How to Hold a Meeting with a Bank
Updated: Mar 31
After a long hibernation, it’s now time to get our suits out of dust covers, find the shoe polish and remember how to conduct a real, face-to-face meeting with a bank. And it is for you to conduct, because if you don’t stamp your authority on it, you’re already at a disadvantage. Let’s go over some principles.
Communicate discussion points well in advance and be clear about the depth you want to go into. Saying you want to ”talk about expanding storage” might allow your bank manager to think it’s a general chit chat about the far-flung future and turn up with nothing but a smile and a firm handshake. Stating instead, “We’ve identified an additional warehouse unit costing £650,000 so please indicate at the meeting whether you can offer a 70% loan to support the acquisition” will focus minds and get wheels spinning before you’ve sat down together.
Many meetings between banks and businesses are wasted because the right people are not there. You already know the bank will want to cover financials, so if the person responsible for forecasts and management accounts isn’t with you, there could have a gap in your team.
If you want decisions made, have decision-makers at the table. Find out what level of authority the bank is bringing and don’t be afraid to ask your manager’s boss to join in if needed. Decisions in banks are increasingly in the hands of credit committees and because of this many banks now allow their credit managers to attend and you will save a lot of time and effort by having them in the meeting.
Think about the impression you are creating before, during and after the meeting. Particularly bear in mind that despite all indications to the contrary, your bank manager is a human being.
Have you sent relevant information far enough in advance for it to be properly absorbed? If you’re the host, would it help to pick the manager up from the station so s/he doesn’t have to take the car in that day or wander through an unfamiliar industrial estate? Does everyone including the receptionist know the manager is coming and the company can look prepared, tidy and welcoming?
Don’t play power games by dressing scruffily, offering wonky seats or pretending to be busy for the first ten minutes. The manager has seen it all before and will be unimpressed. Be sensitive to the fact that the manager may not fully understand your particular industry by avoiding acronyms and fielding basic questions with politeness rather than exasperation.
Show the manager around your premises if it adds value and can be done speedily.
Managers love seeing how businesses operate and it will make sense of, and bring to life, much of the paperwork.
End the meeting by agreeing what was decided, what further information is to be provided and the next steps for each side. Reiterate this summary in an email on the day of the meeting.
For any and all help with bank finance, feel free to contact Alex Lynford, Director of Flare Path Financial Services on 07950 787690 / 020 8974 9344 / firstname.lastname@example.org