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What’s the Value of Having a Meaningful Working Relationship with a Banker?

By Greg Hahn, Commercial Loan Officer, S. California Commercial Originally published in the Orange County Business Journal Having access to various banking services is essential; however, having a relationship with a dedicated banker could mean a lot more to business owners than expected. Be a business partner. Most commercial banks have dedicated relationship managers that work specifically with business owners. Banking services are evolving regularly, making it difficult to stay updated on what latest services are available. An experienced relationship manager will get to know their business clients’ needs, recommend new products and services to enhance daily operations, making necessary adjustments to meet changing needs. Provide sound advice. A business owner’s relationship manager should periodically be reviewing financial statements, while noticing positive and negative trends that the business is experiencing. This is valuable information as it could potentially help avoid ...

Trouble Finding the Right Bank? Tips from a Banking Insider

By John Marder, Senior Vice President, C & I Commercial Lending Originally published in the Orange County Business Journal Recently, I was given a great opportunity to show just what I can do as a relationship manager and what we can do as a bank. The owner of a distribution company I was recently introduced to said, “I liked the guy at the other bank that came out to see me but I gave him my financial package and, after three months, nothing ever happened.” Does this sound familiar? Let me give you a few tips on how to best avoid this scenario if you’re looking for a commercial loan or line of credit for your business, or if you are a trusted advisor helping your client through this process. Don’t just rely on one lender. It is helpful to shop a small, medium, and large bank to see what each has to offer. Realize a good offer can take time, so ask how the process works. You should get a pretty good indication of how the bank will view your company within ...

For Long-Term Success in a Family Business, Think Like a Farmer

By MICHAEL DIERBERG, Chairman of the Board, FB Corporation (First Bank) For those of us who live and work in cities, the world around us is the here and now. Everything is new. We work in office buildings that are probably younger than most of the people working in them. The tools we use to do our jobs didn’t exist 10 – 20 years ago. We use things and then discard them. Given our surroundings, it’s not surprising that often our perspective is narrowly focused on what is directly in front of us, or the here and now. Contrast that with the perspective of a farmer. The farmer may live in the same home that his or her grandparents or great-grandparents built. Likewise, the fields and barns have been passed down and tended to by generations before. At night, the farmer has a clear view of the sky as a reminder of a broader picture beyond that day’s activities. All of this leads to several traits that are common in the farming community: appreciation and respect for the contribu ...

FIRST BANK WISDOM®: A goal without a plan is just a wish.

MICHAEL LAW, Senior Group Manager, N. California Commercial p: (925) 746-2805 e: Michael.Law@fbol.com Firstbanks.com Although economic optimism is high, so are interest rates–at least from what we’ve enjoyed in the last few years. The Federal Re¬serve has already raised rates twice since December 2017, with more increases predicted in the near future. If you refer to the graph, in the last decade, rates have remained fairly steady and flat. As the economy improves, the Federal Reserve raises rates to stay in step with inflation. This creates what is known as interest rate risk. Investopedia defines interest rate risk as “the risk that an investment’s value will change due to a change in the absolute level of interest rates or in any other interest rate relationship.” As a business owner, you may be asking how this impacts your business, your cash flow, and your overall monetary strategy? Obviously, as rates continue to rise, so will any variable rate loans. If you c ...

Never Let the Size of Your Business Get in the Way of a Big Opportunity

Originally published in the San Francisco Business Times. Written by Tom Lynn, Senior Vice President/Senior Group Manager If your business has experienced growth, you may be considering office expansion or additional warehouse space. Or, have you decided to broaden your investment portfolio with acquisitions for owner-occupied real estate or commercial investment property? Regardless of your situation, you may have questions concerning the commercial lending process. As interest rates climb, this may be the perfect time to finalize those plans to take advantage of current borrowing rates. As your trusted advisors, we want to share some of the more common factors that are part of the consideration process when securing a commercial real estate loan: Financials. Like any loan, your financial information is crucial, so have this available, including a current balance sheet, income and expense statement (including real estate schedule, if appropriate), and three years’ worth of tax returns. ...

