5 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Bank

First Republic Bank
January 14, 2019

When it comes to reaching your organization’s full potential, you need partners who understand both you and your industry, inside and out. Everything matters — from the vision that sustained your organization’s earliest beginnings to the dedicated people who help keep that vision alive. That’s why it’s important to have partners who are committed to building long-term relationships and creating solutions designed for your unique needs.

Here are five questions to consider when choosing a banking partner to support your organization, help you attain your goals and add value to you, your team and your trustees.

1. Is your bank strong and sustainable?

A bank’s strength and stability is measured by its credit rating and how well it performs during a capital stress test.

A credit rating provides an independent indication as to the safety of a bank’s deposits. This rating should be published by one of the three major rating agencies — S&P, Moody’s or Fitch — and ranked, at a minimum, above investment grade (that is, BBB or higher).

A bank’s ability to handle an economic downturn (as measured by capital stress-testing) can also provide invaluable insight into its safety and stability. To achieve long-term sustainability, it’s important that a bank demonstrates resilience and an ability to continue serving clients during periods of economic stress. The results of this testing should be published annually to enable a prospective client to review results in comparison to those of other financial institutions.

First Republic has been consistently recognized for its strong capital position, superior credit quality and overall long-term stability by the major ratings agencies. Our consistent growth and profitability, as well as an unwavering focus on exceptional client service, make the Bank a strong and stable place to entrust your finances.

You can view First Republic’s latest credit ratings here and most recent regulatory disclosures, including annual stress test results, here.

2. Is your bank committed to excellence in client service?

There are three key things to look for in order to determine a bank’s quality of service. These include:

Expertise

A financial institution should demonstrate a firm understanding of a nonprofit’s seasonality, how its funding structure works, its budgetary demands and the challenges the executive team faces in satisfying these demands.

Speed

How quickly does a bank respond to a nonprofit’s financial needs? Are capital requirements met in a timely and efficient manner? Everything — from tracking an important wire transfer to helping to finance a construction project — should be addressed with speed and efficiency.

Support

A nonprofit’s financial partner should be easily accessible to answer questions, provide training on any account-related technologies and offer insights into a variety of solutions that are available to the organization to meet its banking, financing and endowment needs. In order to review the experience of both the institution and the individual bankers, organizations should ask for references before deciding on a banking partner.

3. Does your bank have a long history of — and expertise in — serving nonprofit organizations?

The bank, along with the individual banker at the forefront of the relationship, should have long-term experience serving nonprofits to ensure a deep knowledge and understanding of the unique challenges they face.

To gauge the depth and breadth of the bank’s and bankers’ experience serving nonprofits, questions around years of experience and number of organizations served should be addressed.

In addition, it’s important to understand the nature of the relationship the nonprofit will have with the bank. Crucial to its success will be having a dedicated, single point of contact to address the organization’s unique needs and anticipate any challenges that may arise.

Ideally, the organization will partner with a bank that has the following:

  • Extensive experience working with nonprofits, management teams and boards of directors
  • A demonstrable track record of supporting the communities in which the nonprofit’s constituents and employees live and work
  • An approach to doing business that shows it understands the importance of being mission-driven

4. Does your bank offer products and services to address the unique financial needs of your organization?

Alongside expertise, the bank should offer thoughtful products and services that meet the unique needs of a nonprofit when looking at the full financial profile. Ideally, a nonprofit would have a trusted partner who can fully support banking, lending and investment management needs.

5. Does your bank offer products and services to take care of your most important asset: your people?

Meeting the financial needs of those who work in support of the organization’s mission should be a top priority for any bank working within the nonprofit space. These needs may encompass personal banking and lending products, investment management, networking and educational opportunities, and additional financial offerings that benefit those who support the organization.

Would you like to explore how a banking partnership with First Republic could benefit your organization? To learn more, connect with us today.

The strategies mentioned in this article may have tax and legal consequences; therefore, you should consult your own attorneys and/or tax advisors to understand the tax and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this document. First Republic does not provide tax or legal advice. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained here. This information is governed by our Terms and Conditions of Use.