When approaching a bank for a traditional loan, it can be easy for business owners to get overwhelmed by their desire to impress a potential lender. But, while it is important to present a strong case for your small business, applying for a traditional bank loan is less about simply borrowing money and more about cultivating a relationship, especially since most banks genuinely want your business to succeed in the long run. In this episode, Jon Aidukonis and Gene Marks, along with John Gambardella, Managing Director and Region Director for JPMorgan Chase’s Commercial Bank in Connecticut, and Joel Nowakowski, Business Banking Manager for Chase’s Connecticut region, discuss how small business owners can work more closely with their banks to not only raise capital, but also optimize their financial practices.
1:02—Today’s Topic: What Should Small Business Owners Know Before Applying for a Traditional Bank Loan?
2:03—When applying for a loan, banks will typically look at your business’s credit score and cash flow. Most banks offer resources that specialize in assisting small business owners with the application process.
3:54—Banks genuinely want to help your business grow, so any initial meetings will focus on getting a clearer understanding of your business and its operations.
5:19—Having a business plan with concrete goals will help a bank determine whether you can generate a steady enough cash flow to eventually pay off your loan; your plan should also show how you intend to deal with any unforeseen challenges.
6:51—Don’t be afraid to ask your banking partners for their guidance or insight, especially if they’ve worked with small businesses in the past.
8:55—Given their extensive experience with finance-based technology, your bank can help you find more efficient ways to manage the collection and distribution of your funds.
11:39—Because this pandemic has forced so many small businesses to rely primarily on digital channels for their transactions, it should come as no surprise that a lot of banks are also observing an increase in online and mobile banking activity among their business owner clients.
14:18—As you discuss your goals with your banking partners, you need to be honest about your expectations. This includes how much capital you will need; how long it will take for you to pay back that investment; and how long you intend to work with them.
16:01—Because a lot of startups don’t have the track record to apply for a traditional loan, in particular those whose owners have been historically denied such resources, many banks are making it a point to support these marginalized groups so that they can build the necessary credit history.
20:58—In order to protect themselves from inflation, all business owners should divide their funds into two groups: operating cash and strategic cash, also referred to as liquidity. Ideally, they should be consulting with an assets management specialist to discuss how to invest their liquidity so that it supports their goals.
23:39—While it’s good to be conservative with your assets, at some point you need to embrace uncertainty, especially if there is the potential to grow your business.
26:59—Right now, the most successful business owners of this pandemic are those who have learned to efficiently manage their inventory through a diversification of suppliers. Since these types of businesses are constantly replenishing their stock, they tend to rely on revolving credit rather than on one-time loans.
30:04—Given how easy it is to commit fraud with a paper check, you’ll want to speak to your banking partner about how you can leverage technology to securely manage your payables and receivables.
32:55—Chase is focused on building a lasting relationship with each of its clients, which makes it the ideal bank for business owners who want personalized support and guidance on how to grow their small businesses.
This podcast is brought to you by The Hartford. When the unexpected strikes, The Hartford strikes back for over 1 million small business customers with property, liability, and workers compensation insurance. Check out The Hartford’s small business insurance at TheHartford.com.
The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are for informational purposes only, and solely those of the podcast participants, contributors, and guests, and do not constitute an endorsement by or necessarily represent the views of The Hartford or its affiliates.
You’re listening to the Small Biz Ahead podcast brought to you by The Hartford.
Jon: So, good morning everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Small Biz Ahead, this small business podcast presented by The Hartford. This is Jon Aidukonis. I am joined as always by my co-host Gene Marks. Gene, how you doing today?
Gene: I am doing good, Jon. And I just want to say I’m halfway through Ozark. So, it’s been a great time binge watching some of this TV. Just do not tell me how this ends, okay?