What’s the Value of a Meaningful Relationship with your Banker?

Shahla Gholami, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Team Leader It’s been said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.*” To help create your future, you need the right strategic partnerships in place. This includes a strong partnership and meaningful relationship with your banker. While having access to various banking services, including depository accounts or lending, is important, having a relationship with your banking relationship manager could mean a lot more to you and your business than you may think. There are six areas where having a solid partnership with your banker helps your business: Act as your business partner. Most commercial banks have dedicated relationship managers who work specifically with you. Banking services are evolving and improved upon regularly, making it difficult for you to stay up-to-date on what the latest services are for your business. An experienced relationship manager will get to know your business and recommend new pr ...

What is the Value of My Deposits?

by Andrew Zinn, Senior Vice President S. California Commercial Real Estate Banks may be one of the most misunderstood institutions in the world, despite being heavily regulated. At its core, every bank has equity capital that functions as a cushion between its assets and liabilities, currently averaging just 13.55% of total assets for U.S. banks. Unlike an individual, a bank’s loans are its assets and its deposits are its liabilities. Banks lend money to generate interest income; conversely, paying out interest on their deposits. The spread between the two is known as net interest margin (“NIM”) and it’s a key financial metric upon which all banks are measured (FDIC reported in October 2017 the average NIM was 3.65%). Since the Great Recession, banks have operated in a historically-low interest rate environment. Borrowers have generally benefitted from historically-low rates, while banks have had to pay next to nothing for their deposits. Since the FED has begun raising short ...

How can I protect myself from digital deception?

Imagine that you receive an email with an urgent message asking you to verify your banking information by clicking on a link. Or maybe you get an enticing text message claiming that you've won a free vacation to the destination of your choice — all you have to do is click on the link you were sent. In both scenarios, clicking on the link causes you to play right into the hands of a cybercriminal seeking your sensitive information. Just like that, you're at risk for identity theft because you were tricked by a social engineering scam. Social engineering attacks are a form of digital deception in which cybercriminals psychologically manipulate victims into divulging sensitive information. Cybercriminals "engineer" believable scenarios designed to evoke an emotional response (curiosity, fear, empathy, or excitement) from their targets. As a result, people often react without thinking first due to curiosity or concern over the message that was sent. Since social engineering attacks appe ...

The Importance of a Holistic Trusted Advisory Team

By BILL NETHERCOTT, SVP/Senior Group Manager There are many recommendations regarding who you should look to as your trusted advisor. As a business owner, the first place to start is by aligning yourself with long-term, proven trusted advisors in not one, but rather three, primary areas: accounting; legal; and banking. Additionally, and just as essential, is partnering with the “best in the business,” or those offering a holistic approach. At First Bank, we’ve worked with many multi-generational business owners on continuing the company’s legacy, often originating with their parents, grandparents, or occasionally, great-grandparents. Prior to their succession, many of these clients indicated their parents wisely advised them that the most important aspect of running a business was the proper alignment of their trusted advisory team. Undoubtedly, they attributed their success on not only what the family has built, but also the quality of their strategic partnerships. In fact, a re ...

ACH Faster Payments

By Jon Moen, SVP/Director of Treasury Management The final phase (or Phase III) of Same Day ACH addresses the timing of funds availability. It’s officially been implemented across the country. As of March 16, 2018, a credit transaction sent via Same Day ACH has to be made available for cash withdrawal by 5:00 PM local time. Previously, the receiving bank (or financial institution) was required to post Same Day ACH transactions by the end of the business day. First Bank was already making funds available after receipt and processing of the Same Day ACH files, but not at the end of the business day. As you may know, Same Day ACH transactions rolled out in September 2017 for credits (allowing money to be pushed) and in September 2018 for debits (allowing money to be pulled). All financial institutions using ACH are required to receive Same Day ACH transactions (both debits and credits) even if they are not planning to offer the origination of Same Day service to their clients. This mandate requiring ...

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