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How do I fire my banker?

My company has been covered by the same banker for over 10 years. And the service he provides is simply unacceptable. We have more than 100 accounts with his bank, and cannot simply just switch to another bank overnight. In a meantime I would like to substitute this banker for someone else in his bank. Any suggestions on how to approach this situation? Thank you.

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

The Banker has a boss or in other words, the account(s) have a Senior or Regional VP.

Reach out to this person and state categorically that you want a new account manager or you will start moving your accounts out.

I'm surprised, if you have 100 accounts (or more) why the bank senior level managers haven't made themselves known to you.

Maybe its time to look elsewhere?

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Anon
In addition to Wayne's note, make sure your boss (and maybe the CEO too) are on board and understand/support the reasons. That way it means no surprises in your company when the Bank VP calls your boss and the CEO to ask why.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Good advice Len

Robert Ewalt
Title: Exam Development Manager
Company: Institute of Certified Management Accoun..
(Exam Development Manager, Institute of Certified Management Accountants) |

You need to make a distinction as to where the mistakes in service are coming from. Are they from the specific account officer you are dealing with? If so, the regional or senior VP chan get you another one. Or is it the bank policies or operations that are messed up? The senior guy (probably) can't fix that. Time to move.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

I offer the following process for your consideration - Be direct internally (Len’s idea) and externally (Wayne’s idea). Next, pull accounts away. The fact that you have 100+ accounts with one institution is a problem in itself. A bank is just a vendor. With that much business, diversification is advised.

I am going to assume that you have high activity accounts and low activity accounts. Pull 50 low activity accounts away and set up a relationship with another bank (vendor). Let both institutions know that going forward, new accounts will be set-up with the institution that provides the better service.

If your current bank notices the attrition, they will be concerned and falling over themselves to assist. If they do not notice 50 accounts leaving, you have another issue all together with that institution.

Regardless, diversification is advised. There is no risk of loss due to deposit insurance, but you risk a lazy banker, i.e. your current issue.

Gary Honig
Title: President
Company: Creative Capital Associates Factoring Co..
LinkedIn Profile
(President, Creative Capital Associates Factoring Company) |

I think we're all curious what business model supports having over 100 bank accounts!

Although diversification is a prudent concept there will be added administrative work involved - something to consider. It kinda depends what is going on with all these separate accounts.

Absolutely deposit accounts are the bankers meal ticket, someone within the institution should be made aware what is going on. And don't be quick to dismiss a bank changing policies for a preferred client. As long as they don't mess with Fed Regs, there is plenty they can accommodate.

Anonymous
(Treasury Manager) |

Agree with Regis.
Definitely important to have & keep competition in the "bank group".

It is tempting for certain reasons to use only one bank. However, in terms of service, fees and counterparty risk diversification, it is better to divide up the business. Banks know how difficult it is to change banks and take advantage in different ways.

A very small group of banks doing what they are good/best at, the best price, the best service & other important business factors is where you want to "go".

Tammi Hauck
Title: 10
Company: Lexmark International Inc.
(10, Lexmark International Inc.) |

Agree with Regis. Diversification is necessary for that many accounts. I suggest using one bank for disbursing accounts and another for concentration or collection accounts to minimize the right-of-offset and look into ZBA structures to minimize the need to fund many accounts. Also use a third bank for investment purposes. The credit risk (especially these days) of having only one bank outweighs any additional administrative work.

Paul Stheeman
Title: Interim Treasurer
Company: Self-employed
(Interim Treasurer, Self-employed) |

I think your main problem is that you have over 100 bank accounts. The fact that your bank has not proposed a more lean and manageable structure indicates that they are not helping you move forward. You should talk to another bank, not just about moving the accounts but in particular about how they can set up a good structure for you with a significantly lower amount of accounts.

Laura Morton
Title: President
Company: 10 solns
(President, 10 solns) |

It is very difficult to determine if the number of accounts is excessive or not; personally I have over 10 bank accounts that I use for very specific reasons. As an accountant, yes, managing 100+ bank accounts is daunting but again, it depends on the business model and purpose of each. Definitely agree with the advice to diversify among different banks and I liked Tammi's comment on each bank having its own function although the consideration of moving money between them should be considered. Banks do not provide customer service anymore - at the personal level or the business level. It is important to have a partner in banking. I had one for several years until she retired, we talked almost daily; since she left - have talked to no one and they don't seem to care. In my spare time this summer, I am going to review my banking and consider switching, despite the PIA that it is.

Anonymous
(Controller) |

Probably a law firm that has multiple trust accounts for legal reasons. So 100 may not be out of line since each account represents a different owner with the lawyers having "Power of Attorney."

Bill Quinn
Title: Member: CFO & Senior Consultant
Company: Blackfish Consulting, LLC
(Member: CFO & Senior Consultant, Blackfish Consulting, LLC) |

A number of years ago I was running around $8 million a month in deposits (around $100 million a year -- in those days a fairly considerable sum) through a regional bank in four accounts. They finally ticked me off one time too many. I walked down the street and opened four new accounts with a local bank that had all the capabilities I needed. When the new checks arrived, I wrote checks on each of the original bank accounts and deposited the funds in the new bank. The original bank never even bothered to contact me or ask "what happened?" (They were subsequently absorbed into one of the then-new national banks.) An added benefit was, as the largest customer of the new bank I received excellent banking service from then on . . . and I'm still friends with that bank manager to this day.

M Hisham T Ahmad
Title: Finance Director
Company: Local Government
(Finance Director, Local Government) |

Years ago I was the finance director of the city council here in Malacca, Malaysia. The council was the biggest government account with the local bank and their services was not to the expectations. I had spoken to the junior officer about the treatment but was not solved satisfactorily and then decided to move the accounts. The council top management was made known to this problematic bank and supported by the decision. Soon after that the bank manager came to my office to negotiate and provide all of our requests. The morale was that the top management of the bank appreciates their customers.

Bruce Lynn
Title: Managing Partner
Company: The FECG LLC
(Managing Partner, The FECG LLC) |

Sounds like you are more dissatisfied with the banker than the bank; however, don't shoot the messenger (e.g. banker) if the real problem is the bank.

Before taking any action with this "personnel" issue it would be helpful to document the problem (e.g. delays in responding, wrong responses, lack of understanding about yuor service needs, etc). If the issue is lack of service offerings, service errors, high prices, etc I would suggest the problem is more bank than banker. That said all banks make errors so it is important to communicate to a bank what is most important to you.

In either case think about maintaining a "report card" about issues important to your company and what it has / will cost you. At frequent (i.e. monthly, quarterly) meetings present this card to the next level(s) of bank management for corrective action which, depending on the severity of your service issues, could include leaving the bank.

Nothing puts the fear of god into a bank like knowing it could lose a "good" customer, but first everyone should agree on what good (i.e. market based prices for market based performance) is.

Richard Hewson
Title: CMA
Company: Richard Hewson Contract CFO
(CMA, Richard Hewson Contract CFO) |

Presuming the relationship is unsalvageable, and your CFO/VCEO are in the mood for a change, consider doing an RFP to different banks, outlining what you need as a service provider. This would allow you to review their service strengths and the costs involved to assess which is the optimum service partner. You can also include your current service provider to see how they match up to their competirors. As already suggested, you may want to seek more than one service partner to mitigate risk.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

I would add after escalating the matter, internally and externally, get some price/fee concessions for the effort / time it has taken to resolve the matter.

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