Do niche markets need niche banking? (The answer may surprise you.)
What do manufacturing, wholesale distribution, pipeline energy, coal mining, energy services, architecture and engineering firms, law firms, telecommunications and infrastructure construction companies have in common? They are all niche markets that require specialized support from the companies servicing them. They are also industries that have entire dedicated departments within large banks and financial services companies.
As a leader at an energy services company, you might see value at first in a banking partner with a whole department dedicated to your specific industry. But what keeps you going back? Is it the number of people assigned to your account or is it the relationship you have with your bank?
I hope it’s the relationship. This is true for all industries; not just banking. If you develop business partnerships based on your relationship with the people at the company, you’ll find that the business part comes naturally. You’re creating additional value for your customers beyond the products and services.
Connecting, not just banking
In our case, we serve all of the industries described above with the same group of commercial bankers. Our bankers know how to lend to all different types of companies. Not only do we know the different industries, but we know how they all fit together.
For example, we’ve found that with our various niche market commercial clients, we can provide unique networking opportunities between them. It gives our customers a chance to develop business relationships outside of the financial industry. We can connect an architecture firm with a technology company that may have otherwise not had the chance to interact. We’re able to provide referrals between our clients; not only within their state but across our eight-state footprint.
When working with your commercial bank, you should see them as more than just a “banker.” They should be a problem-solver, an advisor, and most importantly, a partner. Working outside of your traditional expectations and putting your company’s best interest ahead of everything else should be the top priority.
Mr. Anderson is President of Commercial Banking for UMB Bank. He is responsible for commercial banking, treasury management, and business banking. He joined UMB in 1986 and has 33 years of experience in the financial services industry.