Jon: I am not one qualified because I am many seasons behind. But a Netflix binge is not a bad way to start the week. For our listeners, you might notice we’re on a kick right now, talking a lot about different ways you can think about financing for your business, whether you’re a startup or a little bit more mature in your operations. But we’ve talked about everything from borrowing money from family to friends, to when it might be right to talk to some private or public partnership, like an SBA or community lender. And today, we are really going back to basics and talking about when to consider a traditional bank loan and things you might need to know if that’s on your radar. We are joined by some of the experts in the field from Chase. One of those brands that I think most small business owners know and love. John Gambardella, who is Managing Director and Region Director for JPMorgan Chase’s Commercial Bank in Connecticut, and Joel Nowakowski, Business Banking Manager for Chase’s Connecticut region.
Joel: Gene, Jon, thank you. This is Joel Nowakowski. Appreciate it. And looking forward to answering your questions today on the show. Thank you for having us.
Jon: Yeah. Thanks so much for joining us.
John: Jon and Gene, it’s John Gambardella. Thank you very much for asking us to have a conversation this morning about how we can help businesses in Connecticut.
Jon: Yeah, we very much appreciate you joining in. There’s going to be a lot of alliteration today, a lot of “jah” sounds. You guys come from the bank side. If I am a small business owner, what’s maybe one of the first things I need to think about in terms of lending or how do you think about commercial loans in terms of what an applicant might need to know about when they’re ready to talk to a bank about one?
Joel: There’s many ways banks can finance a business or talk to a business about supporting their growth, and where they’re going and how to grow that business, either it be a credit facility, or a line of credit, or a conventional, or SBA loan, equipment financing, etc. Small businesses have a variety of needs. When it comes to small business loans there’s a whole host of specific requirements associated with those loans, whether they be terms or lending amount, and they vary. Some of the things that we would look at, particularly when it comes to financing, would be business credit score, looking at the cash flow of a business and typically that’s done by reviewing a set of financial documents, whether those be documents prepared by your accountant or CPA, or tax returns, etc., or even so much as reviewing a business plan.
Joel: The great thing about JP Morgan Chase and Chase business banking, we have a team of dedicated bankers that can work with you, and go over all the necessary paperwork and items that you need to either apply for a small business loan or go through the products and services that we offer to help support small businesses and midsize businesses. Another great resource that we have here at Chase is right on our website. It’s chase.com/business. It’s terrific. It’s a free platform and it offers tools and tips and insight on how to start and grow business. And it also includes on that ways to fund a business. So again, from a business banking standpoint, those are some of the things that we can offer.
John: Great, thanks. It’s interesting, I’ve been doing this for longer than I can imagine actually or believe. While technology has changed, while the delivery of information and the sharing of information has changed the core tenants to how we evaluate the company’s ability to borrow really should start with a conversation with the company, really understanding what the business does, what the business is looking to do as it positions itself for the future. And oftentimes folks when they’re talking to us about loans, don’t realize that’s what we’re really most interested is really understanding the business. You could phrase it in the, what’s driving your need for the loan? What’s exciting is, we did a recent Business Leader Outlook survey that we released on January 5th and 40% of those surveyed said, they going to be look into the financial institutions to in fact borrow more money to support a variety of reasons.
John: But what’s really interesting is most of it is to support growth, which is terrific for all of us here in Connecticut as our businesses expand. Then we look at if they have the ability to repay the loan from cash flow not from asset liquidations, but as they’re generating ongoing cash flow from providing their goods or services. And if they have the ability or how do they have the ability to pay that back. And as Joel said, there’s some interesting or valuable resources online for our business owners. But Joel also mentioned having a plan. We do spend time reviewing projections and a business plan. So we understand about what’s going to happen, what they expect to happen in the future, because that’s really how the customer is able to come to a bank and explain and show they have the ability to repay us when we make that loan.
Jon: That’s interesting, especially the comment on the future. Because I think, probably people think about lending more as a what I’ve done in the past, but that’s an interesting pivot to also think about why do you really need this asset and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
John: It takes a lot of practice. Joel and I, as I said, we’ve been doing this for a while. We partner with our underwriting folks to evaluate credit and we absolutely look at past historical performance. What businesses change, businesses grow, businesses face challenges. We’re all coming out of the unprecedented COVID impact. But doing this as long as I have, there is always something that businesses are faced with from a challenge perspective, either historically or things that are about to happen as it relates to market economic changes and understanding whether our business owner has looked at that and said, “Well, here’s my plan to approach or deal with that.” Projections obviously aren’t always a hundred percent accurate, but it’s very important to understand what the business owner, what she’s thinking about in terms of how they’re going to continue to generate sufficient cash flow to repay their vendors and the bank that they’re borrowing money from.
