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Partnered for success 8 min read

Why business owners should bank on a better match

Feeling withdrawn in your banking relationship? What to consider when it's time to move on – and how to pair up with a partner who's in sync with your success.

As that well-known golden oldie woefully croons, breaking up is hard to do.

But what if it’s your relationship with your bank that’s got you blue?

Knowing when it’s time to move on from your financial services provider is one thing. Actually making the switch is another. And let’s be real, it’s a pretty big decision. Even more so if you’ve been loyal to your bank for years and yet the relationship’s been going progressively downhill.

While letting go of your old bank isn’t easy, the payoff of aligning with a banking partner that’s better positioned to meet your needs is well worth it, says Chris Greenway, CWB Senior Commercial Relationship Manager – especially when your new bank shares your commitment to your financial success.

Greenway knows strong relationships are built on trust. So here he gives some straight talk on the process of withdrawing from your current bank and investing in a new one.


Thinking of switching? Some things to consider 

Identify your pain points. Will changing banks solve them?

“Think about what’s been keeping you up at night,” says Greenway who’s based out of CWB’s Kelowna Banking Centre. “What’s causing issues at your present bank? Is the root of it a banking problem, or does it go deeper, the impact of economic factors or the result of business decisions? Think carefully about whether moving to a new bank is going to fix things or if you’re just putting a bandage on a bigger problem.”


Get clear on your business banking needs.

“What kind of business do you have – are you a start-up, a growing and expanding entity, a maturing business – and how does that align with the products, services, and expertise offered at the banks you’re considering?” says Greenway. He adds it’s also important to do your research and ask lots of questions before committing to a new banking partner.


Determine the kind of relationship you want with your bank.

“Do you only want to connect with your financial services partner once or twice a year or are you looking for something more hands-on as a trusted advisor, where there’s ongoing two-way communication? Do you want to engage with just one person or are you after a more team-based approach that provides a variety of services – like cash management, personal financial planning, commercial lending, and wealth management? What you’ll discover with CWB is we act a lot differently from other banks. We’re high touch and interactive, we’re relationship-focused, and we bring multiple team members to your table with different specialties and expertise to help you achieve your goals.”


Understand there’s no quick fix – switching takes time and effort

Changing banks isn’t an easy decision. Likewise, change doesn’t happen at the flick of a switch.

Greenway says to think of the process like moving into a new house. There will be lots of work and some stressful moments before, during, and after the move. At CWB you’ll have the help of experts, so that lifting those heavy boxes – or in this case, arranging hundreds of vendor/supplier Electronic Funds Transfers – is accomplished through teamwork.

“Full transparency – moving your banking doesn’t happen in an instant. I always tell my clients to be prepared and to have patience. Trust the process. It may not feel like things are moving fast, and at times maybe they’re not, but it’s important to do things right and accurately. That includes properly moving over all vendor and payment information, making sure everyone has all the correct authorization levels, and getting people comfortable using the new system.”

Greenway says to generally expect a banking transition to take one to two months – that’s from saying ‘let’s do this’, to the accounts being ready to use and staff feeling confident using them. That said, he explains that certain factors can extend the timeline, including your personal situation and complexity.

For example, it may be necessary to run parallel accounts at both banks for a period. This can happen if there are outstanding loans at your old bank and payments that must be re-routed, or if you missed providing information about pre-authorized credits that need to come over. Likewise, if you haven’t told your incumbent bank that you’re switching, you may have to wait for other activities or payouts to close with them before you can start using your new accounts.

The good news is there are some tangible things you can do to support a smooth transition process. As Greenway explains, much of it comes down to being well-organized with your financial and business information, including the right people in discussions and decisions, and being prepared to ask (and be asked) lots of questions.

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Setting yourself up for a successful switch 

Have a bank package ready to go

“Pull your key documents together into a bank package – like margining reports, at least three months of bank account statements from high/medium/low activity months, accounts receivable, accounts payable, year-to-dates financial statements, business plan, and ownership documents,” says Greenway. “Rather than waiting for us to ask for this information, being proactive about it saves time on your end as well as the CWB’s. It enables cash management to compare what accounts and services you have now versus what CWB would offer. We can then give you an estimate of the potential cost savings you’d receive if you switched. Being forthcoming with information also ensures our cash management team has what they need to get your accounts and services properly set up.”


Provide an up-to-date list of your vendors and suppliers

“Having an accurate running vendor list can certainly speed up the process. That said, we appreciate that some clients may have 1,000s of transactions to move over. In those cases, we’re prepared to run parallel accounts with the incumbent bank to ensure every possible transaction is coming through the way it’s supposed to. It just takes a bit more time.”


Make time for the bank to come to you

“Allow us to visit your business, see it with our own eyes, and get to know you and your people. This helps us get a good understanding of you and your needs – and gives you a chance to get to know us, too. And don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions – because we’ll do the same. That’s what we’re here for, and those conversations lead to solutions that directly address your reasons for switching.” 


Bring impacted internal stakeholders to the table

“It’s incredibly helpful when the decision-maker involves those who will be affected by the change. For example, a CFO, bookkeepers, administrative assistant – whoever touches the day-to-day banking and is most likely to have conversations with our cash management team going forward. Business owners may have minimal interaction with the accounts, such as authorizations, and not know the ins-and-outs and all the pain points. Involving impacted stakeholders in meetings with the new bank creates a space for them to ask questions. These could be questions the business owner doesn’t know to ask because they’re not doing things like day-to-day deposits.”


Effort well spent 

Greenway says there are typically two scenarios that lead a client to switch to CWB – they’re either dissatisfied with their current financial institution or they got an initial taste of the CWB experience, realized that banking can be different… and now they want more of it.

“For those who proactively come to us looking for a new bank, they could be having a lot of turnover with their account manager, or resistance with credit risk on their latest loan application – or maybe their lending terms and conditions just aren’t working for them. So they know what they’re running from and it’s our job to show them what they’re running to. Others might not even realize they have pain points with their current bank until they start interacting with us – like for a construction mortgage request. They might realize, hey wait a minute: you’re a lot more active and responsive than the account manager at my main bank. And your turnaround’s faster. And your terms and conditions are more aligned with what we need. Sometimes people have to experience us first before they realize things can be different – and better.”


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Experience a difference you can feel

CWB is loved by those who typically don’t love banks. But why? Here’s what Greenway’s clients say sets the bank apart, including how it differs from the “big bank” mentality:


  • Easy to reach, and the bank comes to them
  • Nimbleness, speed, creativity, and flexibility
  • Relationship Managers communicate with the loan adjudicators
  • Unlike some credit unions, not constrained by fewer product/service offerings or limited capital
  • United team approach – connected to groups like in-house equipment financing experts and cash management pros, and can bring specialists to the table like CWB Wealth and other CWB partner companies, such as CWB National Leasing or CWB Franchise Finance

“Here you won’t be bounced from one person to the next when you’re trying to get a hold of someone –you have a direct line,” says Greenway. “We’re not the ‘call centre bank’ and we’re not here to make you feel small. We’re all humans and we understand there’s a lot more to the relationship than just bank and client.”

Ready to chat about making a move? Connect with us here.

Sure, switching might leave your old bank feeling blue. But when it’s time for a change, know the shift from a tired, drab relationship to a well-matched business banking partner will set you on a course that’s coloured with success.