Relationship banking and the need for a cultural change
By Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
Today my banking facility agreement arrived for signature. This brings to a close for another year, at least, weeks of anxiety regarding whether or not the bank manager will give me the facility that I need for my business.
This anxiety is brought about because I have heard so many stories about banks refusing to support small and medium sized businesses. In these difficult economic times length of service with a bank, proven track record and great business plan count for nothing. I have no doubt that I would be facing the same fate if it wasn’t for...
...the fact that I am in the food business. Food is of course an essential for people.
Even though my bank manager is called a ‘Relationship Manager’ I don’t have a relationship with him. This isn’t because we don’t get on, but for all the years that I have been in business I have never had a relationship with any of my managers (and there have been many). To give them credit they do try. I can always tell when they have been on a new internal training course which is designed to get them to have more empathy with their customers, but it comes out as it was written in the text book. The only time their eyes light up is when you come down to the numbers. A ‘relationship’ is just too much hard work for them and it doesn’t come easy.
Today’s bankers are money men and that is where the problem lies in not giving small and medium sized business the funding they need. The boom times spawned a generation of money men who got off on the intricacy of the figures at the expense of relationships in banking. They don’t have any emotional intelligence, which... continued on page two >