Blog   Tagged ‘relationship’

Do niche markets need niche banking? (The answer may surprise you.)

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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.

UMB Bank niche markets

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.

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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.



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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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