One of our favorite parts of what we do is learning about other industries from our clients, referral partners and trusted advisors. One industry we’ve been learning a lot about these past few years is the financial services industry. Whether it’s filing your taxes, purchasing a home and securing financing or investing your money and creating a legacy account for your children and grandchildren, everyone depends on financial experts at some (or many!) points during their lives.
At Wild Fig Marketing, we are honored to share the company of many incredible women in the financial services industry. We took some time recently to interview four of these women and learn from them. We think you will find their insights valuable!
This is the second in a series of four interviews.
We’d like to introduce you to Susan Anderson, Senior Vice President at VisionBank.
Hello Susan! Can you please give us a brief overview of what you do at VisionBank?
I am the Senior Vice President at VisionBank and I am involved in the lending process, from developing businesses and underwriting credit requests to managing the ongoing relationships. Most banks and bankers are not involved in that process in its entirety. I find it beneficial because I really “know” my clients and can better advocate for them when they have a need.
What is a common myth in your industry?
That you should bank with someone in your neighborhood or close to your home or office. I do not discount the value of a bank that understands the “neighborhood” but you should be able to have a relationship with a bank anywhere in the metro area or beyond. Most people never go to their bank—they don’t have to. It isn’t just the big banks who offer all the services you need. You should be able to conduct all of your banking affairs remotely. One exception to this is a business that relies heavily on cash. However, they could still transact daily cash needs at a local bank and use a different bank for their lending needs.
If you could only share one tip (relating to your industry) with small businesses this year, what would it be and why?
Stay in communication with your banker. If you don’t have a banker, go to a community bank and establish a relationship. There will be a point in your business when you will need someone who knows you and your business and will be willing to assist you to the best of their ability. Think of the PPP (The Paycheck Protection Program) process and the stories you’ve heard from many small business owners who weren’t able to get their applications processed or were told they didn’t qualify when they did. They probably would have had a different experience if they had a personal banker. You don’t know when you will need someone to help you out so establish that relationship in advance.
Who do you love to work with and what do you love most about the work you do?
I love working with small business owners and helping them make their dreams a reality. Sometimes they aren’t quite ready for bank financing. In those instances, we try to provide them with direction to get to that point. I really enjoy learning about different industries and business practices. I have the benefit of many years in this profession which allows me to work towards finding the best, most creative loan structure for each client. We keep our loan policy to a minimum to allow for greater flexibility in structuring transactions.
What’s your #1 go-to resource (websites, podcasts, publications, etc) for information about your industry?
I feel like we have the best internal team and we are able to work together to determine the best next steps. We discuss things and bounce things off of one another frequently. Occasionally I go to ICBM (Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota), but not often. For “outsiders” who are looking for information, the FDIC reports on every bank and the information is available to the public. That said, hopefully you have a banker who can answer any questions you have!
To learn more about VisionBank, visit their website at www.bankwithvision.com.