How to choose the right bank for my business

09 Oct How to choose the right bank for my business

Until we began accepting international wire transfers for payment from my customers living abroad, we didn’t realize there was much of a difference between banks. Customer service has always played a big role in my choice of bank for personal accounts (as well as fees for various services), but for a long time—even after starting Savi Global, an international consulting firm—we didn’t realize how different banks could be in terms of supporting our business needs.

For this month’s issue, we reached out to three banks in far northern California and asked two questions:
1. What kinds of businesses do you work with?
2. Do you offer international banking services?

Here’s what we found.

Cornerstone Community Bank
A truly community-oriented bank, Cornerstone is headquartered in Redding with two locations and has a presence in Red Bluff. The bank is proud to be local to the core. Their website says, “We’re old school in the best way. Feel the difference of banking locally — where people know you by name.”

Cornerstone works closely with small businesses and makes it easy to access your money quickly. The biggest perk we’ve found in banking with them is that when you call the bank, a banker answers! And often it’s someone who is familiar with your account, so there’s no navigating your way through a frustrating phone tree. Because they’re focused locally, they don’t currently offer a portfolio of international services (letters of credit, international wire transfers, etc.), but we’re sure they’ll get on that as soon as they have a customer interested.
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Banner Bank
We spoke with Branch Manager, Sheryle Neukirch, at Banner Bank in Mt. Shasta, who described her bank as “a bigger bank with a hometown feel.” Sheryle said she works with a large variety of customers, in particular lots of small businesses in Siskiyou County.

Many people may not know how big Banner really is. It’s headquartered in Washington and has close to 200 banks across California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Here in our far northern California region, Banner has locations in Redding, Chico, Red Bluff, Mt. Shasta, Yreka, Corning, and the greater Sacramento area.

According to Sheryle, its size combined with its small town feel is what sets Banner apart from other banks. Banner touts the resources to support both small and large companies as well as businesses working in the international sphere, while at the same time keeping close ties with the communities it serves.
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Five Star Bank
We first learned about Five Star Bank earlier this year at an event hosted by the Shasta Economic Development Corporation. The topic was on how to fund your startup, from hitting up friends and family to attracting venture capital. VP and Venture Banking Manager, Jon Gregory, was there and talked about Five Star’s deep commitment to working with startups.

The bank is hosting its Five Star Bank Tank on October 31 in downtown Sacramento. This annual event aims to match entrepreneurs with investors, and ultimately fuel growth in the local economy.

With locations in Redding, Chico, and the Sacramento area, Five Star has traditionally been a business bank. It supports entrepreneurs with direct loans, equity investments, and a connection to the greater business community.
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