Choosing a bank to support your business is a big decision, and there is a lot more to consider than when you are opening a personal account. All too often businesses overlook the importance of this crucial, but as financial partner in all of your profits and growth opportunities, a bank should be carefully selected. You already know that you want to find the best deal possible — the lowest interest and the fewest fees — but don’t forget to consider the less obvious traits which will make the difference between a productive relationship and a poor one. The right bank can be a great ally, and the wrong one can hold your business back. So what should you look for when it comes time to shop around? We’re here to help with this list of crucial questions to think about when selecting the bank that is right for you and your business.

Does your bank understand the situation on the ground?

For businesses, slightly smaller regional banks are often advantageous because they have a better understanding of local market conditions than a bank that is simultaneously overseeing multiple countries and multi-thousands of accounts. They also provide greater one-on-one access to a personal banking representative who can build a relationship with you and your business, get to know your specific needs, and even be more flexible during tough times or unforeseen circumstances.

What services can they offer?

You might be looking first and foremost at interest rates and fees, but it is important not to disregard other extra, secondary services that can provide great value to your business. Look for a bank that offers online banking and services that can save you time and money by streamlining your accounting and record keeping.

Are they in it for the long haul?

You should think about your bank and your needs across the long term, not just the immediate future. After all, you don’t want to be repeating this time consuming process only months down the line. Consider not only what you need now, but the services which will help you in 18 to 24 months, or even several years down the line. You want to build a long-term relationship with a banker who understands your business and your industry and your unique position. If you choose a bank where you feel comfortable, valued, and appreciated mutual trust, your banker will be better able to help you when you inevitably need a hand.

Do they have a strong reputation?

Look into a bank’s reputation just as you would any potential business partner. Talk to other professionals and business owners in your professional network and get the inside scoop on how happy they are with their bank and their banking relationship. Find out whether they have met with difficulties or support when looking to grow their business, and whether their bank has been a valuable source of good banking advice.