Blog   Tagged ‘commercial banking’

Business Owners: Planning a Roadmap for Success in 2017

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We are almost halfway through 2017, which means it is an opportune time to revisit business goals set at the beginning of the year. Conducting a mid-year check-in allows business owners to evaluate if goals for the year are being met as projected and whether plans need to be adapted to help optimize future success.

Several questions business owners should ask include:

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Is the business prepared for rising interest rates?  

Rising interest rates and Federal Reserve sentiment are in the news regularly, with the public continuing to watch rates gradually rise after years of stagnation.

With the country steadily rebounding from the recession, the Federal Reserve increased the interest rate for the second time in three months in March 2017 to a range between 0.75 percent and 1.00 percent (most recently they elected to maintain this rate in early May).

Interest rates are important to business owners to consider as they look at items such as loan terms and evaluating leasing versus purchasing for commercial real estate.

Is refinancing a business option?

As rates fluctuate, it is critical to evaluate refinancing options. This could be the time to consolidate debt or secure a better rate for a loan. Refinancing could open the door for a larger purchase later in the year or allow for a different goal to be reached more quickly.

Additionally, refinancing into a fixed rate loan may provide some peace of mind for business owners who are nervous about the impact of rising rates on an existing variable rate loan. A fixed rate offers something that business owners crave – predictability.

Do you have the right product for your needs?

It is also important for business owners to ensure they understand all the aspects of the loan. Take time to research the different terms, and make sure they are still in line with business goals. There are several different financing options available to small businesses, and it might be time to explore a different type of product that better suits the needs of that particular business or the current business environment.

Make a list of business goals, and discuss these options with an experienced banker, as they should be able to help clients prepare and best navigate any economic environment with sound lending advice.

Is it time to make a large purchase?   

Mid-year is the perfect time to evaluate what is needed to help business owners navigate the rest of 2017. Since interest rates are unpredictable and have been on the rise, it is important to understand how a purchase now will impact the business down the road. For example, it might be worth considering owning instead of renting equipment or property.

Real estate is also a key consideration for business owners, as it is often one of the largest expenses they face. Purchasing a space instead of renting could be a better long-term solution, given rents in many cities continue to rise at a pace that makes long-term agreements a less attractive option.

Ultimately, the window for low rates seems to be closing, so moving to a more entrepreneurial mindset and investing through capital expenditures may be beneficial. Bankers can help owners evaluate these options for the short- and long-term.

Be in regular communication with your banker.

Finally, it is critical to maintain regular communication with your banker. Business owners should consistently share what is happening and ask the tough questions to see what changes can be made for the time ahead.

Bankers are here to support owners and to help businesses succeed—having the full picture will result in sound advice and recommendations.

Dominic is a executive vice president for the Business Banking division at UMB. He joined UMB in 2013 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.

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UMB Insights: Commercial Lending

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Own a business? Earlier, we gave you an inside scoop from a lender’s perspective. Whether you’re just starting a company or renewing a long-time loan, here are a few more tips on what lenders need from you. We’ll also give you a look inside the industry and what types of loans we’re seeing this year.

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Connecting the Dots: Commercial client forum

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You’ve probably attended industry or community events with time set aside for networking. But, have you ever met at your company’s bank for an event dedicated solely to networking and sharing ideas? Earlier this year, UMB’s commercial banking team brought together a group of our clients to share ideas and perspectives about everything from succession planning to product evolution and other leadership topics. We sat down with Brian Beaird, senior vice president in UMB’s Commercial Banking department, to discuss this informative client forum.

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What was your goal with the forum?

We wanted to bring in a handful of our clients so they could discuss leadership topics and expand their business networks. The goal was to create meaningful opportunities to develop relationships beyond traditional commercial banking interactions. We wanted to connect our clients to others like them so they could discuss real-life challenges and take away tangible ideas to consider for their businesses.

Who did you invite to this event?

We invited senior leadership from ten middle market clients across our eight-state footprint. The clients represented various industries, from construction to non-profits. They also represented various types of leadership within the company. Three of the businesses are family run, ranging from first to third generation leadership.

Specifically, what did the attendees discuss?

In addition to the general leadership topics, we utilized articles from the Harvard Business Review to guide our discussion. The articles created a framework for facilitated discussion that created unique perspectives based on the various styles of leadership in the room and industry-specific scenarios that enabled group members to think differently about their business.

What surprised you about their conversations?

The clients who attended provided a unique perspective that helps us to better understand how various industries are performing and how they are projected to perform. Additionally, it was interesting to watch the attendees make connections to similar issues they’ve experienced, even if they were in different industries. For example, one attendee was concerned with an aspect of his company’s succession plan. Another attendee had a very similar experience in his company and the two were able to talk after the forum and exchange ideas on how to help solve the problem.

What was the outcome of these meetings?

The companies we bring in for these forums are geographically separated, but they have begun to do business together and leverage the experiences of the group as an information source for decision-making. Two attendees have actually developed a business partnership as a direct result of this meeting.

Having done two of these forums since last fall, we continue to follow up with the attendees to ensure the conversation continues. In fact, one member requested that we help lead a strategic off-site meeting for their company.

The most important takeaway we’ve seen from these meetings is the company leaders have realized it’s important for them to branch outside of their networks like this on a regular basis. Communicating with other companies outside the standard, day-to-day business interactions can help you create partnerships you may never have developed otherwise. You may even be able to learn from the experiences of other companies and apply them to your own.


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Mr. Beaird is a senior vice president in UMB’s Commercial Banking department. He is responsible for commercial banking strategy, which focuses on the development of growth through our people and various markets. He joined UMB in 2009 and has 14 years of experience in the financial services industry. He earned an MBA and a master’s degree in human resources from Webster University in Kansas City, MO. Mr. Beaird is also the co-founder of the Kids to Kings youth basketball organization.

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