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It Pays to Work with an Atlanta-Based Bank

It might seem counterintuitive in this age of digital communications, but there are substantial benefits to be gained by banking with a financial institution headquartered right here in Atlanta. For middle market and commercial customers, this hometown advantage translates into more supportive decision-making, faster responses and additional flexibility.


To understand why working with an Atlanta bank can pay dividends for borrowers, it helps to know how a commercial loan is approved. Certainly, the numbers matter, but so do relationships, both inside and outside the bank. These relationships may be harder to form when customers, loan officers and top decision-makers live in separate cities. Furthermore, the way those numbers are interpreted depends on those decision-makers understanding the local environment.


Leadership Engagement

One reason that working with an Atlanta-based bank makes a difference is that your loan officer has the opportunity to engage the bank’s CEO and top leadership on your behalf. After you submit an application and the Loan Committee provides preliminary approval, your loan officer will present you with a term sheet laying out the conditions of your loan. Before doing so, however, he or she will circulate a memo describing your situation.


When your loan officer works in your bank’s headquarters office, the list of people who sign off on that memo can include top leadership. In fact, proximity means that your lender can go a step further. He or she has the opportunity to discuss the loan with the executive team, provide background on your business, and incorporate their feedback in the term sheet. When senior management is involved in the process from the very start, the chances of unforeseen hitches down the line can be substantially reduced.


Even better, your loan officer may invite members of the leadership team to your next meeting, something that would be difficult to arrange if they worked in separate locations. This meeting gives the them the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of your company and to hear directly your vision for its future.


It is also a vote of confidence. When a bank’s leaders take time from their busy schedules to come to your office, you know the bank is interested in your business.


Shared Assumptions

The second reason for working with a locally headquartered bank is that Atlanta decision-makers know the Atlanta market. They have a feeling for the trends that shape the business environment, and they appreciate its challenges and opportunities.


When a bank can place its knowledge of your business in the context of your community’s distinctive business environment, it has a broader base of information on which to base decisions. For instance, management practices that might call for added scrutiny in banking centers like Charlotte might be considered business as usual in Atlanta.


This local knowledge, in turn, gives an Atlanta-based bank the latitude to be more flexible in applying its requirements and more creative in structuring the terms and conditions of your loan. In short, when top-decision makers live in the same community as borrowers, they are more likely to understand their customers’ point of view and objectives.


Common Connections

A final reason that banking with an Atlanta-based financial institution benefits borrowers is that banks have an incentive to invest in their home markets by supporting community organizations as well as through direct business lending. As a result, hometown banks are typically supportive of local charities and sports teams and are actively committed to the community development needs of their home markets. Their bankers are active in business associations and local community and economic development organizations and sit on the boards of local nonprofits that many business owners do.


When people belong to the same organizations, when they see each other socially, and when their kids play on the same teams, they are more likely to have the comfort and trust needed for sound financial relationships. Businesspeople feel more comfortable going to someone they know for a loan — and lenders feel the same way about customers. An existing relationship increases the chances that you will secure the loan you need to support your business goals.


The COVID-19 shutdown has increased the stakes for business owners, underlining the importance of banking locally. At a time when financial support customized to the requirements of your business is imperative, you can’t do better than work with an Atlanta-based bank.



This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.



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