There are a myriad of business support providers out there in the market place offering specialist advice for North Yorkshire businesses in a number of areas including finance, strategy, HR, coaching and marketing to name just a few.
However, on a day-to-day basis, most business owners will tend to gravitate towards the professional advisers they know and trust. Traditionally, this has been their accountant and often to a lesser extent their local banks. The relationship with a client’s bank has undoubtedly changed over the past few years, and since the recession it is clear that the High Street Banks have worked hard to win back the trust of its customers.
Local banks acknowledge they have much work to do to "earn" this trust but at a local level it is often the case that a local bank manager has been in situ for a number of years and has offered years of quality advice to his/her clients.
Most bank advisers are well trained to provide advice to North Yorkshire businesses on a huge spread of financial products and increasingly will refer clients for advice to a range of external advisers. This is crucial, as products and services get more complex and customers’ demands for innovative products grow.
Local banks have adapted more flexible lending and savings products over the past few years, especially in cashflow financing and are acutely aware that they are in an increasingly competitive market especially with new online providers. They are currently very keen to lend to the right business having, by and large, overcome the difficulties experienced during the credit crunch.
A crucial area where local banks can and often do help North Yorkshire businesses is in the provision of advice. This is especially true for start-up businesses where all banks produce guides on basic tax requirements, health and safety and other legal requirements that would need to be in place before trading begins. Introductions to accountants and legal advisers can also greatly assist new and existing clients to cover off any potential legal issues they may face. Banks offer a greater array of solutions both for making payments quickly and safely and accepting payments in an efficient and timely manner.
Local banks these days also have a more joined up approach bringing together experts within the bank e.g. Personal Managers, Investment specialists and International experts to ensure they can readily solve any customer issues.
From our standpoint, many local banks are certainly more willing to recommend clients to alternative providers if they are unable to help for whatever reason. There is a recognition that to genuinely provide best advice there are times when they can’t offer their own products especially where lending is concerned. Partly through legal requirements and partly due to changes in attitude, there is a growing willingness to work with third party funding providers to ensure local banks can provide solutions they historically wouldn't have offered.
In conclusion, banks have spent millions of pounds developing products and services and training their staff to provide the level of service to North Yorkshire businesses. Recognising that clients embrace modern technology, local banks have developed online services and support departments so clients can access their accounts and services often without seeing an adviser face-to-face. Increasingly, they have had to adapt to the modern demands of customers and fierce competition in the market so expect the pace of change to continue and for the banks to continue to provide innovative solutions in the future.