Joel: John said about listening and taking the time to understand the business. That’s where we as bankers really add value and like John, I’ve been doing this for a while myself, not as long as John, but long enough to know that when you take time to understand, again what the business owner is looking to do and how they operate their business and really where they’re going, you can be a much better partner to that business and that business owner and provide the guidance that they’re really looking for at a banking partner. We’ve seen it all, especially in business banking where we have this tremendous opportunity to see businesses start from one great idea that perhaps even starts in the garage or a small little office space somewhere and just continue to evolve and grow.
Joel: And we’re able to witness the vision unfold of the business owner. Again, where the banker steps in helping the business owner navigate that. That’s where we add value and with that, variety of different things can be worn out of that, whether that be financing or leveraging technology to help grow the business, or maybe even providing some valuable insight because we as bankers have come across other businesses in similar industries and can leverage some of that, to leverage some of that value to again help those businesses along the way.
Jon: That’s a great point. And Joel, I want to hit on the notion of value and partnership a little bit. I think most people probably just think, “I’m going to go to the bank and get a loan,” but what I’m getting is that there’s a whole bunch of different ways that you can support small businesses in that vertical. Can you tell us a little bit about that range of what I guess I’ll call servicer or product, and how it can evolve, maybe John, as folks grow into your space? So, if it’s more a business starting up versus someone who’s looking to accelerate or take the next step, it probably feels like your relationship with a bank or your banker could be really critical in helping you understand when they might be able to play a role in helping you accomplish those goals.
Joel: Yeah. I mean there’s some, especially now with technology and the way that technology has really integrated with financial services and banking, loans and access to capital from a lending standpoint, certainly one way. But look I mean, products and services such as just, whether they be deposit accounts, or credit cards, or payment processing, or cash management solutions, there’s so many things that we can integrate and talk to a business owner about to help them manage their business. Some of those businesses are businesses that you walk into physically on a day to day basis, whether it be a restaurant, or a professional services firm, or a business, whatever business that may be down the street, or some of those businesses may not have the bricks and mortar business front. And rather most of the businesses done online. So can we offer some payment solutions, online payment solutions, digital payment solutions to help those businesses? So there’s just so many things that we can talk about and add value when it comes to that discussion for a business owner,
John: What’s interesting is that every business is essentially the same as it relates to a business’s purpose to provide either a good or service. They need to sell that service and they need to collect the funds from those services and pay for their costs. And it’s rinse and repeat. And it sounds very, very easy when you frame it like that, but it is amazing how complex that process can be. As Joel mentioned, just simply digital technologies to be able to, through the bank, help the processing of invoices, receipt of money, posting to your general ledger. So it’s incredible how complex it can get.
John: But what they need do from an approach standpoint essentially starts out with those four things that I mentioned, and then it’s the bank’s ability to help them collect and pay their bills. And what’s interesting is that in the commercial bank, we serve 15,000 mid-size businesses. And that gives us a really good foundation for where companies have pain points in that process of delivering the good and services, doing, collecting, and paying their bills. So, it’s terrific being such an organization that has the scope that we have as a relief and mid-size businesses and in the business bank. But Joel can speak of that number’s even larger.
Joel: In business banking, again, we are extremely proud to serve. Actually we serve four million businesses across the country. And we define those businesses in the business banking space, typically with revenues of upwards of $20 million. And again, that’s just where we define it. And we have a lot of businesses in that space. And we’re accessible. Right now, we just reached this milestone. We’re in all 48 states, a brick and mortar Chase across 48 states in the country. So, we’re proud to say that we’re the only bank that is doing that and has that ability.
