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Lenders are competing fiercely for small companies. Here's what you should expect from your bank:Reliability
A "relationship manager" can answer simple financial questions and connect you with bank specialists. You shouldn't have to deal with 800 numbers and telephone menus.Responsiveness
It's critical to have direct access to an experienced loan officer who is also a key decision maker. Expect approval within 48 hours on a standard, non-SBA loan application.Stability
Ask about the turnover rate of loan officers. The current industry average is five months.Customization
Your banker should become familiar with your business and should tailor financial products to your needs.Watchdog Services
The bank should monitor your overall debt level and alert you well in advance if it gets too high, rather than calling to cut you off.Growth Capacity
A bank's lending is limited by its asset size. If you choose a small bank, make sure it has SBA-backed lending capabilities and an effective network of correspondent banks.Network of Experts
Your banker should be able to refer you promptly to outside professionals such as lawyers, tax planners, and accountants.Personal Banking
Your company's bank should also offer you investment services, wealth management, personal loans, and credit cards.