Robert Bean, assistant vice president and branch manager at Canadian Western Bank in Winnipeg, likes his clients to compare him to a building contractor.
“When you talk to a building contractor about your new home, you tell him what you need, what you want and what your expectations are. As your banker, that’s also what I need to know,” says Mr. Bean.
“If a client has unrealistic expectations of what we can do for them, or of what they can achieve in a particular timeframe, we need to know what those are so we can work through them and bring them back to a more realistic level,” says Mr. Bean.
He also encourages clients to be upfront with him, particularly if they are applying for some type of support, such as a loan.
“Don’t oversell your proposal. If the numbers won’t work, they won’t work. Being enthusiastic is great, but it doesn’t change the bottom line,” he adds.
Ideally, he wants a complete proposal from a client looking for a loan.
“Providing detailed and accurate information is what will give the banker the most complete picture. This means a well informed decision can be delivered quicker, whether it’s yes or no. Imagine yourself in the position of a lender, if you were asked to lend out a large sum of money, how much information would you need to have in order to make that decision. It’s as simple as that,” says Mr. Bean.
While the onus is on the client to provide the information, the banker can provide direction so the end result is a comprehensive proposal. A loan is a partnership – and just how comprehensive it should be depends on the complexity and scope of the needs, he says.
“A proposal for a $100,000 line of credit is very different compared to a $10 million revolving credit facility – and I’ve seen good and bad proposals in both cases,” he adds.
Mr. Bean also advises clients to keep their banker informed of both good news and bad.
“Bankers don’t like surprises, and that can put the client at a great disadvantage. Let them know as soon as possible what’s happening and how you plan to deal with it so you can work together to find a solution. Don’t wait until the eleventh hour,” he says.
At the end of the day, it’s all about communication, he adds. A relationship is only as strong as the commitment of all involved. Transparency is the key to a successful relationship with your banker.