Joel: And as far as being responsive to our clients and the way that they need to leverage us to help operate their business, I could tell you another stat with the last two years with COVID, it’s driven a lot of our consumers and businesses to rely on digital channels. And I’ll give you another again, another statistic. For example, 86% of business owners now use the Chase Mobile business banking app to check balances and make transfers and run their day to day operations. So you think about that and it’s really, the smartphone has become a way to do banking in ways that has not been seen certainly before and has evolved quite rapidly over the last 10 years.
Jon: No, that is interesting. I think more and more people are learning to do what used to be pretty archaic operations out of their pocket. I think that the digitization, especially business practices has been incredible to observe. And I don’t think it’s slowing down anytime soon. It’s interesting to think about the range of ways a bank can partner with a small business, but maybe even bringing it back to when someone’s thinking about maybe whether it’s a loan or a payment solution, something of that nature.
Jon: What are the ways folks can then document their plans and where they can key play a role? So totally get a business plan. I think most people listening here are going to be pretty familiar with that and if not, we have some how to guides on our blog, sba.thehartford.com. Sounds like you guys might do it was chase.com/business, kind of an insights playbook. But I wonder a little bit about the forecasting in the future. So I have my business plan. I have some of my transactional statements and my business credit score. But what’s the best way for me to really articulate and document where I’m trying to go and how I think or why I think you as a banker should believe me?
Joel: There’s so many types of businesses and so many different business needs that go into that. But I think what it gets back to with what John said at the beginning of the call is just taking the time to listen and to understand what are the goals? Where do you want to go? Where do you want to take this business? And then talk about in general terms with the client how the banking relationship adds value and what the expectations are. And almost also too, talk about some of the fundamentals of, of course, the products and services that we offer and how those can help businesses grow.
Joel: But talking about to your point, Jon, just talking about lending, just it having a general idea about what the lending cycle is and the concept of lending against the business. And a lot of that really gets to the cashflow of the business. Where are the customers? And how is the business going to generate revenue. And then with that trajectory, what types of capital needs would be required to support that growth? What point would it make sense to have a conversation about ending in that situation?
Jon: I think it goes to the importance of really being honest with your partners, right? So if I’m a business owner listening, like be honest with your hopes and your dreams and what you’re trying to accomplish, because to your guys’ point, it’s about building that relationship and that true understanding, I’d say of the business and the business owner versus the business category. And I think sometimes people want to put out the presentation versus the purpose, I guess is one way to say it. And I think it’s really about keeping you guys on the same team and making sure they understand you’re in their corner.
John: One of the other things that I’m proud of from working for an organization like I do is, the question that you just ask is incredibly difficult for folks to get past. I have a great idea. Maybe historically I haven’t had access to capital, I haven’t had access to resources. So our bank makes sure that we focus in on those issues. And as an example, we made a $300,000 grant to the Women’s Business Development Council, and they specifically provide micro grants to women of color, their business owners to help them grow and sustain their ventures.
John: And that’s new in the context of making sure that those resources are available for folks, because it is very difficult for people to get a traditional loan when they have just an idea and they don’t have any proven history. You asked a great question earlier about looking backwards at historical financial statements. Well, if you’re a startup, you don’t even have that. You have a vision, and the challenge is how can you gain capital to help you launch and then grow that business. It’s a really, really good question. And it really takes everybody’s effort and help. And what Joel was saying, we do a lot of coaching and counseling in terms of how they can help build a better business plan, government resources, SBA, and the like. So it really does take thoughtful dialogue and consideration to help people find access to capital to start a business.
Joel: Getting back to, and John makes all great points. And some of the things that we do to help in the market are just incredible, and I’m also proud of as well. We’re again, we’re in 48 states across the country. So there’s a Chase branch in every state, which is incredible. And we’re the only bank to be there at this point in time.
Joel: And so is designed to reach a very large audience of business owners with all different types of needs at all different stages of their business cycle, whether that be just with the idea, I’m coming in, I’m a opening up a business account or I have some more complex needs that I’d like to talk to somewhat about or even leading up to getting a business banker in the market to speak with that will manage your business banking account on a more personal level with more frequent touch-ins and conversations around the business. So there’s just a lot that we have to offer.
