For Better or Worse? How Big Bank Marriages Affect Local Business Owners.

weddingbandsDo you BB&T take Susquehanna Bank to be your lawfully wedded financial partner?

To have and to hold your business customers from this day forward?

In good times and bad?

To cherish them as long as their businesses shall live?

The announcement has been made. The plans are being drawn up. Winston-Salem based national banking behemoth, BB&T, has selected its new financial partner – Litiz-based Susquehanna Bank. The union will make BB&T a $200 billion+ financial institution with a stronger presence in the Mid-Atlantic, including Maryland and now Pennsylvania.

While some market analysts may consider the merger good business, many local business owners may discover that it’s not really good for their business. Yes, shareholders of both banks may be dreaming of higher profits, while business owners here at home may have to deal with significant losses, including:

  • Access to local decision makers. There’s a big benefit of working with a locally based bank; It’s called access to decision-makers. Business owners like to feel important and to share their vision with the folks who make the decisions. It’s hard to have that level of accessibility when you’re dealing with one of the largest banks in the country, and decision-makers who don’t know you or your business.
  • Trusted and familiar advisors. It’s tough going in the business climate. Today’s businesses owners need more than just loans and deposit products; they also need business bankers who understand their business and can provide advice and access to local resources to help them manage their day-to-day challenges. Often big bank mergers result in local businesses losing that personal guidance and assistance. In some cases, business owners no longer even know the name of their banker.
  • Local knowledge. Local banks have one unique advantage over their national bank counterparts – knowledge of the local marketplace. If they know a business owner, they may be able to weigh a business owner’s character in rendering decisions not solely based on credit scores. This is also important in challenging economic times when businesses owners need their banks to stand by them. Local banks understand how important businesses are to the strength of the local communities, and have a vested interest in helping them succeed.

There’s no question that larger banks offer a significant advantage in terms of depth of branches and ATM locations. However, technology has leveled the playing field. With services, such as mobile banking and remote deposit capture, business owners banking with local technology-focused banks like DNB First can connect with their money any time. And even more importantly, they can connect with their local business banker (the one who knows them and their business) any time just by picking up the phone.

Now that’s long-term commitment.


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