As a small business owner, you're currently under a lot of financial pressure. Inflation and elevated interest rates have driven up your expenses. Supply chain issues are still creating longer lead times, making it even more difficult to manage costs. Increased friction in accessing capital and generating revenue makes it even more challenging to cover expenses.
That’s where your choice of banker and lender can make the difference in how well your venture clears these hurdles. May is National Small Business Month, making it an opportune time to review your options and discover the business-friendly advantages of community banking.
Advisor, advocate and solution-finder: Trusting a community lender for your small business needs
To demonstrate the advantages to local businesses, Derek Boeve, a Senior Business Banker with Minnwest Bank in Eagan, recently described how community lenders are empowered and equipped to meet the needs of small business owners. His portfolio of commercial borrowers ranges from fitness to real estate to logistics.
While they’ve all faced their unique hurdles in the past few years, Boeve takes a proactive approach to each to ensure loans and cash management products are structured to help them meet their goals.
What it all boils down to is building a relationship.
“We want to position them to succeed because if they’re doing well, we’re doing well,” Boeve says.
SBA loans offer longer terms that help small business owners close the capital gap while maintaining liquidity in their budgets. As a top SBA lender in Minnesota, Minnwest can facilitate business loans with terms that are tailor-made for your business, Boeve says.
Refinancing with a proactive approach
This bullet is less relevant in 2023, but it illustrates the value of working with local lenders. Boeve recounted how he and his colleagues anticipated that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates as a braking mechanism for inflation. He and his colleagues reached out to their commercial borrowers ahead of loan and credit renewals, so they could refinance and lock in on more favorable rates.
Some small business owners are in constant contact with Boeve, while others can get by with an annual review. In either case, he plays an advisory role, helping them identify financial strategies to make their business work. For example, he finds most businesses are faced with tighter margins, so Boeve reviews their financials to help them identify trends and solutions to help them reduce expenses or raise more revenues. Because entrepreneurs are busy and often wearing many hats, these solutions aren’t always obvious in the day-to-day hustle, he says, but having the perspective of a financial professional can cut through the noise.
Each business customer is viewed as an independent entity. While Minnwest has a framework for its products, they have the options to structure the terms to fit the needs of the business. For example, supply chain issues in the past three years have created long lead times for construction, industrial and seasonal businesses, Boeve says. To help them bridge the gap, extending the terms of their line of credit was one option they could deploy.
There are several local advantages to working with a community bank. When you’re applying for a business loan, you’ll get face-to-face meetings and an opportunity to meet with senior management. This high-touch approach introduces transparency in their decision-making you don’t get with other lenders. That builds trust with borrowers.
“All the decisions are made locally,” Boeve says. “It’s not someone out of California or a different region that might not understand our local community. We know you’re doing what’s best for the community because we live and work in the area as well.”
Strong and well-capitalized
Bottom line, "Minnwest is strong and well-capitalized," a lender and banker that local businesses can trust with their financial and capital needs to run their business. Minnwest is a local lender that can offer the same caliber of loans and cash management services you’d find at a mainline bank. “But we offer more personalized service and customized banking,” he says.