Choosing the right banking partner

Choosing a financial institution for your business or nonprofit is one of the most important business decisions you can make. In addition to products and fees, it’s important to choose a bank that complements your organization’s specific needs.

As the president and CEO of the Associated Builders & Contractors Pacific Northwest chapter, Laurie Kendall has a lot of people who rely on her leadership.

“We are the voice for the open shop or merit shop contractors, so we have political advocacy, and we also do workforce training, safety, business development,” Laurie says.

The association serves members of the commercial construction industry throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

For Laurie, ABC’s day-to-day operations require a banking partner that can be nimble, knowledgeable and accessible. She found that with Oregon Pacific Bank’s Stephanie Cannon, a Senior Vice President and Relationship Banking Officer.

“It’s about relationships,” Laurie says. “I love that I can pick up the phone, I can send an email, I can send a text. Help, I’m having problems with this. She is on it. And that’s what I need. I need someone that is going to take care of me.”

There are four key components Stephanie encourages businesses and nonprofits to consider when choosing a banking partner, beyond products, fees and interest rates.

  • Are the bank’s decision makers local?
  • Do they understand your business and have expertise in your field?
  • Can they support your business through growth and expansion?
  • What level of service and engagement will you receive?

“Is that banker available?” Stephanie says. “Can you pick up the phone and call them? How does that banker work with the business directly? Are they asking a lot of questions? Are they really understanding where the business has been and where the business needs to go? Do they understand the unique components to each industry and know how to talk about those to other decision makers or other people within the business community?”

Stephanie says she knows the answers to those questions because she cares about her clients. “I find a genuine passion in getting to know how a business owner started their business, why they started and what direction they’re taking it.”

Laurie says she appreciates that Oregon Pacific Bank offers more than just financial expertise to both businesses and nonprofits. They also offer true client engagement and a real banking relationship.

“When you have a local bank like Oregon Pacific Bank, that understands what Oregon is about, understands nonprofits—that’s very important,” she says. “While we’re not for profit, our members are for profit, so here you have a bank that can service both sides. That’s a one-stop shop right there.”

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