Relationship Banking is for Everyone

Relationship Banking is for Everyone

Depending on where you bank, you may hear the term “private banking” or “relationship banking.” These terms are often used to describe services for wealthy individuals or people who have accounts beyond checking and savings accounts (e.g., investment portfolios, trusts, business accounts and/or complex loans).

But having a banker who knows you and your financial situation is for everyone. Getting thorough and sound financial advice should not be reserved for people with complex needs. Both you and your bank win when your financial situation improves and flourishes, so be sure to leverage this mutual benefit to your advantage.

Here’s what to look for in your relationship with your bank and the people who work there:

  • First, beware of banks that stuff your mailbox or inbox with cash incentives to reel you in. Banks can blanket mailboxes and media everywhere with offers of cash or an interest rate for a specified timeframe to open an account, but that short-term gain doesn’t really pay off in the long term. That institution has assigned a dollar value to a relationship with you from the start, without knowing you or showing you the level of personalized service or advice they’re prepared to give. After that one-time bonus, what will they do to help you prosper?

  • Experienced professionals. The best advisors are those who have been in the business for years -- in both good economic times and bad. Experienced bankers tailor the advice based on what phase of life you’re in. If they don’t ask questions about your household and who’s in it and your needs, plans, and dreams for the next five, 10 or 20 years, they can’t possibly give you good financial advice. The best financial services professionals have seen clients through thick and thin, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious about sharing financial challenges with them. They’ve got your back and will give their best advice to help you get back on solid footing.

  • A heart for service. Does the team seek to help you with whatever you need, whether it’s assistance with the mobile or online banking app, tips for budgeting, using credit wisely or thinking ahead for a new baby or sale of your home and purchase of the next? The best bankers are those who love to help people. They’ll talk you through the pros and cons of all the options, and if they can’t help you, they’ll often refer you to someone who can, whether that’s a teammate or a CPA, bookkeeper, lawyer or realtor.

  • Teamwork. A great financial services professional doesn’t do their job alone. They’re closely connected to people in other areas of the bank, including trust, wealth management, mortgage, credit, treasury services and more. Find someone who doesn’t just hand you off to the next banker but instead functions as a quarterback, coordinating the work with one or more of their teammates to ensure you have a great experience and that they are knowledgeable about your whole financial picture.

  • More ease in conducting your financial business. Look for a bank that seeks to make your life easier. That includes peace of mind that you trust your financial advisor to have your best interest in mind and tools to help you conduct your banking business more easily. To maximize ease, consider putting your personal and business accounts in one trusted institution, not just for convenience and efficiency but also for the benefit of relationship-based pricing. What’s more, when you ask for advice, your banker can see your full financial picture and make suggestions that best suit your current situation, goals and objectives.

And last but not least, how do you feel when you walk into the bank office? What’s the experience like? Do the people there seem happy to be working there and eager to assist you and get to know you? The best bank match for you is the one that makes you feel like you’re important, day in and day out, and that seeks to help you succeed.


Meena Batra is a financial advisor based at Pinnacle's Tysons Corner office in McLean, VA. She can be reached by phone at 571-695-9908 or by email at

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