Why I Bank Local for My Business

by Jason Unger

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I don’t normally write about my business here, so you may not know that my day job is running Digital Ink, a creative and digital team that focuses on website development, graphic design and WordPress consulting.

I’ve been doing it full-time for more than 4 years now, and I love it. Owning a business is the best way to control your career, day-to-day life and long-term finances.

We’re a small service business, and we have a few dozen clients who pay us either on an hourly, project or retainer basis. To keep our costs down and keep more money in the business, we don’t accept credit card payments and only take PayPal if the client agrees to cover the fees (more on that in a future blog post).

Even though there are a ton of similarities between managing a small business’s finances and managing your own personal finances, there are a number of important differences:

  • The money in the business isn’t just mine (or my family’s); everyone in the company relies on that money to get paid and live life
  • There’s more entities involved in that business money, like our payroll company (which happens to be our bank) and, more importantly, the government (who always wants their cut)
  • There tends to be a lot more transactions — money coming in and out — in a business account

So despite the fact that I love online banking and live a paperless lifestyle, I bank local for business — and it’s worth it.

The Value in Walking in and Talking to People Who Know You

Our office is conveniently located directly above our bank, so I can go in there a talk to a representative about anything at any time. I’ve done this often, like when I:

  • changed the name of the business and I needed to ensure that we’d be able to accept checks to the new name as well as any that came in to the old name
  • got a check from a client in Canada in Canadian dollars and needed to figure out if it was worth simply cashing it or if I needed to go back to the client and ask for American dollars instead
  • was investing retirement options and wanted to find out what they could offer
  • had an issue with payroll and needed to talk to a real person

The great thing about running a small business is that we don’t have a ton of issues that pop up, but since we don’t have a dedicated HR or accounting person, it’s my responsibility to make sure everything is running as it should be.

There are things I know that I don’t know and things that I don’t know that I don’t know, so having the ability to walk into a bank and talk to people that I know (and who know me) to get answers is re-assuring. When you run a small business, you have to know a lot — but you also have to know when to rely on someone else for answers or a solution.

I’ve been banking locally for my business for nearly 7 years, and it’s worth it.

It’s not costing me anything additional, and while I’m sure I could probably find an online bank that has a higher APY for money sitting in a checking account, that’s not what I care about here. I care about the ability to sit down with someone to help resolve an issue, get advice or fix a problem.

Local banking does that for my business.

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