head of small business, a “cookie-cutter” approach to banking no longer works in today’s always-on, global and digital-first world.
“You really need to take the time to understand each business and its unique goals,” he says.
“This helps us deliver a better suite of products and services that will meet that business’s current requirements, and also provide some flexibility to help that business grow into its next phase.”
Banking solutions for every stage
Whether you are launching or buying a business, or entering a growth period, Bendigo Bank has a range of specialists who can work with you to create customised banking solutions.
A start-up, for example, will most likely require working capital, whether in the form of an overdraft or corporate credit card. Established businesses, on the other hand, may look for term loans or assistance expanding into new markets.
In such circumstances, business banking managers can bring in the relevant product specialists to achieve their customers’ objectives.
“If you’re looking to acquire equipment, they’ll bring in the equipment finance specialists,” Formichella says.
“If you want to start selling or buying goods overseas, they’ll bring in the trade finance specialists. The business banking relationship isn’t just the business banker themselves, it’s also all those specialist resources available to us that we can place in front of our customers.”
For business owners, having access to this breadth of expertise not only makes banking more efficient – freeing up their time to focus on day-to-day operations – but it can also save them money.
“We tailor solutions that marry up the requirements of the business to the offering, so they’re not paying for functionality they’ll never use,” Formichella says.
Reaping the rewards of a banking relationship
Bendigo Bank’s business banking managers work in the same region as their customers, so they know the local communities well and can share valuable market insights.
Formichella believes this is particularly advantageous for business owners seeking debt support.
“Having someone who understands what’s unique to the local environment, means we can translate that into our credit submissions,” he says.
Additional benefits of maintaining a strong working relationship with a business banking manager have also been evident for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Formichella says business owners who kept their banking manager informed of changes, both good and bad, were well-placed to pivot to new banking solutions.
“We’ve seen business models change over the past nine months, where people are adding new products and services to meet changing customer tastes and requirements,” he says.
“Having that strong relationship not only helps turn around decisions quickly, but certainly also helps with a favourable outcome, especially if we’ve got timely financial information with which to assess their specific needs.”
Always putting customers at the heart of the decision-making process ensures the best outcome.
As Formichella explains, business banking managers aim to strike a balance between meeting customer expectations and recommending the right products and services for their particular situation.
He adds: “It’s how you structure those for the individual needs of the customer that makes it a unique offering.”
Find out more about Bendigo Bank’s business banking support.