Finding the Right Bank for Your Business: Northwestern Bank
a conversation with Jerry Kuehl of Northwestern Bank on what to look for when choosing a bank for your business
So you’re starting your own business – congratulations! – But where to start ? More importantly, where will you choose to keep your hard-earned money safe? There’s a lot to consider when choosing a bank for your business. First there are the questions about their standard banking services, like account types, fees, etc. Then there are questions about the bank itself that help you decide if it’s the right bank for your long-term business. Jerry Kuehl, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Northwestern Bank, shared his thoughts on questions business owners may have about opening a business account — beyond the standard services.
1. When should a business bank account be opened?
It’s best to open a business account before you start accepting or spending money as a business. This will make your tax process easier. Common business accounts include checking and savings with access to online banking. Many people wonder if they need accounts for their side business. It’s a good idea to open a business bank account for your side business, as any income over $600 is considered taxable. Good record keeping is essential to avoid penalties and fines and using a business checking account can help you achieve this goal.
2. Where to start looking for a bank?
There are many starting points and you can ask questions on Google. I would consider a local community bank as they are small business specialists, know the community well, and can help connect with local resources and expertise. However, make sure the bank’s location and hours of operation match your business needs. Then ask other entrepreneurs you know and trust who they do business with and if they have a positive experience.
3. What is the most important thing to look for in a bank?
This will vary depending on your business needs. However, be sure to ask questions beyond the banking services available. What sets their bank apart from others? This is a long-term relationship that is important to the success of your business. It is important to know your bank’s customer service process. Ask questions about the bank’s communication style and which members of the loan or cash management team you have direct access to when questions arise. Another point to consider is whether the bank’s values match your company’s values. If you focus on community engagement, ask your bank what your bank is also doing to improve your community.
4. How does Northwestern Bank differ from other banks?
NB is a local community bank that originated in the Chippewa Valley. For over 100 years, we’ve been helping local businesses meet their banking needs. We continue to make all our decisions regarding loans, lines of credit and other banking services here in the Chippewa Valley. This means that decisions can be made more quickly than in large banks where financial proposals are sent to regional centers for approval. Additionally, your investment banker has the ability to advocate directly with decision makers for your banking needs.
5. What advice does Northwestern have for business owners setting up a business account?
Our team members are committed to helping entrepreneurs get off to a good start. We will meet each company and learn about their vision, goals and challenges they face. We’re here to answer questions, provide recommendations for banking solutions, and share cash management best practices. The bank is a partnership and we want to see the companies we work with succeed. It’s not only good for them, but also for our community to have thriving businesses and job opportunities. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll meet with you to go over your plan, listen to your questions, and give you feedback on how to get the most out of the financial options available.
Offices in Chippewa Falls, River Prairie, Lafayette, Boyd, Cornell and Thorp
(715) 723-4461 (Chippewa Falls)
(715) 839-8642 (Rivière Prairie)