Jon: Awesome. No, it sounds like it. And I think we often say in our industry, it’s a relationship business, right? And it sounds very similar as we think across more of those traditional banking outlets as well. I know Gene on the phone is going to have a lot of questions, especially being much more of a numbers guy than I am. So I’m going to invite him to talk a little bit more about the mechanics of, as we think about lending, but really do appreciate the insight and the background. I think these are good starting places for a lot of our listeners who are looking to maybe start a new venture or expand the one they have.
Gene: Thank you. And guys, Joel and John, I mean, you should know that, so I run a 10 person business. I’ve got about 10 employees and about a dozen contractors outside of Philly. So not in the Connecticut area, which I know you guys are like more in that area. But we have about 600 clients all up and down the east coast and we have a big audience that listens to these podcasts and reads our stuff. And I was hoping I could get some sort of tactical advice from you as well. Just your insights on what you’re seeing. And John, I’ll start with you because you’re middle market area. And I’m curious, we know… And I know you’re not an economist/ but I mean it seems very probable. The fed has said that they plan on raising interest rates in 2022.
Gene: It seems with inflation that some government action is going to be taken to raise rates. So interest for the first time in recent memory is going to suddenly become a thing now, do you know what I mean? Before, a lot of my clients just leaving their money in their checking account, because they had no, who cares and interest rates are like zero. But I think that’s going to change over the next year and even longer than that. So John Gambardella, I was wondering, what are you advising your clients as they head into 2022 from a cash management perspective? What do you see some of your clients doing to really protect their money, protect themselves against inflation and take advantage of rates as they raise as they go up?
John: It’s interesting. Another really good question. And the way I look at cash and liquidity really covers operating cash, which is the cash that you need to have in your checking account in order to be able to meet your current obligations as it relates to payroll, your accounts payable, monthly payments on term loans if you have, so that’s operating cash. And then you have strategic cash or liquidity, which you’re accumulating that strategic liquidity to do something with it, be it write a down payment on a modernization of a factory, acquiring new office locations. So that tends to have a little bit longer term and really folks should be looking at what the return on that is versus where can I put that money, take risk to get return which that risk also comes with the potential that there’s market corrections as it relates to volatility.
John: And then therefore that makes it not an opportunity to look at that cash and say, well, I’m going to put it in the market because I might get a return because I need that money to do something strategic, new building, new office, new equipment, expansion, hiring new folks, whatever it might be in the short run. And then there’s liquidity that our customers have. And they have significant liquidity at all periods based on being in business for a long time. That’s where we bring in our asset management team and as if it’s commercial.
John: If it’s personal money, we bring in our private bank to talk to them about investing that cash because cash, I’m using the term cash and liquidity again is immediate access to that. And then how can they invest that money, which we don’t provide investment advice as it relates to those types of strategic decisions. But we in fact work closely with our asset management and private banking team, to the extent that they have a safe longer than 12 or 24 months time horizon in terms of that cash or that liquidity need as they plan for the future. Getting back to what we were talking about earlier, which is why we spend so much time talking to our clients about what their plan for the future is. And then it includes that liquidity and investment of assets.
Gene: So how do work working capital loans figure into this? And I ask because, I have clients that are so conservative, they don’t truly understand the benefits of having working capital line to help make the best use of their cash so they can make investments, pay it down, take advantage of lower interest rates that we have right now. Tell me a little bit about the kinds of customers, how they leverage working capital loans, lines of credit as it is, and what advice you have about those types of financing?
John: It’s interesting. Your question leads me to think, the way we’re talking to our clients is you need to embrace uncertain. As I said earlier, I’ve been doing this a very long time and there’s always something that our business owners are dealing with. And you mentioned a few interesting things, raising interest rate, inflation. So somebody who has a working capital facility where they call the bank and they said, I’d like to borrow money because I going to purchase inventory and I’m going to house that inventory. And maybe that inventory’s going to cover me for nine months versus three months. So that would be a very positive use of using a bank to fund the purchase of that inventory, because they may have supply constraint concern. So for a long time, there was the theory just in time inventory. It was a very efficient way of managing your use of working capital and reducing your need to borrow it, bringing your inventory just in time.
