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Why A Good Relationship With Your Bank Is Important

Updated: Sep 8, 2020


Sharon: Hello, everyone, this is Sharon Heller with Network in Action in Denver, and I'm here today with Brandon Willis from US Bank. Hi Brandon.


Brandon: Good afternoon. Sharon: Yeah, thanks for joining me today. Brandon: Thanks for having me.


Sharon: Good. Well, to get started. Why don't you just share a little bit about your role with US Bank?


Brandon: It's really quite simple. My job is to bring new clients into the bank, to introduce US Bank to the community and share our story and how we can help empower small businesses, that's really at the end of the day. Let's get more people acquainted with US Bank and the good things that we're doing.


Sharon: Great. Thank you. And thank you for taking the time to meet with me, because everybody I talk to in the banking industry, you guys are busy and it's been a very consuming period of time with the loans and everything. You've been supporting individuals and business owners. Can you talk a little bit about how the needs of your customers have changed during these last four months?


Brandon: Well, sure. I think that we all, and this is not just unique to banking, but I think everybody at the beginning of the year was thinking long term, thinking about what you wanted to accomplish in 2020. You how it was going to be better than 2019.

And then we all got hit with like, a ton of bricks, with COVID. And then the thinking is very short term. It's survival mode. It's how do we survive. And so the thinking went, again, way off into the distance to right immediately what's in front of me. I just need to...

Frankly, be working minute to minute, just to make sure that these businesses stay intact. And that's not true of every business. There's plenty of businesses that we work with that are thriving, despite what's going on here, and we're here to help them too, but at the end of the day, the attention has really been on those businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. And we've been working around the clock to make sure that these businesses have tools at their disposal to help them survive. And then what's nice is, is over the past few weeks, we're starting to see people talk about the future, which is a great conversation to be having, that I haven't had for a few months and gets me pretty excited to get up, and get after it every day.


Sharon: Yeah. Good. Thank you. So given that, would you still say it's a great time for people to reach out and have a conversation and if so, how are you able to help people?


Brandon: 100 percent. It is absolutely, it is the perfect time to have a conversation.

I think what we're all doing is kind of re-evaluating, re-examining our relationships, and figuring out who's really been there, who is there for us, if they weren't there for us, we need to find out who will be there for us. So right now is a perfect time to introduce yourself to a bank or a banker, because this is a relationship business.

We all, more or less do the same thing, right. No one is recreating the wheel. So that relationship is critical. And now is an excellent time to re-establish, get reacquainted with your banker, talk to a new bank, and develop a relationship. I don't want to, nor can I bank, every single person in the city, to business. But I think every business would be better off if they had a great relationship with their banker. And my passion, is to make sure that that happens. I want to make sure that you love your bank, you love your banker. I want to create a fan culture. I want people to be fans of not just me, but the bank and the relationships that we develop in there. And so now is a great time. And so, to circle back to your question, what are we doing? I was thinking about it, and really the immediate need is PPP. We're a business. We're still processing PPP loans.


If you don't know whether or not you are eligible for a PPP loan, a quick conversation with your rep. would let you know. And it's not a waste of your time, and if you are eligible you should take advantage, if you feel the need. And so there are still institutions, including mine, that are doing those PPP loans. And that's an excellent way to help your business very inexpensively. Second thing, I would caution people with loan deferrals, you hear a lot about loan referrals and yes, every big bank, or our bank, I'll speak just about US Bank, we are offering that.


I want everybody to have a long conversation with their representative before they do that because the rules are different for everyone and you don't want to have a huge three-month balloon payment. That's happening and a lot of people are getting rude awakenings, where there were three months down the road and they're starting to think things are OK, or things may not still be OK, and now you have a huge payment due. That's not every deferral, but you need to make sure you're comfortable with the agreement, have a good understanding of the agreement that you're getting into. So, yes, those are out there, are great tools if used wisely. So that's another thing I look at.


It's a good time to re-examine pricing and sometimes you have to go look elsewhere to get better pricing. I say that about your loans, and I say that if you're swiping cards or processing cards, this is an outstanding time to at least, have a brief conversation to see if that makes sense for your business. That's one of the things I'm so proud of, because I would say about seven times out of ten, we're finding a substantial amount of savings for, particularly new customers.


But this is a great time and I think that's a good thing for people to do. And I would say that you know, while I don't do it, I can introduce you to friends that are examining. If you haven't looked at your mortgage, your personal mortgage, I don't know why. Rates are at historic low. They really have made the process pretty, pretty easy at this point. My wife and I did it a few months ago, email, upload, email, show up at closing. They've really mainstreamed and fine-tuned that process, and I think that you should absolutely be talking to somebody. And again, I don't do it, but I obviously have plenty of friends and contacts, particularly in our group, that I would be happy to introduce you to. And I think that you at least need to look at what that will do for your cash flow, because cash flow is at the top of everybody's mind right now.


And how can I improve cash flow? Well, that's really at the end of the day, my job is to find two or three things that I can do to help your business cash flow, so that you can either reinvest that back into the business or have some more take home to your family.


One other thing that I am doing, that I really am proud of, and that's introducing my clients to other clients, so if there's a way for them to work together and create business opportunities for themselves, then I am going to do that. And I've been more intentional about doing that in the last two months, than I have in the 20 years that I've been doing that, just making connections and saying, hey listen, listening and having a good time comes from a good understanding of your clientele; but hey, listen, I think you should talk to this person, it would be worth having a conversation, I think you two can help each other out. And at the very least, you have an additional person in your network that's a good person. So those are the, you know, long story short, short story long, ways that we can help, that I can help my clients.


Sharon: Thank you, Brandon. That was tremendously informative. And it is such an essential time for people to really have that great relationship. So, you know, we're hearing the horror stories of those who don't and didn't. So I hope a lot of people reach out to you after hearing you speak. I know I absolutely highly recommend you

and US Bank. And what's your take away as we close today?


Brandon: The takeaway is that I am here. I'm here for my clients. I'm here for people in the community. I grew up here. I live here. I will retire here and I'm not going anywhere.

So it's important to me that I'm serving. I'm not just making money, but I'm serving my community. I'm serving my town. I'm very proud of it. Even if it means that we're not doing business together at the moment, I'm here as a resource. What everybody should know is that the bank can't do well unless you're doing well.

And so if you're struggling, there are several ways that we can help. There is no one size fits all. It's really about having a conversation and getting a good understanding of what your needs are. But we're willing, I am willing to have those conversations to say, let me find out the two or three things that I can do to help you out. And let's come up with a plan, execute on that plan, and then get you to the next level of your business. If it's just keeping you afloat, that's fine. If it's getting you into a transitioning you from short term to long term, let's do that. There are, again, plenty of things we can do. But I'm here to listen. I am thinking of, really, the last thing is, that not having a relationship in 2020 is not an option.


The horror stories are out there for you not having somebody to talk to, not having help at the time when you needed it the most. So even if you don't need help right now, you may need it in the near future. That's good. Now is as good a time as any to establish that relationship. And I'd love to have those conversations.


Sharon: Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree. How can people reach out to you? What's the best way to contact you?


Brandon: Two ways. 720-584-7473. Pick up the phone any time, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Then I'll start again having conversations about 7:00 p.m. and I'll take that, as late as I need to take it right now. And then you can also reach me at brandon.willis@usbank.com


Sharon: Thank you, Brandon. It was fantastic. I learned a lot today. Brandon Willis

with US Bank and Sharon Heller from Network and Action, signing off and wishing you a great day.

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