You might think of a bank as an impersonal institution that enables you to conduct your finances. Think again. Having a good relationship with your bank is a two-way street with both bank and customer enjoying the benefits.

Developing a good relationship with a bank can help you in ways you might not have thought of before. Here, then, are 7 secrets about your relationship with your bank that might be useful to keep in mind.

Why should you have a good relationship with your bank?

1. A good relationship from the customer’s point of view could mean lower interest rates on loans (i.e. better than those advertised for the public); tailored products for a specific need like, for example, a student loan. In addition, certain fees, like an overdraft fee, could be waived. Bank officials have some amount of discretion and flexibility in the terms they offer their customers and having a good relationship will help you enjoy the maximum advantage of this flexibility.

2. A good relationship from your bank’s point of view is one where they cross sell financial products to you so that you maintain financial involvement across multiple products with them. This helps them increase their revenues while at the same time creating loyal customers. Apart from savings accounts, this relationship could span insurance, investments, fixed deposits, safety deposits, credit cards and loans.

3. If you are a small business owner, having a strong relationship with your bank can be invaluable. Your bank can provide financial advice, open up new opportunities and offer products suited to your business requirements, introduce you to new contacts or even give you a testimonial. 

How do you begin to develop a relationship with your bank?

1. Choose a bank that is in a convenient location, ideally close to your home or office so that it is easy to visit. Make it a point to go to the branch on a periodic basis even if you transact your business online.

2. Visit the branch often and meet an officer (or officers) to discuss your financial needs. In these days of easy online banking, many customers remain unknown to bank staff. It is difficult to get good terms if you are anonymous online user. Officials will be willing to go the extra mile if they are familiar with you and your financial situation.

3. Make sure that the bank offers good terms as well as good service. There is no use choosing to develop a relationship with a bank if they are expensive or are not service-oriented. Remember that you are in the relationship in the long run so it has to be with a bank that you are comfortable with. The individual officers might change, but your involvement with the institution will remain for a long time.

4. Do not limit yourself to only big banks or only small banks because of any pre-conceived notions of the kind of customers they serve or service they offer. Both kinds of banks can offer you good service and good terms.

Of course, enjoying the advantages of a good relationship also means that you have to be a good customer. Demonstrating financially responsible behavior can lead to a mutually rewarding relationship.