John: Well, with the supply chain challenge, certain industries were faced with inventory shortage and you don’t have inventory, you can’t sell it. So those folks have moved to purchasing inventory, housing inventory. And then as Joel and I were talking about earlier, that’s the conversations. You should be having those conversations with your bank about what are you seeing, as Joel said, with all the clients he deals with, with all the clients, I deal with our clients, we’re communicating with them, here’s what we’re seeing others in your industry do.
John: Diversification of suppliers is incredibly important. And if you have a new supplier, maybe they won’t give you terms that you’re normal to. Maybe you’ve got to pay a little bit sooner. Again, another very good use of working capital financing from a bank. We call them revolvers or lines of credit, where you pay a spread on that. And then when you collect your money from your sales or your service, you pay the bank back. So, it’s an inflow and an outflow. It’s not something where you borrow it once and then it’s out there for 10 years. That’s really not traditional working capital financing.
Gene: Right. And I always tell my clients that to have… And I mean the average small business has like two months of cash on hand. And to me, it’s not cash on hand, it’s available cash. So if stuff ever hits the fan, like even it did with COVID but things happen. I tell my clients, they should have six months of available cash on hand. That means cash in the bank, but also a working line of credit, maybe even just personal savings that if they had to tap it, they could. So, I think your point is well taken about having that availability of that credit because it helps you in the short term to fund those kinds of things and you’re right, inventory is no longer just in time.
Gene: I think COVID has taught us that. So Joel, turning to you. A lot of small business owners are faced with some challenging ways to manage their cash this coming year. Just like I was talking about with John about overall interest rates pretending to go up, inflation being a pressure. We like to learn from what other small business owners are doing, your smartest customers what they’re doing to manage their cash. So what are you seeing out there Joel? Do you have anything to add to what John has said? Is there anything that if you were running a small business like I am, how would you be managing your cash right now? What advice do you have?
Joel: Really along the same lines as you know what John said earlier. I mean the fundamentals of how business operates, whether it be a very large company or whether it be a small to medium size company. Fundamentally, there are a lot of the same issues and challenges that those businesses face. And one of them, like John said, inventory and how to manage inventory and certainly how to manage that with the backdrop of supply chain concerns and how to navigate that and then also where to lean into your bank for say a line of credit to help manage the cash flow around that. So let me just take a step back and put this in context of the last couple years and maybe this would be helpful.
Joel: We had the PPP loan program. That was a program that was used to essentially address a cashflow potential concern of customers as we headed into a pandemic. And we as an institution deployed over $40 billion of relief through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was 400,000 clients, which were proud to be done. And when we were the leading lender for 2020 and 2021. So we had to deal with that as an advisor and help our clients through to that challenging time. And now going forward, we’re doing it without that backdrop. But a lot of those conversations are very much similar and how to strategize around that.
Joel: And like John said, how do you manage inventory in a time like this? And keeping cash on hand and making sure that you are able to service the needs of your client base. Oftentimes, that would mean we’re having a credit revolver in place and building up inventory versus having it, like John said, just in time to deal with some of the supply chain challenges. If anything, it requires more learning, more listening and more talking to us as bankers and us understanding where those challenges lie and how we can be as responsive as we can to those.
Gene: So Joel, this question is for you. We have many clients and we have of all different sizes from some companies very small, under a million dollar and revenues as high as 20, 30 million a year in revenue. I can’t tell you how many clients I go to still that are cutting checks like it’s 1995. I mean, I have one client they’ve got about a hundred employees, they do about 25 million in revenue and half their payments are still going out like regular checks instead of using an online banking service. And I’m curious to just hear Joel, what you’re seeing out there and where you think this is all going? And what do you tell your customers when you walk in and you still see them doing things sort of like the old way? What advice do you have for them?
