Finding the Right Bank for Your Business: Northwestern Bank
a conversation with Jerry Kuehl of Northwestern Bank about what to look for when choosing a bank for your business
So you’re starting your own business – congrats! – but where do you start? Most importantly, what place are you going to choose to keep your hard-earned money safe? There is a lot to consider when choosing a bank for your business. First are the questions about their standard banking services, like the types of accounts, fees, etc. Then there are the questions about the bank itself that help you decide if this is the right bank for your business long-term. Jerry Kuehl, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Northwestern Bank, shared insights into questions business owners may have about opening a business account – beyond the standard services.
1. When should someone open a business bank account?
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 online banking access. Many people wonder if they need accounts for their side hustle. It’s a good idea to open a business banking account for your side hustle as any income over $600 is considered taxable. Good record keeping is key to avoiding penalties and fines and using a business checking account can help you meet that goal.
2. Where should someone get started on their search for a bank?
There are many places to start and you can Google questions to ask. I’d consider a local community bank since they are small business specialists, know the community well, and can help connect with local resources and expertise. However, make sure that the bank’s location and hours work for your business needs. Then ask other entrepreneurs you know and trust who they bank with and if they are having a positive experience.
3. What’s the most important thing to look for in a bank?
This will vary depending on your business needs. However, make sure you ask questions beyond what banking services are available. What sets their bank apart from others? This is a long-term relationship that is important to your business’s success. It is important to know your bank’s customer service process. Ask questions about the bank’s communication style and who on the lending or cash management team you have direct access to when questions arise. Another point to consider is do the bank’s values match your business values. If you focus on community involvement ask what your bank does to enhance your community as well.
4. How does Northwestern Bank stand out from other banks?
NB is a local, community bank that started in the Chippewa Valley. We have over a 100-year history of helping local businesses with their banking needs. We still make all our decisions on loans, lines of credit, and other banking services right here in the Chippewa Valley. This means that decisions can be made more quickly than at larger banks where financial proposals are sent to regional hubs for approval. Also, your business banker has the opportunity to advocate directly with decision-makers for your banking needs.
5. What guidance does Northwestern give to business owners starting a business account?
Our team members are passionate about helping entrepreneurs start on the right foot. We will sit down with each business and learn about their vision, goals, and any challenges they are facing. We are there to answer questions, give banking solution recommendations, and share best cash management practices. Banking is a partnership and we want to see the businesses we work with succeed. It’s not only good for them but for our community to have thriving businesses and job opportunities. If you’re not sure where to start we will meet with you to go over your plan, listen to your questions, and give you feedback on how to make the most of available financial options.
Offices in Chippewa Falls, River Prairie, Lafayette, Boyd, Cornell, and Thorp
(715) 723-4461 (Chippewa Falls)
(715) 839-8642 (River Prairie)