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Do You Have a Bank or a Banker?


If you were asked, who’s your banker, how would you respond? Would you respond with the name of a person? Or an institution? Your answer matters.

There’s a stark difference between simply having a bank, and having a dedicated banker who knows you and your business. Knowing your banker is critically important to your business. We’ll explain why in a minute.

But first, let’s examine why you may not know your banker, or why your banker doesn’t know you. From our experience, the number one reason most businesses owners don’t know their banker is because they aren’t banking with a local community bank.

Is that true for you?

Having a dedicated community business banker you know and trust offers several important benefits:

  • When applying for a loan, your community banker is your advocate in obtaining the loan approval.
  • Community bankers have deep roots in the community and connections that can assist you in developing networks to help you grow your business.
  • By knowing your financial goals and objectives, your community banker can be proactive in managing your accounts to support your business goals and objectives.
  • If an unexpected emergency arises, your community banker will be there to assist.
  • Most importantly, you’ll have direct access to your banker when needed either in person or by phone or email.

A great example of the importance of knowing your banker became abundantly apparent during the first phase of the Paycheck Protection Program, says Amy Lou Blunt, Republic Bank of Arizona’s chief credit officer. “Over 60% of the PPP loans we funded were from non-customers who came to us because their own bank turned their backs on them,” says Amy. “Again and again we heard from small business owners who were truly disappointed, and sometimes angry by the way they were treated by their old bank. And in almost all of these instances, it was the larger regional or national banks that took this action.

“The common theme we heard was ‘I’ve been a customer of X bank for 20 years, and the one time I really need them to come through for me, they let me down.’ To my knowledge, most of the true local banks supported their small business customers with PPP loans if they were able to,” says Amy.

By true local banks, Amy says she is referring those that are locally owned and managed and not regional or national banks that just have Arizona in their name.

Here is one of many testimonials Amy and the Bank received throughout the PPP loan processes:

“Thank you for helping me with the PPP loan. I realize the pressure the banks were under to process so many loans in such a short period of time. I appreciate you helping me out, especially considering I was not a customer at your bank. You helped me when my own bank wouldn’t.”

— Wayne Lipovich, North Phoenix Animal Clinic

Knowing your banker makes banking more personal, productive and beneficial to you and your business. Imagine having one individual at your bank who actually knows who you were, understands your relationship with the bank, is aware of your upcoming needs, and most importantly, is someone you trust to support you when you need them the most.

Cultivating a Meaningful Relationship

Developing a relationship with your banker should not be difficult, and is typically easier when working with a local community bank than at larger national banks. The task of building a relationship with your banker should not just be on the shoulders of the customer. Your banker should take responsibility to get to know your business, and develops a keen sense of ways they can partner with you to help you succeed.

Our business bankers are some of the best in Arizona. You can get to know them here.

Community banking: the best choice for business owners

Community banks typically lend money to small businesses in the local community, helping to build and support a robust, stable local economy, creating jobs and stimulating growth for other locally owned businesses.

The staff and owners of local banks tend to live in the communities they serve. While big banks keep the majority of their upper-level staff working in out-of-state corporate headquarters, community bank CEOs and other top staff typically live and work in your community.

5 Key Stats You Should Know

Here are a few key statistics demonstrating the benefits of banking with a community bank:

  1. Despite the huge number of megabank branches across the country, community banks still provide nearly 50% of small business loans.1
  2. Community banks employ over 765,000 Americans1
  3. The 20 largest banks control 60% of the nation’s money. Yet those same 20 banks only lend 18% of their money to small businesses.2
  4. 64% of people believe community banks and credit unions provide better personal service in any kind of interaction — be it face-to-face, over the phone, or online — than big national banks.3
  5. 70% of community bank and credit union account holders say they see their financial institutions as partners, whereas just 57% of megabank customers feel that way3

Local community banks work every day for their communities because they depend on the health of their local economies to keep them running. When you support your local bank, you support your community and make it a better place to live.

There are many types of professional relationships, but few as important, or potentially business-altering, as a business owner’s relationship with their business banker. We invite you to discover the benefits of true community banking at Republic Bank of Arizona.

1Independent Community Bankers of America

2Local First Arizona

3Consumer Banking Insights Study