Joel: Yeah sure. So I agree a hundred percent, we still do see that. You still see a lot of customers that are writing paper checks and relying on that form of payment to pay vendors or the like to operate their business. And we as trusted advisors, as bankers going in and talking with our clients, like that’s our responsibility to talk with them about the different types of ways that they can process payments and manage payables and receivables. And without a doubt, there is fraud that is happening. And whether it be from just taking the checking account number and routing number from the check and or whiting up the number and putting a larger number there. We try to avoid that. And the way that we do that is educate our clients on leveraging best practices and talk about fraud prevention services, creating efficiencies in the way that they manage their payables and receivables and how to leverage technology to eliminate that process altogether of writing paper checks to further ensure that the company mitigate those potential risks.
Gene: It’s a great answer. And I have to also add, you mentioned about the routing number and account numbers. And this is for all of you guys listening to this, because I’ve had experience with this. On regular checks, they include the bank’s routing number and account number. And there are many places you can go to online where you can make a payment just using a routing number and account number. So if somebody gets a hold of your check, they can create fraud with it easier than you think on some of these online places. Even the government only needs a routing number and account number for you to pay your taxes. So be very careful, I guess, is my advice. Talk to your banker. It’s one of many reasons why I think companies really need to go to online transactions.
Gene: Joel, let me ask you this question. There has been a significant growth in online lenders, online banks, merchant card services, other places where small businesses can go to get their financing outside of just sort of a traditional bank like, like your own. However, when I do talk to traditional bankers that I know, they see themselves as being sort of a part of the puzzle there. There is a place for all those different types of financing depending on the small business that’s looking to get it, and what they can afford and what their needs are. So Joel, can you just give us an idea. Where does Chase fit in with all of these different sort of options as a business owner? When would I consider Chase versus one of the other options that are available to me like an online banker or merchant advances?
Joel: Sure. So, COVID I think without a doubt has driven consumers to rely more heavily on digital channels for their banking needs. And I threw out the stat earlier that, 86% of small business owners use mobile business banking to check balances, make transfers and run their day to day operations. That’s just us right now. And we continually are investing in innovations to meet demands of growing businesses and help our business owners do business virtually anywhere anytime. Now with that being said, acknowledging that there are different types of banks out there and online banks. And I think what really sets us aside, and we’ve been talking about this throughout the show today, is having a banker in market to sit down and talk with you about your business and listen to what you, the business owner are looking to accomplish, how you’re going to grow your business and how we can partner with you and throughout the life cycle of your business.
Joel: And it’s a really high touch, personal approach to managing a business banking relationship. And we have acquired companies such as WePay in 2017 to help further our technology mission to make it easier for businesses to do business, leveraging technology platforms. And WePay is essentially another way to collect payments online. And we have a whole host of other technological features and integration with Chase business banking that again makes us what we like to say, the easiest bank for small businesses and business owners to manage their finances so they can focus on what’s important and that’s running their business. So yes, there are competitors out there and there are different solutions out there for businesses. But we feel that we offer something that’s totally different and totally unique. And with a lot of added value that really comes down to that in person local market presence and dealing with a banker face to face.
Gene: That’s great. John, thank you so much. Both of you guys, John Gambardella is the Head of Commercial Banking and Joel Nowakowski is the Head of Business Banking, both at Chase Bank. I want to thank both of you guys for joining us today. It was a great conversation. I learned a lot. So we appreciate your time.
Joel: Thank you.
John: Great. Thank you. I would love to just end by expressing my appreciation for the conversation that we had today. And also we’re in an amazing position here. We have terrific customers and clients that we learn a lot from. And a lot of what Joel and I talked about today is based on those relationships. And we just really can’t express our appreciation for our client base anymore. So thank you very much for giving us the time to talk about our amazing clients on our firm.
Gene: Well said. This is Gene Marks talking. I’m here with my co-host Jon Aidukonis. Jon, thank you very much for your involvement here. And guys, if you want more advice, tips, help in running your business, please visit us at the Small Biz Ahead website. It’s sba.thehartford.com. Thanks again guys for joining us. Hope you enjoyed this episode and we see you again shortly. Take care.
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