Finding the Right Bank for You and Your Business: Northwestern Bank

Tracey Smiskey, the Market President of Eau Claire for Northwestern Bank, shares some insights on creating a partnership with your bank. Here’s what she had to say

V1 Staff

Some of the Northwestern Bank team, including Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jerry Kuehl, right.
Northwestern Bank's team is committed to creating a partnership with you and becoming apart of your team, including Tracey Smiskey (right).

Opening an account for your new business is exciting and yet, also can feel a little overwhelming. This is why it's important to get to know your banking team. Whether you own an LLC or have a side hustle to make some extra income, it’s important to find a bank that not only keeps your hard-earned money safe, but can truly become a part of your team. Tracey Smiskey, Market President of Northwestern Bank in Eau Claire, shares some insight into the different qualities you should look for in a bank when it comes to choosing one to partner with.

1. What is the most important thing to look for in a bank?

Choosing a bank for your business is about more than finding out what types of accounts they offer. It’s about discovering which bank will be the best partner for your business. Most financial institutions have similar products. What separates us all is how we work with our clients to assist them in selecting the right products and services for their business. When researching a bank be sure to interview your prospective banker. Ask questions about the bank’s values to see if they align with your business values. Find out how important decisions affecting your bank accounts or future loans will be made. Discuss how you will communicate with your banking team. You should not feel that you are just another transaction – together your bank should be a part of your business team.

2. When should I talk to my bank about my side hustle?

Right away! If you have a side hustle you are a business owner and should have a “doing business as” or business account. In today’s culture, the term side hustle is used frequently by many because it sounds less intimidating than acknowledging yourself as the bold entrepreneur that you are. The truth is you are selling goods or services and, are hopefully, making a profit. This is the definition of a business. The easiest way to keep track of your business income and expenses is to have a separate account.

3. How can I create a partnership with my bank?

A partnership is a criterion that you and your bank should cultivate from the beginning. Search for a banking team that is willing to take the time to listen to you and your story. Share with the bank what you would like your business relationship to look like. If you need help understanding terms and want to be able to call your business banker with questions, be sure to list that as an expectation. This allows the bank to share its common practices with you. If you currently feel your bank isn’t meeting your expectations, set up a meeting with your banker to find out if there is an opportunity to improve your relationship.

4. Why do you enjoy creating relationships with local entrepreneurs?

Part of the fun of being a business banker is hearing the amazing dreams of local, entrepreneurs and then witnessing their dreams come true. We see the hard financial decisions and sacrifices that people make, as well as, the determination of so many to succeed in their endeavors. Small business owners have many demands on their time and they need resources quickly. Whether it is aligning them with another entrepreneur to collaborate with, or referring them to a community partner program that can help resolve an issue, we are here to connect them with local resources. One of the great joys of this role is to celebrate the milestones and successes of these talented entrepreneurs.

5. How does Northwestern Bank stand out from other banks?

We are a local, community bank and have a strong philanthropic history in the Chippewa Valley. Northwestern Bank is driven by our five core values and mission to build stronger communities where people matter. We still make all our decisions on loans, lines of credit, and other banking services right here at our headquarters in Chippewa Falls. This means that decisions can be made more quickly than at larger banks where financial proposals are sent to regional hubs for approval. Additionally, your business banker has the opportunity to advocate directly with decision-makers for your banking needs.

Northwestern Bank

Offices in Chippewa Falls, River Prairie, Lafayette, Boyd, Cornell, and Thorp
(715) 723-4461 (Chippewa Falls)
(715) 839-8642 (River Prairie)



On the Money is sponsored by:

Royal Credit Union
200 Riverfront
Downtown Eau Claire

On the Money is sponsored by:

Royal Credit Union
200 Riverfront
Downtown Eau Claire