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Balancing Act: The changing landscape of commercial banking

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Technology has changed the way people do business. It’s also changed the way they do business banking. You can transfer money between two business accounts in minutes with online banking or complete and submit your entire expense report on the computer. Technology gives you the convenience of having greater control over your company’s finances. But that shouldn’t change the business partnership you have with your company’s bank.

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Like any relationship, creating and maintaining an effective partnership requires regular communication between you and your bank partner.  A strong relationship with your company’s financial institution not only enhances your customer experience, but also helps the bank balance quality service with a high level of information security.

Customer Experience

Your banker should know your company beyond what can be learned from a monthly commercial credit card statement. Your bank should act as an extension of your business and not just a place for you to keep your corporate accounts. Understanding the business cycles and unique financial needs of your engineering firm or your agriculture business gives your bank the insight to be a partner working with you on developing ideas to help your business succeed. This experience begins with a simple but powerful idea: know your customer.

For example, a bank that uses “know your customer” requirements for you to access your account can take this information and use it as a chance to get to know you and your employees better. At UMB, we require you to provide information that will uniquely identify you as the customer you say you are when you call us. These precautions are also good security measures to reduce potential fraud on your accounts.

Information Security

Having a strong relationship with your bank is important to your information security. Most banks will monitor spending habits to check for fraudulent activity on your commercial cards. For example, if a commercial card for a construction company starts posting a series of expensive charges at a department store within several hours, UMB might flag that account for suspicious activity or even put a hold on the card to stop any further transactions. Some might see this as too constrictive and even intrusive, but if you have a good working relationship with your financial institution you’re more likely to view this type of monitoring as a partner looking out for your company’s financial well-being.

So what can you do as a customer to keep the two-way communication open? Keeping your profile with your bank up-to-date makes it easier to verify who you are when you need to contact them. This also helps your bank ensure an accurate and safe customer experience.

Balancing self-service, customer service and information security is a challenge. A good bank should maintain the fine line between giving you the freedom to run your business and manage your finances, while remaining a loyal business partner who will always looks out for your best interests and the financial safety of your company.

Mr. Wegner is vice president and commercial card product manager at UMB. In this role, he is responsible for product development and program design for new and existing programs. He joined UMB in 2011. He earned an MBA in Management from Rockhurst University in Kansas City MO. He is a member of the NAPCP Public Sector Advisory Board.

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Partnering for what’s ahead: A conversation with Will and Bart of AmeriFlex

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Take a look at this video highlighting one of our many fantastic clients, or should I say business partners.

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Mr. Fee serves as president of UMB’s Texas region and is responsible for designing and executing a strategy to establish UMB Bank in the Texas market, initially by way of Dallas. He joined UMB in 2002 and has also served as the community bank president of the UMB South Kansas City region. Fee earned Bachelor of Science with a major in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

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Meet Beulah Thompson

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Beulah Thompson

Meet Beulah Thompson. She was born in Lincoln, Mo., in 1909. Yes, you read that right. 1909. She recently celebrated* her 104th birthday at St. Andrews Church in Kansas City, where she has been a member for more than 70 years. Another fun fact is that she’s been a UMB customer for more than 50 years.

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To this day, Beulah is a strong yet kind woman who is no stranger to hard work. She started working in her early teens, washing clothes for 60 cents a day.

“Then I got a raise, and they paid me 75 cents a day!” she joked.

Eventually she worked for the Sullivan family and took care of their children. She worked for the Sullivans for 23 years, helping raise all seven of their children. To Beulah, the Sullivans were more than an employer. They were her family.

One day Beulah was talking to a friend, a customer of City National Bank and Trust Company (which would one day become UMB Bank). The two were chatting about running errands and paying her bills when her friend suggested Beulah open a checking account at City National Bank and Trust.

More than 50 years later, Beulah still banks with UMB. Until recently, she was a regular at the branch in downtown Kansas City at 10th and Grand. She doesn’t make it in to the bank as often as she used to, so she’s embraced convenient bank technology like direct deposit and bill pay. She still writes her own checks to pay some of her bills and says she’s always been happy with UMB.

“Everyone is so nice when I go to the bank. And when I call in they’re very pleasant and nice as they can be,” Beulah said.

Today, Beulah enjoys an active life of going to church, visiting friends, reading The Kansas City Star as well as several national newspapers and magazines. She says she wants to know what’s going on in the world. She also enjoys doing crossword puzzles and watching her favorite team, the Royals, on TV.

Beulah has a lasting impact on everyone she meets. To this day, the Sullivan kids still say, “I’m one of Beulah’s kids.” She talks to them on a regular basis and continues to give the advice she has lived by to this day: “Don’t say you’re going to do it; do it.”

Born at the beginning of the 20th century, Beulah has watched the world change as we entered the 21st century, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Even today, she is still fiercely independent and a fighter. As she said, “I’ve been through it, honey, but I’m still kickin’!”

As we look back on the first 100 years of UMB, we want to thank Beulah for more than 50 years as our loyal customer.


* Courtesy of KCTV5

Bank deposit products provided by UMB Bank n.a., Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.

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